Duffy-Wright-Harper: Does it Matter?

Bruce Anderson

Bruce Anderson

One in five are following the Duffy trial closely (22%)

The Mike Duffy trial has captured the attention of a significant number of voters with 22% saying they are following the trial closely, including 6% who say they are following it very closely.

Among “persuadable voters” (those who have not yet fully made up their minds how they will vote) one in five people are following the trial closely, and another 41% are following it a little. Across the country, just over 1 in 3 (36%) say they are paying no attention to the trial at all.


Most of those who have an opinion about the actions of Messrs. Duffy, Wright and Harper in this matter, believe that they acted improperly. This criticism is most pronounced for Mr. Duffy (5% think he acted properly, 61% improperly.

Where Mr. Wright is concerned, 9% believe he acted properly, and 51% improperly. For the Prime Minister, 15% believe he acted properly, while three times as many people feel his actions have been improper (47%).


Those following the trial closely were more definitive: 76% believed Mr. Duffy acted inappropriately, 72% believed Mr. Wright acted inappropriately, and  72% think the Prime Minister acted inappropriately.

We also wanted to look carefully at the potential impact of the issue on soft Conservative supporters. Among those intending to vote CPC but who say their mind is not fully made up, 64% say Mr. Duffy acted improperly, 48% say Mr. Wright did, and 24% say Mr. Harper acted improperly. 31% said the PM acted properly in their view, underscoring that even among his supporters, there is discomfort with the way he has been managing this matter.

One in four voters 25% say the information coming out of the trial will make a difference in how they think about their vote in this election. Of those, 12% say they are more inclined to vote CPC, while 87% say it makes them less inclined to support Mr. Harper’s party. Needless to say perhaps, much of this reaction is colored by partisanship.


In terms of potential consequences, one has to look at the reactions of CPC supporters. Among all CPC supporters 11% say it makes them less likely to vote Conservative, while 2% say it makes them more likely. Among soft CPC supporters, 18% say it makes them less likely to vote Conservative compared to 4% who say more likely.


The Upshot?

The Duffy trial continues and while the entire country is not transfixed by it, the number of voters watching it closely is certainly significant enough to highlight the risk for the Conservatives.

While more people find fault with Mr. Duffy than Mr. Wright, and with Mr. Wright more than Mr. Harper, the results indicate that the PM has not persuaded as many people as he might hope, that he has acted properly in this matter.

The real risk for the Conservatives is that as their potential for growth is not as significant as the other parties, they can ill afford for some of their voters to lose heart or stay at home on election day. As of now, almost 10% of their support group is saying it feels de-motivated by the Duffy-Wright affair, an impact that in a tight election could well turn out to be important.


Our survey, commissioned by Abacus Data, was conducted online with 1,439 Canadians aged 18 and over from August 14 to 17, 2015. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of over 500,000 Canadians, recruited and managed by Research Now, one of the world’s leading provider of online research samples.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.6%, 19 times out of 20. The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

Abacus Data Inc.

We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and value added insight. Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, PhD.

In case you missed it:

Yesterday we released polling on the horse-race and other views on the election.

David Coletto joined Eric Grenier from threehundredeight.com on his CBC podcast, the Election Pollcast, to talk about the poll.

And don’t miss Bruce Anderson on the At Issue panel, on CBC’s The National this Thursday.

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