Monday, July 13, 2009

Poll Says Canadians Fed Up with the Minority Government

Strange to release a politically based poll on Canadians attitudes toward government on a Sunday but that is exactly what Harris Decima did yesterday. The findings are dramatic. By a 3:1 ratio Canadians now prefer a majority government. "Canada's five year experiment with minority government appears to have sparked a desire for majority government to return." says Jeff Walker Senior VP at Harris Decima.

This is the early warning signs of the game changing attitudes that are emerging amongst Canadians and the role and relationship they want with their federal government. While the stomach for an election is still not there, the next election portents to deliver a very different result as Canadians want more accomplished by its federal government. Minorities are clearly not seen as the way forward.

The largest proponents of majority government comes from Atlantic Canada (72%) and Alberta (69%) with no region below 60% support. Conservatives and Liberals supports all feel the need for a majority government even more strongly, at 74% and 77% respectively.

The array of minority governments for the past 5 years are seen a done as much as can be expected by 60 % of those polled. Only 52% of Quebecers are pleased with the performance of the minority governments. 72% of Albertan, a Conservative stronghold, saying they are satisfied with the past accomplishments of minority governments.

So what does this mean going forward? Hard to say since a single poll is just a snapshot not a moving trend line and with no election expected it the near future the results are soft in determining any actual shifts in political power preferences . That said, these results are still intriguing as to what preferred outcomes are indicated for the next election.

Overall 24% want a Conservative majority and 30% want a Liberal majority. Quebec is the strongest for a Liberal majority at 36% and Alberta is big time for a Conservative majority at 47%. The votes are in Ontario and Quebec so those preferences are key to what might actually happen next election. Ontario votes are evenly split between ad Conservative and Liberal majority but Quebec' s preference for a Liberal majority is significant. The Bloc, NDP and Greens would all prefer a Liberal majority or Liberal minority over Conservative options.

So Liberals have work to do in Ontario and have to get other party faithfuls to want to defeat the Harper Cons to the point they shift the final results to a Liberal majority. Harper is in decline as his his party. Given time and a real threat of an actual election they could be the attitude of other party supporters - they want to get rid of Harper more than preserve their own position and all for the good of the country. It will be an interesting election when it happens.

July 14/09 update: Dave Breakenridge's editorial in the Edmonton Sun today adds some more context and heft to the recent poll showng a desire for a majority government. Worth a read. What do you think?