Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Latest poll has Liberals back in the lead.

Latest poll has Liberals back in the lead
CTV.ca News Staff

As the federal election race rounds the bend into the final home-stretch, a new poll suggests the election tide may be turning back in favour of the Liberals.

An Ipsos-Reid survey of 1,000 people conducted for CTV and The Globe and Mail finds the Liberals have surged ahead of the Conservatives in popular support, grabbing 34 per cent of decided voters. The Conservatives have slipped four points to 28 per cent.

The NDP is steady at 16 per cent support, and the Green Party has six per cent.

The biggest change is in Ontario where the Liberals are up eight points to 42 per cent, versus 30 per cent for the Conservatives, who are down eight points. The NDP is at 20 per cent and the Green Party at six per cent.

In Quebec, the Liberals still trail the Bloc by 30 percentage points, 23 per cent to 53 per cent. The Bloc, nationally, is pegged at 13 per cent of decided vote support.

Among all eligible voters, 63 per cent are "absolutely certain" they will vote in the election, while 23 per cent are likely to vote. Twelve per cent said they are not likely to vote.

The Ipsos-Reid/CTV/Globe and Mail poll was conducted from June 18th to 20th, 2004. A representative randomly selected sample of 1,000 adult Canadians was interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled.

Seat projections

As for who will govern the country, the race is still too close to call.

According to Ipsos-Reid's seat projection model, if a vote were held tomorrow, the Conservatives would have a potential of 110-114 seats, the Liberals would have a potential of 107-111 seats, the NDP a potential of 19-23 seats, and the Bloc Quebecois a potential of 64-68 seats.

The Ipsos-Reid results are vastly different from the numbers SES Canada Research found from nightly polling conducted over the same period for the CPAC network.

That polling has the Liberals and the Conservatives in a dead heat, at 33 per cent support each. The NDP has 18 per cent support, the Bloc 12 per cent, while the Green Party has five per cent.

The random telephone survey of 600 Canadians has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

According to the analysis of Wilfred Laurier political science professor Barry Kay, the Conservatives would win 126 seats compared to 95 seats for the Liberals, 27 for the NDP and 60 for the Bloc. Kay reached his conclusions after studying all the major polls taken since June 1.

Ontario could swing vote

Looking at the numbers, Ipsos-Reid's Darrell Bricker says that although the Liberals have taken the lead in terms of decided vote, the seat projection leaves questions.

"As far as the seat model shows, the parties are pretty much tied. And it's going to go like this -- neck and neck -- until the end of the race," he told CTV.ca. "The way the regions work and the seat breakdowns work, it's still very much tied."

With the numbers showing the leading parties running such a close race, Bricker doesn't see much chance for a huge swing in the campaign's final days. But he doesn't rule it out entirely.

"There might be a surge on one side or the other, but that will be a matter of timing and turnout. Because this election is going to be won at the margins -- in particular in the province of Ontario where both leading parties have opportunities all along the 401 corridor."

The Globe and Mail's Jane Taber points out that the sentiment in Ontario is a big factor for the election.

"We've seen how volatile Ontario is, and Ontario is the important province. There are 106 seats in Ontario up for grabs. And it has been going back and forth it seems during the five-week election campaign," she told Canada AM.

"But things do turn around on a dime. We saw it happen over the weekend. If Harper has a few good days, maybe he can catch up.

"I can't call this one. It's too close."

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