Skip to comments.Tories, voters agree (Canada)
Posted on 03/17/2005 9:14:51 AM PST by fanfan
Canadians hold positions closer to the Conservative party than the governing Liberals on a host of policy issues, according to a new National Post poll.
The survey, conducted for the Post by COMPAS Inc., shows that average Canadian voters rank their opinions as closer to those of the Conservatives on seven major issues, including preserving the traditional definition of marriage, tougher criminal sentencing laws and freedom of choice in health care.
Conrad Winn, the president of COMPAS, which surveyed 688 Canadians between March 11 and 13, said "the Conservatives have an amazing but unrealized advantage over the Liberals because the public sees themselves as closer to the Conservatives than the Liberals on many issues, but it's not an advantage that [the Conservatives] are able to realize because policy is only a small part of why people vote the way they do."
Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of 10 policy statements, based on a seven-point scale where seven means "strongly agree."
On seven of the 10 statements, the voters positioned their views closer to the perceived Conservative position than the perceived Liberal position.
Asked whether, for example, it is important to preserve the law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, the respondents' average score was 4.6. They thought the Tory position was slightly stronger -- 4.8 out of seven -- and put the Liberal position some distance away from their own, at 3.4.
Mr. Winn said these results show the Conservatives have done a poor job of explaining their positions to the public, noting the survey also found respondents generally agreed with statement that the Tories have come across as anti-homosexual on the gay marriage issue.
"The public is much closer to the Conservatives on same-sex than they perceive the Liberals to be, but when asked to explain why the Conservatives aren't doing better electorally than they are, they attribute it to a homophobic tendency on same-sex [marriage]," Mr. Winn said.
Nelson Wiseman, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said yesterday he is not surprised that survey respondents would seem to hold Tory-like positions on some issues, but he said that may not translate into votes.
"You can get people responding on questions that make them appear closer to the Conservative position, but then when you put to them the question, 'Which party would you vote for?' more of them would vote Liberal," he said. "And that's the question that counts."
Indeed, the Post poll found that if an election were held today, the Liberals would garner 35% of the vote to the Conservatives' 30%, with the NDP winning the support of 19%.
Although Paul Martin's party still has a lead, the gap over the Tories has dropped to five from the 14-percentage point lead the Liberals held on Feb. 1.
Mr. Winn said the Liberal lead is likely due to long-held voting tendencies.
"[Voters] feel transparently more comfortable with the Liberal party than the Conservative party, but it's not because of policy," he said. "Because with all these policy issues, taken as a whole, the Conservatives trump the Liberals." However, Allan Tupper, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia, said the Tories face challenges beyond simply improving their marketing, noting that the Conservatives remain a party that does not draw strong support from new Canadians, urban voters, and women.
"Very few people would say the party simply needs to sell itself better," Mr. Tupper said. "It faces some fundamental questions about what it is and where it's going to go. Is it simply a variation on the Liberals ... or is it going to be a really different 'conservative' party?"
The survey also found that among voters who said they would not vote Conservative if an election were held today, those who said they would consider voting Tory in the future held policy beliefs even closer to those of the Tories than those of the public at large.
"It shows that the Conservatives can appeal to the voters they must appeal to -- those who would consider voting for them," Mr. Winn said.
But Mr. Wiseman said policy concerns have rarely been the overriding factor in determining a federal election in this country, noting that Tory governments have typically been formed when voters became disenchanted with the Liberals.
"The reason people will elect the Conservatives is not because of Conservative policy, but as the default option if they've rejected the Liberals," he said. "That's the history we have."
Mr. Wiseman said the Tory fate at the next election will therefore be largely determined by whether the public is ready to remove the Liberals from office, perhaps because of the findings of the Gomery inquiry on the federal sponsorship scandal.
"The big thing they've got to hope for is that Gomery catches fire the way Sheila Fraser's report did," he said.
He also said this weekend's policy convention, provided it does not erupt into a battle between old Reform party stalwarts and Red Tories over social issues such as abortion, will probably not be a key factor in the Conservative electoral fortunes.
"What happens at this convention I don't see as more significant than what happened at the Liberal convention [last month], and that's already a fading memory," Mr. Wiseman said.
He had simple advice for Tory leader Stephen Harper, who he said must present his party as a viable governing alternative and avoid the pitfalls of last June's campaign, when some MPs spoke out strongly about social issues and an overzealous staffer put out a news release that suggested the Prime Minister supported child pornography.
"Avoid those kind of mistakes," Mr. Wiseman said. "Keep your nose to the ground, stick to your economic policy."
The COMPAS poll of 688 Canadians is considered accurate to within 3.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The MSM up here is usally more like liberal propaganda, than news or info.
