Harper Conservatives vault to the top in new opinion poll

Andy Radia
Canada Politics
April 22, 2014

Since April 14, 2013, — the day Justin Trudeau won the Liberal leadership — it seems that all the opinion polls have essentially said the same thing: 'The Liberals are beating the Conservatives.'

It's true: In a recent Globe and Mail article, polling analyst Eric Grenier deduced that in the 48 polls conducted since Trudeau became leader, the Liberals have either led or have been tied for the lead in all but two of them.

[ Related: Justin Trudeau’s first year as Liberal leader a good one ]

That's why the latest poll from Angus Reid is somewhat newsworthy.

The survey, released on Tuesday, has the Harper Conservatives ahead of the Liberals and NDP both in terms of 'eligible voters' and 'likely voters.'

Q: If a federal election were held tomorrow, which one of the following parties would you be most likely to support in your constituency?

Eligible Voters Likely Voters
Conservatives 32% 34%
Liberals 30% 29%
NDP 26% 27%

The regional numbers are just as astonishing, especially the shifting political landscape in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario.

British Columbia (Likely voters):

Apr-14 Mar-14
Conservatives 29% 31%
Liberals 29% 33%
NDP 34% 28%

Ontario (Likely voters):

Apr-14 Mar-14
Conservatives 43% 35%
Liberals 26% 35%
NDP 26% 25%

Shachi Kurl, Vice President of Angus Reid, says that there could be several factors to the Conservative turnaround.

"You're seeing Harper as coming out quite strongly on Ukraine, that becomes an issue. I think that the attack ads are in the mix. There was a large ad buy [by the Conservatives]...a couple of weeks ago. So all of those things could be at play," she told Yahoo Canada News.

"I would be hesitant to attribute it to any one particular thing. But I think there is an amalgam of things."

Kurl also doesn't rule out the death of former finance minister Jim Flaherty contributing to the Tory jump.

"It was certainly top of mind, [Flaherty] was very well known in Ontario," she said.

"I'm hesitant to attribute a drop for the Liberals to that extent to one thing but certainly I think...the Flaherty factor was part of the mix."

Kurl does warn, however, against getting too excited about these numbers urging readers to wait until next month's survey to see if April figures were just an anomaly.

In theory, the Tories good fortunes should last.

At Flaherty's funeral, Harper delivered a moving eulogy, showing himself to be caring, funny and warm. That has to help his aloof persona.

[ Related: Stephen Harper delivers moving eulogy for his friend Jim Flaherty ]

The Senate scandal is no longer front and centre — the RCMP decided not to lay charges against Nigel Wright, the prime minister's former chief of staff, for gifting Sen. Mike Duffy $90,000.

And the government is poised to record a surplus budget in 2015 allowing them to be more flexible and strategic with regards to program spending.

Believe it or not, the Conservative Party leading in mid-mandate polls is a trend that could continue.

The Angus Reid Poll was conducted with 1,505 Angus Reid Forum panelists on April 14th and 15th. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.4%, 19 times out
of 20.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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