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article imageOp-Ed: Poll indicates that Trudeau factor no major impact except in LPC

By Karl Gotthardt     Feb 8, 2013 in Politics
Ottawa - While the name factor has been a factor in US politics, with political dynasties like the Bush's and Clinton's, a recent poll indicates that the candidacy of Justin Trudeau has had little impact outside the Liberal Party of Canada.
The Liberal party of Canada (LPC) currently has nine candidates hopeful of winning the leadership. The front runners are widely seen as Justin Trudeau, son of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Marc Garneau, former head of the Canadian Space Agency and Toronto lawyer Martha Hall Findlay. The LPC has been all bubbly and has expected major gains in popularity. Despite the Trudeau factor a recent QMI Agency poll indicates that despite the Trudeau factor the LPC still trails Conservatives and New Democrats in polls.
The poll finds that the support for political parties in Canada has remained virtually unchanged since the federal election in May 2011.
Abacus Data found that, across the country, the Conservatives have the support of 35% of voters, the NDP 31% and the Liberals 21%.
"Although the Liberal leadership race is in full swing, it has had little effect on Liberal fortunes across the country," Abacus CEO David Coletto said. "Support for the Conservatives is down from the 2011 election but neither the NDP nor the Liberals have gained either.
"Like much of Canada, the federal political landscape seems to be in a deep freeze."
Of course this is only one poll, which surveyed 1,832 Canadians between Feb. 5 and 6 using an online survey. The pollsters weighed age, region, gender and education based on the most recent census data.
While support for the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) seems to be solid, there appears to have been some movement in support between the LPC and the New Democratic Party (NDP). The poll attributes this to the leadership of Thomas Mulcair, who has little support outside of Quebec and the Greater Toronto area. The NDP swept Quebec in what was known as the "Orange Wave" during the last federal election. A big factor was the NDP leader Jack Layton, who was, according to polls, the most trusted leader in Canada.
Early polls after Justin Trudeau announced his candidacy for the LPC leadership seemed to indicate that Trudeau may in fact have an impact on the Canadian national political scene. According to the National Post, a Harris-Decima poll in November suggested that a Trudeau surge was not a fleeting celebrity phenomenon. The poll suggested that:
Forty-two per cent of respondents said they’d be certain or likely to vote Liberal in the next election if Trudeau was at the helm — enough to form a comfortable Liberal majority government.
That’s up from 36% in September and 33% in June.
The poll suggests Trudeau’s appeal is strongest in Atlantic Canada, where 60% said they’d vote Liberal under his leadership, Quebec (48%), British Columbia (43%) and Ontario (41%).
But the party’s fortunes would improve markedly even in the Conservative stronghold of Alberta (30%) and Manitoba and Saskatchewan (32%).
Trudeau’s appeal was consistent across urban and rural areas and among voters of all age groups.
In a study of several polls conducted since the Trudeau candidacy was announced, the Globe and Mail suggests that Liberal polling numbers are all over the map and the Globe and Mail suggests that it's not just Trudeau.
Since Justin Trudeau launched his leadership bid on Oct. 2, the Liberals have been polling all over the map. In the 10 polls released between then and the end of last week, the Liberals have registered as high as 30 per cent, as low as 18 per cent, and everything in between.
With nine candidates vying for the leadership, there have been two leadership debates to date. Both of them appeared more like a liberal love fest, rather than a serious debate on the issues that concern Canadians. In at least the case of the three forerunners, the platforms are a talking points outline of their platform, all of which lack substance.
Marc Garneau, based on his background as a former head of the Canadian space agency and command experience in the Canadian Forces, is arguably the candidate with the most leadership experience, but without a detailed platform is not likely to succeed, especially in a federal election.
Martha Hall Findlay is a Lawyer and former federal member of parliament. Her past experience should give her some momentum in the race, but again she needs more substance in her platform to convince Canadians that she is ready to run the country.
Justin Trudeau
, as previously mentioned, is widely considered to be the front runner in the LPC race, but again, especially in Alberta, he is seen by most voters as a candidate that is more worried about style rather than substance.
Some of the anti-Alberta comments made by some prominent liberals were not helpful in gaining support for their candidates. In an interview with Tele-Quebec, Trudeau said:
“Canada isn’t doing well right now because it’s Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda. It doesn’t work.”
Asked if he thinks Canada is better served when there are more Quebecers than Albertans in charge, he said: “I’m a Liberal so, of course, I think so, yes.
“Certainly, when we look at the great prime ministers of the 20th Century, those that really stood the test of time, they were MPs from Quebec .. This country, Canada, it belongs to us.”
The resurrected Trudeau quotes piled on a gaffe a day earlier by Ottawa Liberal MP David McGuinty. He resigned his shadow cabinet post as natural resources critic after saying Alberta Tory MPs are “shills” for the oil industry and should go home.
Both were gifts to the Conservatives, who are trying to hold on to Calgary Centre — a Tory riding for more than 40 years — in a byelection Monday. Polls suggest it’s a tight contest, with Liberal Harvey Locke only a few points behind Conservative Joan Crockatt.
The Liberal Party has a lot of work to do, based on the QMI Agency poll. It is not surprising that the NDP still holds a lead over the LPC and it would also appear that Canadians are not easily influenced by name recognition. While the members of the LPC may be bubbling over the Trudeau candidacy it may be appropriate to put some meat into their platforms and convince Canadians, both presently supporters of the NDP and conservatives, how they would move Canada forward.
Years of LPC dominance in the Canadian political scene has given the party quite a track record. To succeed the party needs to demonstrate how it has transformed and why Canadians should trust anything they say.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Canadian Politics, Canada, liberal party of canada, Justin Trudea, marthahall findlay
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