" My father voted liberal and his father voted liberal,so i`m voting liberal"
Canada, in a nutshell. It is a one party state.It`s future lies in neo-marxism,massive government and confiscatory tax rates.It`s doomed to higher unemployment rates,more special rights given to sodomites and legalized drugs from coast to coast.
Doomed to? Most of what you mention is already a reality!
the sad reality is that the leadership of the New Conservative party is messing up big time, keep saying the wrong things at the wrong time, not taking advantage of opportunites for example why are they being so coy about missile defence?
for example John Tory, the new leader of the Ontario provincial Conservative Party said why isn't Harper siding with Dalton McGinty in his fight vs Ottawa who blatantly shortchanged Ontario in favour of Quebec??????
It's a no brainer, the last budget was just another example of the pro Quebec bias in the federal Liberal party
is it because Harper doesn't want to piss off Quebec, please, the Conservatives will gain a seat in Quebec when hell freezes over or they find a Quebec born conservative like Mulroney, and he would gain brownie points with the rest of Canada
a lot of Ontarians, myself included, conservative and liberal are sick and tired of funding Quebec's blackmail scheme at the expense of the standard of living in our own province
I was astonished how conservative the people of Alberta are. It was like a northern version of Texas. I had four separate RCMP officers come up to me and apologies for their government in Ottawa. There were visibly pissed. I expressed sympathy as I vividly remember how I felt during the Carter Administration.
It's like that in many parts of Canada. Not just Alberta - but all of the rural areas between the Ottawa River and the Coast Mountains, except for most of northern Ontario.
They should give up Quebec and work for the other 231 seats, with any Quebec votes being considered a bonus. Quebecois will never vote for anyone with a leader outside of Quebec, you are correct.
I am a Conservative Party Member, and a Reform/Alliance member before that. In fact I was elected as a delegate for this weekends convention but couldn't go because of work commitments.
I say this as a true blue-tory conservative, we will never win with a socially ceonservative agenda. Only a libertarian agenda will get us a win. After all that is true conservatism.
Why? Because people in Canada care more about same-sex rights than they do about the immoral GST or the obscene federal gas tax that isn't used to actually fix our third-worldesqe roads.
We need to get government out of peoples lives. Tax Cuts will then come by themselves. Most people realize that social conservatives and socialist liberals are two sides of the same coin, they both think you're too stupid to handle your own affairs in a rational manner. That is at the heart of the Canadian nanny-state.
It is wacky social conservative politics that is killing us. It's all about the economy at the end.
That never happens. Anywhere.
Why? Because people in Canada care more about.....
I don't think we care as much about the GST anymore, that is so "They screwed me in the '90's"
IMHO, (decent)Canadians are pissed off about the following things, in no particular order.
Same sex Marriage. Millitary underfunding. Plight of farmers. Ad-scam and the Gomery Inquirey. The billion dollar gun registry. Paul Martin's obvious lack of foreign policy understanding. Maurice Strong's ownership of all liberal politicians in Canada.......can I say that? It's only libel if it's not true, right?
A true blue tory would never suggest such crap. You are probably a red Tory pretending to be blue.
Same sex Marriage? Oh, please. No one under 40 cares about same sex marriage. In fact the issue scares off many otherwise conservative young people.
Millitary underfunding? Quebec is a pacifist province and this is a case of the tail wagging the dog. Most sane Anglos understand that you can't project strength without being strong.
Plight of farmers? Again no one cares. Most folks live in cities and have never been on a farm.
Ad-scam and the Gomery Inquirey? Canadians are too apathetic to care about much, and its an accomplishment if 50% of the population know what this even is. In any sane country this would have broght down the government.
The billion dollar gun registry? The gun registry is a boondoggle and makes a mockery of private property rights. But its an urban vs. rural issue and you know Quebec and how they fear guns....
Paul Martin's obvious lack of foreign policy understanding?
Most Canadians are too dim to understand a magazine like the Economist. Sad but true. They also trust a Liberal Suger Daddy rather than a "stern" Conservative. This needs to change.
Maurice Strong's ownership of all liberal politicians in Canada.......can I say that? It's only libel if it's not true, right?
The Power Corp. Oil for Food Connection is kept quiet by powerful forces. Why is the CBC not reporting this? Double Standard.
A true blue tory would never suggest such crap. You are probably a red Tory pretending to be blue.
The Conservative Party is a coalition between libertarians and jesus happy, moralizing, double standard, nanny state, social conservatives.
How innocent can you be?
The CBC doesn't report this because CBC employees know better than to bite the hand that feeds them.
Same sex Marriage? Oh, please. No one under 40 cares about same sex marriage.
Read the polls. Over 50 % of our population disagrees with SSM.
Outside of Quebec, about 65-70% disagree with SSM.
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