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Canada: Martin's credibility is slipping, poll finds News Staff ^ | 05/11/05 | News Staff

Posted on 05/11/2005 7:05:13 AM PDT by Pikamax News Staff

Updated: Wed. May. 11 2005 6:32 AM ET

While a federal election call looms ever closer, a new public opinion poll shows Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have surged ahead of Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberals nationally.

In the total sample of the poll, conducted for CTV and The Globe and Mail by The Strategic Counsel, Conservatives are polling at 31 per cent, up three points since April, while the Liberals have slid three points to 27 per cent.

The NDP has gained two points, at 20 per cent, while the Bloc Quebecois has stayed the same at 14. The Green Party lost three points, settling at seven per cent.

There's more ominous news for the Liberals in the key battleground of Ontario. The Conservatives have gained a narrow lead in front of the Liberals, with a five per cent surge in support to 35 per cent.

The Liberals dropped four points since April and now come in at 34 per cent, while the NDP has gained a few percentages, at 25.

In Quebec, the separatist Bloc has maintained its massive lead over the Liberals with 56 per cent of the vote, compared to the Grits' 16.

The leaders

The news gets worse for the Liberals when it comes to the personal performances of each party leader.

The sponsorship scandal and negative commentary over Martin's recent efforts to strike deals to keep his party in power seems to have eaten away at his once-vaunted credibility.

When asked to name which of the leaders is the most dishonest:

63 per cent of Canadians picked Martin; 20 per cent chose Harper; 5 per cent of respondents said NDP Leader Jack Layton; and 3 per cent named Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe. The picture gets even bleaker for Martin: 61 per cent of Canadians say they believe he would lie if it would help him politically; 54 per cent call him hypocritical; while 47 percent say he's indecisive.

"Paul Martin is looking like a caricature of a stereotypical politician -- a person who is prepared to lie, a person who is prepared to bribe people with their own money," Allan Gregg, chairman of The Strategic Counsel, told CTV News.

Harper, meanwhile, has gained crucial momentum going into an election, with poll results indicating that Canadians are beginning to warm up to him and his vision.

However, he's yet to shake off the cool, remote image that many believe has been holding down Conservative support across the country.

When Canadians were asked which party leader they would most like to have dinner with, both Martin (23 per cent) and Layton (25 per cent) edged out Harper, who polled at 19 per cent. Duceppe trailed far behind at 10 per cent nationally, but not surprisingly won 35 per cent in Quebec.

Popular vote

Despite his party's perennial third and fourth place finishes, Canadians continue to see Jack Layton in a positive light.

The NDP leader scores strongly in areas of principle, honesty, charisma, and holding values that are important to Canadians.

Ottawa-based image consultant Bernie Gauthier says voters see Layton as less partisan and petty than the other leaders.

"He has done a terrific job, especially in the last week or so of taking the high road. It's the road less travelled now," Gauthier told CTV News.

Martin's track record

The Liberals acknowledge their own polling shows that their leader has been tainted by the sponsorship scandal. But Steve McKinnon, the party's national director, says the Liberals still view Martin as being their strongest asset.

"When Canadians must judge between Paul Martin, Stephen Harper, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe ... they will choose Paul Martin because of his track record," McKinnon told CTV News.

But Martin's eroding credibility explains why the Liberals have been desperately trying to delay an election, reports CTV Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife.

"Martin needs time to re-connect with voters, and the Liberal party needs to recover from the Gomery revelations," he said.

Polling details: This poll was conducted for CTV and The Globe and Mail by The Strategic Counsel. Telephone interviewing was conducted between May 2nd and May 8th, 2005. The weighted nation-wide sample is based on 1,000 which yields a margin of error of 3.1 per cent 19 times in 20. (Note: Proportions may not sum to 100 per cent due to rounding.)

Based on a report by CTV Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
"Canadians continue to see Jack Layton in a positive light.

The NDP leader scores strongly in areas of principle, honesty, charisma, and holding values that are important to Canadians."

principle and honesty? The guy sold his party for more money..

1 posted on 05/11/2005 7:05:13 AM PDT by Pikamax
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To: Pikamax

I think there should be an election now.

2 posted on 05/11/2005 8:05:12 AM PDT by somerville
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To: Pikamax

Layton / NDP will always be seen in a generally postive light as people know there is no way he/ they will ever form a government.

Harper has the ball in his court right now but I fear he may have to sell out alot of his parties ideals to take Ontario.

Friends who live there (die hard liberals) have said they are willing to vote for Harper but want him on a short tether. Any move to step on any of their percieved rights and it's back to permanent minority in four years.'

IMHO it will be just like having the liberals in power with a very slight rightward tilt.

3 posted on 05/11/2005 8:11:18 AM PDT by dominic7
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To: Pikamax

The Liberals squeaked in last time by coming out with attack ads in the final weeks of the campaign accusing the Conservatives of supporting abortion and the death penalty

4 posted on 05/11/2005 8:24:02 AM PDT by beaubazzoo (Birthdays are good. The more you have, the longer you live.)
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To: Pikamax; All
ADSCAM: Click the picture-

5 posted on 05/11/2005 11:18:56 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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