Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

We have polling

Angus Reid has released polling data about the proposed coalition. Here are their answers to the main three questions:

Which of these statements comes closest to your own view?
The Conservative party deserves to continue in government: 35%
The Conservative party does not deserve to continue in government: 40%
Not sure: 25%

Should the opposition parties get together and topple the Conservative minority government headed by Stephen Harper?
Yes: 36%
No: 41%
Not sure: 23%

If the Conservative minority government is defeated, what would be your preferred solution?
Holding a new federal election: 32%
Allowing the opposition to form a coalition government: 37%
Allowing the opposition to govern by accord: 7%
Not sure: 24%
So most people aren't exactly excited about the coalition, but given the fact that the Conservatives "do not deserve to continue in government," it's still the best of a bunch of bad options.

This is an eminently reasonable view. There's a lot to be nervous about when it comes to this coalition. But considering the fact that the Conservatives have lost the confidence of the House, when you cast it against the only other possible outcomes, it starts to look like the least ridiculous one. I am very encouraged that most Canadians realize that a coalition government would be a superior solution to a government by accord.

Just as fascinating as the main questions, though, is some of the data on the full .pdf at the bottom. It's perhaps not surprising that a majority of Albertans believe the Conservatives should remain in office (53%), but what is surprising is that the number isn't higher. I mean, 64.6% of Albertans voted for this party only a few short weeks ago.

What happened to that extra 11%? The answer might be here: the overwhelming majority of Canadians think the federal government should implement a stimulus package to boost the economy as soon as possible (75%), and more than half think the Conservatives have not done a good job in dealing with the economic crisis (53%).

The prospect of a Prime Minister Dion also enjoys considerably less support (25%) than the coalition itself (37%). Hmm.

Also, I can't help but notice that the percentage of Canadians supporting the coalition is exactly the same as the percentage of Canadians who supported the Conservatives in the last election. That's some lovely irony right there.

The .pdf is here. It makes for some fascinating reading.


That guy said...

What happened to that extra 11%?

It could also be that the election's low turnout tended to skew things in the Conservatives' direction in Alberta. Since everyone knew they'd sweep the province anyway, those who went out to vote were the really hardcore types.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Hey, hey, "everyone knew they'd sweep the province anyway?" Watch which blog you're commenting on before you say things like that. *g*

Point taken, though.

Ben (The Tiger in Exile) said...

More people say the government shouldn't be defeated than say it should be (albeit marginally) -- those are numbers which will energize the hawks.

Expect a prorogation and a drawn-out fight.

Ben (The Tiger in Exile) said...

Or, in other words, approximately 5% of the population thinks that the government does not deserve to continue in power, but that the alternative is worse.

But then, there's a five percent margin in favour of the coalition governing after it falls.

Is this the "leave me alone" part of the electorate?

JG said...

I admit it's hyperbole, but prorogation would make Harper (and the willing Crown) little better than Charles I. The PM has lost confidence, and if he prorogues to avoid facing a sure vote of non-confidence, it will be nothing less than a tyrannical act.

I'm hoping that all this turmoil will prompt appropriate constitutional reforms. At the very least, we need constructive votes of confidence after every election to determine whether the nominee for PM has the support of Parliament - and this should occur before any Thorne Speech. Enough of this nonsense where the PM stays in office til he resigns or dies - an affirmative confirmation must be given if parliamentary government is to function effectively. Electoral reform of some sort would help too, but this is simpler.

It's about time we pared down the PMO generally, though.

JG said...

I should add the prorogation is probably unconstitutional as well, thanks to, oh, over 300 years of parliamentary government since the Glorious Revolution.

Jackie S. Quire said...

Just curious: that link doesn't seem to be working right now, do you know where one might find it??

I've been dying for some polling info.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


Oh, that sucks. If you want to email me at idealisticpragmatist at gmail dot com, I can email you the pdf.

Anonymous said...

In 2005, the opposition pretty plainly stated their lack of confidence, but weren't able to perform the correct ritual.

In 2008, the opposition pretty plainly stated their lack of confidence, but weren't able to perform the correct ritual.

I guess that makes everyone even, and able to stare each other eye-to-eye from the same level of the sewer.