DAVID AKIN | PARLIAMENTARY BUREAU CHIEF
OTTAWA — After a spring full of scandal that reached into the Prime Minister’s Office, a new survey finds Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are tied for voter support across the country with Thomas Mulcair’s NDP — and both of them are looking up at Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.
The Abacus Data survey done exclusively for QMI Agency shows support for the Conservatives is now at 21%, a precipitous drop of seven percentage points since Abacus asked Canadians in April. New Democrats are also down, but only by two points, and also sit with 21% popular support.
Meanwhile, Trudeau’s Liberals have seen a small uptick — one percentage point — since April and lead at 23%.
But Abacus also found that 21% of those surveyed were undecided, a percentage that has grown the most — three percentage points — during a spring legislative session in which the Conservatives were taking body blows over the $90,000 cheque Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright gave to Sen. Mike Duffy, the former CTV journalist ordered by the Senate to pay back tens of thousands in improperly claimed expenses.
The Conservatives spent the final few weeks of the spring session trying to attack Mulcair for his failure to report a Montreal-area mayor’s suspected bribe attempt 17 years ago. They also hammered Trudeau for charging charities and non-profits hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees while he was an MP.
The net result, according to Abacus, is a fluid and unsettled electorate.
“Conservative voters who might be upset with the government over the Senate spending scandals and the Duffy-Wright affair have moved away from the Conservatives but they aren’t shifting in big numbers to either of the main opposition parties,” Abacus CEO David Coletto said. “Instead, some may be parking their votes within the Green Party in protest while others are telling us they are now undecided.”
Coletto believes these results are a big headache for the governing Conservatives.
“(This) tells me that some former Tory voters are becoming disillusioned with the government and its once rock-solid core of support may be questioning their support in the future,” Coletto said.
The online survey of 999 Canadians was conducted June 19-23. The pollster weighted the survey sample by age, gender, region and education level according to the most recent census data. The pollster’s method is widely used and, according to the industry association of which the pollster is a member, is believed to be capable of producing accurate results.