While Stephen Harper shares the dubious distinction of being as unpopular as Stephane Dion.
The conventional wisdom about the standing of
the national party leaders is somewhat at odds
with the reality. Stephen Harper’s negatives are
higher than those of other national leaders, but
his positives are about 10 points better than his
party’s vote. He’s made inroads in Quebec, and
his net popularity (positives minus negatives) is
actually better among French Canadians than
among English Canadians.
Stephane Dion’s image has been damaged in recent
months, but his numbers are very close to those
of Harper’s. His popularity is better than the prime
minister’s in Ontario, but worse in Quebec.
The NDP has its challenges, but the party has a
popular leader. Jack Layton has better ratings than
any of his national competitors, and is second only
to Gilles Duceppe in Quebec.
Elizabeth May has managed to create an impression
among the majority of the Canadian electorate,
and most of those impressions are good.
She has a truly remarkable rating among voters
under 25. May shares a distinction with Layton:
more voters say their opinion is improving rather
fading of both leaders.
And while May and the Green Party have made inroads with Canadian voters, it is at the expense of the Conservatives and Liberals, not the NDP, whose base support remains strong.
That’s because the bulk of shifting in the years gone by has been from Liberal to Conservative or vice versa. That’s less the dominant pattern now. For one thing, the Green Party is playing a spoiler role.The Liberals remain the second party of choice for the quarter of Dippers who shift in the winds. Tories marginally lead Liberals but second choice favours Grits
In Ontario, almost one in three of the voters who have left the Liberals say they are voting Green, as do one in four who have left the Conservatives.
In Quebec, voters who have left the BQ are almost twice as likely to say they will vote Green as vote Liberal.
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