The latest Nanos Canada-wide telephone survey shows that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives lead Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals by more than 13 points. Of the 1,016 Canadians polled, 39.7 per cent ranked the Conservatives as their first preference (up from 38.1% in December 2010), while the Liberals placed second at 26.6 per cent (down from 31.2%) and the NDP were third choice at 18.9 per cent (up from 17.2%).
These numbers suggest the Tories have moved into majority territory, especially when the poll shows the Tories with a clear lead in every region except Quebec. Support in Ontario has slipped to 39 per cent from 42.3 per cent, but so too did support for Liberals who slipped to 32.8 per cent from 35.4 percent.
Also encouraging to Tories is the finding that PM Harper also gained ground in the eyes of Canadians as a leader, with 34.5 per cent of those polled saying he would make the best prime minister, giving him a 6.1 per cent increase over a November 2010 poll. Since November 2010, Ignatieff has dropped to 13.6% from 15.5% as the leader who would make the best prime minister.
We now have a few recent polls showing the Conservatives at the edge of majority territory so these results are consistent with that trend and are not exceptional.
[NB: a random sample by NAOS of 1,016 Canadians aged 18 and over between Feb. 11 and 14. The margin of error associated with the total sample is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.]