June 05, 2004

Bad news for Canada's Liberal party.

With three weeks to go until Canada's parliamentary elections, a new national poll shows that the Conservative party is in a statistical dead heat with the governing Liberals. According to a poll conducted for the Globe and Mail and CTV, the Liberals lead the Conservatives by a single percentage point nationwide — well within the poll's 3.5 perecent margin of error. The standings are:

Liberals   32%
Conservatives   31%
New Democrats   17%
Bloc Québécois   11%
Greens   6%

[Interestingly, the Globe and Mail article didn't include a national figure for the Bloc Québécois. We had to grab that number from CTV.]

Based on these numbers, the new parliament would likely contain 115 to 119 Liberal MPs; 110 to 114 Conservatives; 56 to 60 members from the Bloc Québécois; and 17 to 21 NDP members.

Some of the poll results are typical for a Canadian national election: The Liberals are doing well in the Atlantic provinces, and the Conservatives are doing well on the prairies, especially in Alberta. The Liberals' main problem is its current poor showing in the country's two most populous provinces, Ontario and Quebec.

In Ontario, the Liberals trail the Conservatives by three points. Only a few weeks ago, the Liberals were leading by 22 points. This is the first time in 19 years that a poll has shown the Liberals not in the lead in Ontario.

In Quebec, the Liberals are a poor second to the Bloc Québécois, which the poll suggests will win 56 to 60 of Quebec's seats. The Liberals would win only 15 to 19 seats. The only good news for the Liberals here is that the Conservatives are unlikely to win any seats in Quebec.

An interesting finding of the poll is that Canada's Green party may get into Parliament for the first time, based on a strong showing in British Columbia. The Greens are currently at 13 percent of the BC vote, which would give them two seats in Ottawa.

"This is bad, bad, bad for the Liberals," said Darrell Bricker, president of [polling firm] Ipsos-Reid. "They've thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the Conservatives, and none of it seems to be working."

The CTV report on the new poll is here.

More: For those outside Canada (especially in the US), The Economist has a concise backgrounder on the Canadian election.

Posted by Magpie at June 5, 2004 09:13 PM | Canada | Technorati links |

Magpie: The Bloc Quebecois (how do you get them accents in this type?) is not a 'national' Canadian party. The BQ is a federal party that only runs in Quebec because it is dedicated to separating (or at least moving away from) the rest of Canada. A strong majority vote in Quebec for the BQ means yet another vote on separation, or sovereignty association, or some other dumbass concept. Bad for the Canadian economy in a way that benefits no-one, or very few.

Posted by: VKW at June 5, 2004 10:58 PM

i don't think the question of whether the Bloc Québécois is a national party is so cut & dry. yeah, their interests are somewhat parochial (unless you happen to live in Quebec), but to our thinking, any party that has both has parliamentary representation is a national party. especialy given that the Bloc was the official opposition from 1993 to 1997.

if you're going to argue against the Bloc being a national party, then I think you'd also have to argue that the Reform party and the pre-merger Alliance party weren't national parties, either, given that their success east of the prairies was negligible.

Posted by: Magpie at June 6, 2004 12:15 AM