By Adrian Duyzer
Published February 20, 2007
(First published in Ade's blog)
A new poll by The Strategic Counsel says although Canadians identify with the Liberals and the Conservatives in equal numbers, Harper is seen as the most decisive leader, the leader with the clearest vision for Canada, and - amazingly - the leader with the most charisma.
The new survey also finds that voters have failed to warm up to recently elected Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, and that his party has lost its postconvention bounce to the Tories, who are seen to have the best handle on national issues.
Were an election to be held today, 34 per cent of voters would opt for the Conservatives, up three points from last month. The Liberals are at 29 per cent, down six points from the same period, while the New Democratic Party is down one point to 14 per cent. The main beneficiary appears to be the Green Party, which has the support of 12 per cent of voters, up from eight per cent.
Strategic Counsel chairman Allan Gregg believes these numbers are good enough for Harper to call a spring election. "I would say, looking at this, something untoward would have to happen for [Harper] not to call it."
Even worse for the Liberals than the numbers on personal characteristics are the numbers on the issues, particularly the environment, which is supposed to be Dion's strong point. Asked, "Which party can deal best with the environment and global warming?", 23% of Canadians said the Liberals, just three points ahead of the Conservatives at 20%.
It ain't over til it's over, of course, and there is little doubt in my mind that the environment could still prove a lethal weapon for the Liberals if they wield it effectively. That means taking the Conservatives to task over it, perhaps with an emphasis on protecting Canada's future from the environmental destruction bound to wrought under right-wing stewardship, or lack of it.
Could David Suzuki's call to "put our children and grandchildren back on the agenda" be the core of a Liberal environmental strategy? Or will short-term economic considerations win out in the auto plants of Ontario and the oil fields of Alberta?
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