Final poll shows voter turmoil


The final poll of the Canadian general election campaign shows that there is real turmoil taking place in the minds of the voters. The pollster described the campaign as “possibly the most bizarre, unstable and upside down election since confederation”.

A small sample poll by Compas Inc of 750 voters with a margin of error of 3.6% suggests that the New Democratic Party (NDP) could be in for a big final surge or fall back dramatically.

The poll shows the NDP on 26% but other questions in the poll suggest that they could surge to as much as 36% or fall back to 20%. 79% of NDP supporters say that they could change their mind at the last minutes, the largest swing potential of all the parties.

By comparison the Conservatives are showing on 46% of the poll, enough for a majority government, and only 51% of their supporters say they might change their minds.

The Liberals are on 17% of the poll with 65% of their supporters saying they might change their minds at the last moment.

In total, some 61% of those polled said that they might still change their minds, but with the NDP being the most vulnerable and the Conservatives least vulnerable.

What appears clear from this poll is that the Conservatives may well have done enough to secure a majority. Their vote is more loyal and they appear to have squeezed the Liberal vote where it is most needed. The Conservatives have targeted around 20 swing constituencies and provided they do not fall back elsewhere, then a majority is on the cards.

Along with the volatile voting intentions of the NDP supporters come a number of other factors. The NDP is a much smaller party with fewer resources to get their voters out on polling day. Only 39% of those NDP supporters interviewed knew the name of their NDP candidate, which suggests less commitment to vote for an individual. The NDP will find it hardest to get their supporters to go and vote.

Then there was Thursday’s gaffe by NDP leader Jack Layton; he said in a Thompson Reuters interview that he would like to see the Bank of Canada hold off on hiking interest rates. There is a long standing rule in Canadian politics that the government manages the fiscal issues and the Bank of Canada the monetary issues. Therefore this statement coming from a left wing leader was seized upon by the financial markets and political opponents. How much damage it will have done is difficult to say, but it was Layton’s first gaffe of the campaign and will be used tirelessly by Liberals and Conservatives until the close of poll.

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