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article imageOp-Ed: Canadian polls and Justin Trudeau on Iraq

By Ken Hanly     Oct 26, 2014 in Politics
Ottawa - Both Liberal leader Justin Trudeau who is leading in recent federal polls and Thomas Mulcair of the New Democratic Party(NDP) voted against the bombing mission of Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Iraq.
Two recent polls indicate that a majority of Canadians support Canada's Iraq mission and also Stephen Harper's judgment on the matter. Yet, as an article by Eric Grenier indicates, the results do not clearly show that Trudeau's position on Iraq has had any negative effect on support for the Liberal party.
An EKOS research survey shows that 58 per cent of Canadians strongly or somewhat support Canada's Iraq mission while only 39 per cent are opposed. As usual with such results the polls actually show that most Canadians 58 per cent favor a "non-military response such as aid and assistance to refugees" a position supported by both opposition parties. 21 per cent favored limiting the response to airstrikes where another 23 per cent wanted a "fuller military response including airstrikes and ground combat". The last two positions favoring a military mission add up to only 44 per cent, less than a majority.
Another poll by Abacus Data showed that 54 per cent thought that Prime Minister Harper showed good or at least acceptable judgment in dealing with the IS threat with only 23 per cent thinking that he had shown poor judgment. Note that a considerable number in these polls said they did not have sufficient information to make a judgment. For both Mulcair and Trudeau 39 per cent of respondents said that they had shown good or acceptable judgment. However, more thought Trudeau's judgment was poor, 28 per cent while just 19 per cent thought this for Mulcair.
Opposition to the Canadian mission in Iraq was strongest among New Democrats at 60 per cent. Support was strongest among Conservatives at 90 per cent but Liberals showed a slight majority in favor with only 45 per cent opposed according to an Ekos poll.
The EKOS poll showed that the Liberal party still had the support of nearly 39 per cent, almost the same as the last two polls. The support for the Conservatives and New Democrats remained about the same. This suggests that the issue has had little or no impact on support for any party. As often happens with polls however, the results of the Abacus survey indicate a drop this week in Liberal support to 32 per cent, six points lower than the 38 per cent they had back in September in contrast to the EKOS poll.
Yet these results when looked at in depth make the situation even less clear. The fall in Liberal support was worst in Ontario where they dropped from 41 per cent to 32 per cent just two per cent more than the Conservatives. However, the New Democrats are the party that gained nine points, and they are also the party most opposed to the Canadian Iraq mission. Over the last five months Liberals averaged 43 per cent in Ontario polls with the NDP at only 18 per cent. Surely the conclusion one could draw from this is that opposing the Iraq mission is the way to gain support since the NDP are most opposed. Detailed descriptions of the surveys is given at the end of this article.
The next federal election in Canada is scheduled for Oct. 19 2015 almost a year away. The three main party standings in the most recent Abacus poll on October 17 in percentage support were: Conservatives 30; NDP 25; Liberals 32. In contrast the EKOS poll just two days earlier showed: Conservatives 26.4; NDP 25; Liberals 38.5. If the present trends continue it looks as if the Conservatives will lose their majority government but not to the NDP who are at present the main opposition but to the Liberal party. The Iraq mission so far seems not to be much of an issue.
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
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