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article imagePolls find New Democrats tied for second, debates annoyed viewers

By Andrew Moran     Apr 18, 2011 in Politics
Ottawa - A number of polls have found that Jack Layton's New Democratic Party has caught up to or surpassed the Liberal Party of Canada for second place. Another poll showed last week's federal leaders' debate annoyed television viewers.
Since last month’s declaration of a Canadian federal election, polling firms have showed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are maintaining strong leads, and some suggest that he is in majority territory.
Meanwhile, polls are showing that Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party are having difficulty closing in on the Conservatives, which has led to the New Democratic Party surging and even taking over from the Grits.
NDP gaining ground
According to an online survey conducted by Angus Reid, 25 percent of voters say they would support the New Democrats come May 2, which is up from 21 percent earlier this month, reports the Toronto Star.
Jack Layton’s biggest gain came in the province of Quebec. Statistics are suggesting that the NDP has surpassed the Liberals for the number two political party; something that has been heavily criticized by Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe.
“What is emerging is a troubling trend, not so much for the Bloc as for Quebec. The rise of the NDP affects the Bloc less than it favours a Conservative majority,” said Duceppe, reports the National Post. “You have to look beyond the smiles and the fact that someone is nice.
Another poll conducted by Leger Marketing for QMI Agency suggests the same trend, but pollsters caution that Layton’s support is “soft.” Although Leger’s poll shows Layton is in a statistical dead heat in Quebec, pollster Christian Bourque noted that there is a “love factor” for Layton in Quebec.
Both Leger and Angus Reid polls show Harper holding double-digit leads with support in the high-30s, but it is still far from the majority that the Prime Minister is hoping for, which was quite clear during last week’s federal leaders’ debates.
The Angus Reid online survey was conducted with more than 2,000 Canadian adults from Apr. 15 to Apr. 16. The poll contains a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points.
The Leger Marketing online study was conducted with more than 3,500 Canadian adults from Apr. 15 to Apr. 17 and contains a margin of error of +/- 1.7 percentage points.
Voters annoyed by debates
Another Angus Reid poll conducted for the Toronto Star shows that Canadian voters were extremely annoyed by the federal leaders’ English and French debates last week. Although respondents said Harper was the clear victor in the debates, they found “frustration” and even “boredom” at various moments of the debates.
“I’ve never seen this level of annoyance in any other kind of content testing we’ve done with this tool,” said Angus Reid vice-president, Jaideep Mukerji. “Canadians’ primary reaction to the English debates was annoyance. There was none of the engagement, excitement, happiness or even interest that we have observed with more stellar political performances.”
Why were viewers annoyed, though? Some the reasons of annoyance were at individual leaders, particularly Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe, segments of “bickering” among the leaders and direct pitches for votes.
Angus Reid conducted the online survey using ReactionPlus– an Internet-based media screening platform that showed the respondents audio and video clips. The survey was conducted with 1,074 randomly selected Canadian adults from Apr. 13 to Apr. 14.
More about Canada Election 2011, Federal Leaders Debate, Polls, New democratic party, Jack Layton
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