Just as ITQ feared, the latest numbers for Ekos show virtually no movement in the ongoing battle for the hearts and minds of what Frank Graves describes as a “mainly indifferent public”.
The Conservatives are back in front place, with 34.1% – up from 31.8% last week, which, at just over 2%, represents the most substantial change for any of the parties, which ought to tell you something about the rest of the results. The Liberals creep up a teeny tiny twentieth of a percent, and now sit at 32.4% as the NDP drop by .8, from 16 to 15.2%, and in Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois falls from 37.1 to 34%. With the exception of the Conservative uptick, every single change is — say it with me, now — Within The Margin of Error (1.9%).
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s the interesting part of this week’s release:
Canadians have turned decisively against Canada’s participation in the military mission in Afghanistan, according to the latest weekly poll conducted by EKOS Research Associates exclusively for release on CBC.ca.
“We have been polling on this question since the mission began,” said EKOS President Frank Graves. “The public outlook on Afghanistan has undergone a steady and radical transformation. From overwhelming public support at the outset of the mission we have seen an inexorable reversal to overwhelming public opposition. Opposition has grown from a trivial mid-teen level to nearly well over 50 percent. Support has collapsed from more than 2 in 3 at the outset to just 1 in 3 now. And none of this is an ephemeral, excited response to news headlines; it has been a steady and gradual shift in public judgment of the mission.”
In Quebec, where support for the mission has never been strong, it is now only barely above single digits. In this poll, opponents outnumber supporters in every region except Manitoba/Saskatchewan, where the sample size is too small to be conclusive.
“Nonetheless, there is little reason to suspect that the Afghanistan mission is an especially heavy load on the Conservative government, since it has already agreed with the opposition Liberals to bring the mission to a close in 2011 and the debate has largely fallen out of the media discourse,” said Graves.
You know, usually when ITQ finds herself trapped by someone who goes on and on and on and on and on about All The Stuff The Media Should Be Covering, she rolls her eyes and points out that, actually, we are covering most of it, just not in the way that the speaker seems to think it should be covered. That’s not the case when it comes to Afghanistan — or, more specifically, that “steady and gradual shift” in public opinion on the mission — which, notwithstanding today’s pollblitz, is probably the most consistently underreported story in Canadian politics today, and there’s really no satisfactory explanation for it, so she won’t try to fob one off on you.