YES, federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau may be slightly behind Prime Minister Stephen Harper in this week (29.4 % to Harper’s 31.8 per cent) and last week’s (29.5% to Harper’s 32.1%) Nanos polls (four weeks ago, Trudeau was ahead of Harper 35.2 to 30.1 per cent), but the Liberal Party continues to remain the number one choice of Canadians.
This week’s Nanos Party Power Index report noted: “A series of independent questions were asked to gauge the accessible voters for each federal party. The Liberals have the largest potential upside with 55 per cent of Canadians who would consider voting Liberal. Forty-four per cent of Canadians would consider voting for the federal NDP, 42 per cent would consider voting for the Conservatives, 27 per cent of Canadians would consider voting Green while in Quebec 35 per cent of voters would consider voting the BQ [Bloc Quebecois].”
That fact was reflected in the results of the two federal by-elections: one in Whitby-Oshawa, Ontario, and the other in Yellowhead, Alberta. Both were retained by the Conservative Party, but, as Trudeau boasted, “the Liberal Party of Canada is the only party to increase support in all 11 by-elections since April 2013 [as compared to 2011 results].”
On the other hand, the Conservative share of the vote has declined in every riding as compared to 2011 results, as a Globe and Mail report pointed out on Tuesday.
Indeed, the Liberals posed a real threat to the Conservatives in Whitby-Oshawa, which was a Liberal seat until Jim Flaherty won it for the Conservatives in 2006. The Conservative’s Pat Perkins, a two-term Whitby mayor, garnered about 49 per cent of the vote, but he was 10 points short of the party’s 2011 share of the vote. On the other hand, the Liberals, who came third in the riding in 2011, almost tripled their share of the vote. The NDP were in third place with only eight per cent of the vote; in 2011, they finished second.
BACK in August, I pointed out:
- The Conservatives are headed for defeat in the next election –unless there are some dramatic developments.
- The NDP under Tom Mulcair are firmly in third place – and so firmly are they there that that’s where they will remain. I can’t see any development that could possibly change that.
- The federal Liberals under Justin Trudeau are headed for victory next year – unless Trudeau makes some horrible, horrible, horrible mistake or mistakes. Yes, I used ‘horrible’ three times because, rightly or wrongly, too many Canadians seem absolutely infatuated with the young, fresh face that evokes memories of Trudeaumania (dad Pierre Trudeau was prime minister from April 1968 to June 1979, and again from March 1980 to June 1984).
Well, apparently, the recent deadly attacks on Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo by Canadian converts to Islam and the shooting inside Parliament have not had much of an effect on Canadians’ party preferences.
Also, the endless barrage of anti-Trudeau propaganda (from the Liberal leader’s stand on legalizing marijuana to a series of political gaffes) by Harper and his party have virtually made no dent in ‘Teflon’ Trudeau’s standing.
As I pointed out back in August: “Harper’s systematic destruction of environment and health inspection standards, his attack on a slew of organizations such as Statistics Canada, his attack on the gun registry and his blatant pro-Israel policy has actually frightened decent Canadians.
“His only supporters now are the hardcore Conservatives – who visible minorities actually fear! – and they aren’t enough to get him a majority again.”
I also noted: “Yes, Trudeau lacks the intellectualism of his dad – and he will never come anywhere close to his dad’s stature – not for a long time anyway.
“But Canadians just want a change from the frosty and slimy ways of the Harper regime.
“There is no other explanation really for Trudeau’s remarkable steady – and growing – popularity with Canadians.
“The consistency of the polls so far gives solid cause to believe that Trudeau can become the next prime minister.”
But then again, things could change rapidly between now and Election Day!