By Bruce Anderson and David Coletto
Second of several releases in the coming two week. For interviews or quotes, or to find out more about our services, please contact either Chairman Bruce Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org (613-882-0929) or CEO David Coletto at email@example.com
When voters ponder a change in government, they often consider whether things would improve or deteriorate, if the country had different leadership. We asked Canadians how they thought things might change if there were a Liberal or an NDP government after the election in 2015.
WHAT WOULD A LIBERAL GOVERNMENT MEAN?
When it comes to “job creation”, 32% think things would be better 19% worse, and 49% anticipate no effect. Similar numbers are found about “growth in the economy”: 32% better, 23% worse, 46% say no different.
For Canada’s standing in the world, 32% say a Liberal win would improve things, 20% say make things worse, and 48% see no effect.
On the environment, 32% say the Liberals would improve things, 17% say make things worse, and 51% expect no change.
When it comes to infrastructure like transit and roads, 29% think things would be better, 16% worse, 54% no different.
On crime, 17% say it would be better under the Liberals, 18% worse, but about 2 out of 3 voters expect no difference.
Many Conservative voters seem unconvinced that a Liberal government would be worse for the country.
On job creation 35% say things would be worse, 15% better and 49% no different. They are somewhat more apprehensive about the impact on economic growth (47% worse 15% better, 38% no different), but the overall picture is that half of the 2011 Conservative coalition unconvinced that a Liberal government would put the economy on the rocks.
Even on crime, only 37% of 2011 Conservative voters think the Liberals would make things worse.
WHAT WOULD AN NDP GOVERNMENT MEAN?
A hypothetical NDP government finds numbers that are not as good as those for the Liberal Party, but perhaps not as bad as NDP critics might suspect.
When it comes to “job creation”, 31% think an NDP government would make things better 25% worse, and 43% anticipate no difference.
On “growth in the economy” there is more apprehension: 23% say the NDP would make things better, 31% worse, 46% say no different. This means the NDP is at about a 10 point disadvantage to the Liberals when in comes to perceptions of how they would do managing the economy, a major challenge for the NDP in closing their horse-race numbers.
On the environment, 41% say the NDP would improve things, 15% say make things worse, and 51% expect no change.
When it comes to infrastructure like transit and roads, 30% think things would be better, 21% worse, 49% no different.
For Canada’s standing in the world, 23% say an NDP win would improve things, 27% make things worse, and 50% see no effect.
On crime, 17% say things would be better under the NDP, 20% worse, but the majority expects no difference.
Looking deeper into the numbers, in general, its’ evident that Liberal voters tend to be more skeptical about the effects of an NDP government, than NDP voters are about the possibility of a Liberal government. This may suggests greater potential success for the Liberals in consolidating the progressive vote.
Further to that point it is worth noting that in our poll, 39% expect the Liberals to win the next election, while only 7% expect the NDP to win. 25% expect the Conservatives to post a fourth straight victory.
The numbers are somewhat sobering for the Conservatives. Despite years of effort to brand themselves as the only party that can be trusted to manage the economy, only half of the coalition of voters that produced their majority in 2011 believes a change would be economically ruinous, or harmful to our standing on the world stage, or to the level of safety from crime.
For the Liberals these numbers show that there is more optimism than fear about the prospect of a Trudeau government. That said, the proportions that expect the Liberals would make things better are not enormous, and are best thought of as modest, and tentative.
For the NDP, there is something of a double-edged sword. The good news is that the idea of an NDP government provokes little fear. The bad news is that the other than on the environment, voters seem inclined to think that a change to the Liberals would be better than a change to the NDP. And, NDP voters seem more open to a Liberal government than Liberals are to an NDP government.
Our survey was conducted online with 1,614 respondents by Abacus Data, August 15 to 18, 2014. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of 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 +/- 2.5%, 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.
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