35 per cent of respondents (-3) say they would vote for the Tories in the next federal election, followed by the Grits with 31 per cent (+2), the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 16 per cent (-2), the Bloc Québécois with 10 per cent (+2), and the Green Party with seven per cent (+2).
Another polling trendline, that looks positive for the Liberals. AR has consistently shown the Conservatives on the cusp of majority, this is the closest gap since the last election, with the Conservatives at a low for this pollster.
In terms of the regionals, more evidence of an uptick for the Liberals, and a downward trend for the Conservatives in Quebec:
In Ontario, the last AR poll gave the Conservatives a healthy 8% lead. This latest offering shows a significant shift, the Liberals now statistically ahead. Also, another poll that shows the NDP falling off quite badly in Ontario:
Libs 39%(up 6%)
Cons 38%(down 3%)
NDP 12%(down 7%)
Greens 10%(up 4%
Again, we see evidence of a polarization in Ontario, with the NDP getting the squeeze. Last week, two other pollsters mirrored the same very poor trend for the NDP, to concerning levels. Interestingly, the pollster sees the NDP vote siphoning off to the Liberals:
Much of the Liberal increase from the last election seems to have come from the NDP. In fact, nearly a quarter (22%) of people who voted NDP in 2008 are now supporting or leaning towards Ignatieff’s Liberals.
In terms of party leadership, we have two themes. One, Ignatieff is narrowing Harper's advantage, the only leader to show a positive trend. The other trend shows Layton suffering, a situation referred to as "dire" by the pollster.
Best PM, a virtual tie:
A tight race continues when Canadians asked which of the five federal party leaders would make the best head of government. Conservative leader and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (26%) is barely ahead of Ignatieff (24%). NDP leader Jack Layton is a distant third with 10 per cent
The Liberal leader posted a positive momentum score (+4), while the remaining four federal party leaders did not perform as well. One-in-four respondents (26%) say their opinion of Ignatieff improved over the course of the past month, while 22 per cent report a decline. A third of Canadians (34%) say their opinion of Harper has worsened. May holds a negative momentum score of -11.
For Layton, the situation is dire. The NDP leader posted the worst momentum score this month (-27) and half of Canadians (50%) disapprove of the performance of the party he commands.
The survey shows that the NDP—a few weeks removed from an electoral campaign that was designed to promote Layton as PM material—is facing a tough battle. There is marked increase in the proportion of Canadians who disapprove of the party's performance, and little positive momentum for its leader.
The fact that Ignatieff is tied on the best PM score is quite significant, because we rarely see an opposition leader in this position. Further good news, when we look at some of the individual measures:
Manage the economy:
Harper 31%(down 3%)
Ignatieff 24%(up 4%)
Strong and decisive leader:
Harper 43%(down 3%)
Ignatieff 31% (up 2%)
The two leaders are tied on "who understands complex issues", Ignatieff lead on "inspiring confidence", Harper on "vision". The key number that is encouraging, Ignatieff has cut the economy management gap in half. Obviously, an important measure, and Ignatieff is now well poised to look the credible alternative.
In terms of how the various parties are viewed by the public, the Liberals are the only ones to show an uptick (up 5%), while the Conservatives (down 2%) and NDP (down 3%) are viewed less favorably. These type of numbers show the Liberals are suffering no ill effects, or more rightly the attack lines are weak, because of their post-budget position. If anything, it suggest the official opposition is doing it's job, in the minds of Canadians.
All in all, another positive result for the Liberals, relatively speaking. Many of the internals leave room for optimism, and Ignatieff is performing well.