Brian Lilley, writing in the Toronto Sun, says that “You could call it the Ford Factor … [because] … Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are back in the lead in vote-rich Ontario and the provincial government led by Doug Ford is part of the reason why … [and] … The latest numbers from the DART/MARU Voice of Canada poll surveyed 1,512 adult Canadians on June 26 as part of Maru’s online panel. The numbers show a federal race that is up for grabs with Ontario being the big prize … [but] … despite improved numbers in the most populous province in the country, Trudeau and his Liberals suffer from poor numbers elsewhere, specifically on whether Canadians think he and his government deserve to be re-elected.“
The poll says that ” The DART/MARU Voice of Canada poll was undertaken for Sun/Post Media as part of a regular sounding of Canadians on various issues that affect their lives as citizens, consumers, and voters. The survey was conducted among 1,512 randomly selected Canadian adults who are members of MARU/Blue’s Online panel on June 26, 2019 and is considered accurate to within +/- 2.9 percentage points. Because of extremely small sample sizes, approval ratings cannot be provided for Prince Edward Island, Nunavut and both the Yukon and Northwest Territories.”
Key findings are:
… and “A majority (52% -5) of Canadians believe “It’s time for a change in who leads our federal government — theLiberals under Justin Trudeau should be replaced by a different political party.”
In crucial, vote-rich Ontario the poll finds these levels of support (changes since 6 June are in brackets):
- Conservatives: 34% (-2)
- Greens: 7% (+1)
- Liberals: 40% (+12)
- NDP: 19% (+6)
- Peoples’ Party: Too small to measure
Meanwhile, Nik Nanos says, in National Newswatch, that “The latest Nanos federal ballot tracking has the Liberals at 34.5 per cent, followed by the Conservatives at 31.7 per cent, the NDP at 16.5 per cent, the Greens at 9.8 per cent, the BQ at 4.6 per cent and the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) at 0.9 per cent.” Now, it is well known that polling methodology, including sample size and the exact wording of each question, can influence outcomes, but it appears, to me, that the Conservative “bounce” that followed the India fiasco (Feb 2018) and then the rolling disasters of the first part of 2019 (SNC Lavalin, the resignations of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, the subsequent expulsions and the Mark Norman trial) has subsided and things are back to “normal:” a near statistical tie (3±% to 5±% separating the CPC and LPC).
I think there can be little doubt that Mr Lilley is correct and Doug Ford’s first year has become a problem for Andrew Scheer. I suspect that the big shift is, however, transient and that the summer will give Mr Scheer’s team time to make the Conservative case to Ontario voters and to distance themselves from Premier Ford, himself. I’m not a big fan of Doug Ford, he was far from my first choice to lead the Ontario Conservatives, but I doubt that he is as unpopular as the media suggests. I suspect the still has strong support in many of the suburbs that the CPC needs to win … but I am not sure that he is an asset in Ontario.
Brian Lilley says that “Pollster John Wright links the drop in support for Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives in Ontario, and Trudeau’s rise, to what he calls “a withering ad blitz” aimed at the region that tries to link Ford and Scheer … [and] … The ads, some of which go way over the top in their false claims about Scheer and Ford, have been running non-stop in the Toronto area on radio and TV.“
In Ontario, proper, Mr Wright said ““The gateway to either a minority or majority government likely rests in a band of voters that sits like a donut around the Greater Toronto Area known well as the ‘905’ area code … [and] … This group of voters has shown no firm allegiance to any party, oscillating between the Liberals and the Conservatives both federally and provincially” … [but] … That doesn’t mean that Trudeau and his team can start popping bottles of Niagara sparkling wine any time soon … [because] …
Beyond the fact that the election day is still months away — on Oct. 21 — and that campaigns matter, Trudeau faces the problem of a lack of voter enthusiasm … [since] … Across the country, just 24% agreed with the statement that “the Liberals under Justin Trudeau have done a good job and deserve to be re-elected” … Even in Ontario, where 40% say they would cast a ballot for the Liberals, just 29% say Trudeau and his team deserve re-election … [and] … According to Wright, who has more than 30 years experience in polling, the “deserve to be re-elected” question is one of the most important and predictive … [he noted that] … “Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne was showing 28% of the decided vote but 19% with the same deserve to be re-elected question six months before she got exactly 19% at the ballot box”.”
Those underlying factors are in Andrew Scheer’s favour … if he can persuade voters, especially in those suburbs and towns in and beyond the 905 belt, and in the Greater Vancouver area, too, that he shares their concerns and values, and that Justin Trudeau does not. It will be a looooong summer for those, of all parties, seeking election and re-election … a long summer filled with ever-changing numbers.