Nanos/Ipsos: The Unloved One

That would be Ignatieff, if you were wondering

Nik Nanos has the latest leadership numbers, which are just a big spiky mace full of bad for the Liberals — that is, if you’re not one of those dangerous subversives who don’t think leadership numbers matter much outside of the writ period: Stephen Harper is viewed as twice as trustworthy as Michael Ignatieff (31 to 14) and a third more competent (36 to 20) and more future-Canada-visionary (32 to 20), which gives him a final Nanodex score of 99 to just 54 for Ignatieff, and 40 for Jack Layton.

The PDF gives a little more context, including not just the regionals — which are remarkably consistent across the country — but breakdowns by vote profile, which is how we learn that just 35% of Liberal voters picked Ignatieff as “most trustworthy,” with 15% choosing Harper and 13% who like the cut of that Layton jib. Compare that to the 71% of Conservatives, 64% of Bloc supporters and 45% of New Democrats who back their respective party leaders on the trust question. It’s a pattern that repeats with the “competent” and “vision for Canada” question, although at least Ignatieff can comfort himself that he’s pretty much tied with Duceppe — and Layton — on the latter question amongst Bloc supporters.

If that isn’t enough to thoroughly dash the post-Sudbury high, there’s also a new poll from Ipsos, which inspired the following bit of bruise-purple prose from whoever wrote the press release: “Harper Tories hold hammer over Ignatieff’s Grits.” Le ouch.

That hammer, by the way, is the same 39% lead that made us all go ‘huh?’ when it showed up last week; it hasn’t moved, although the Liberals have actually gone up by 2%, and are now a mere nine points behind at 30%, while the apparently- headed-for-single-digit-support New Democrats are at 12%.

In what is becoming an almost obligatory secondary line of questions for pollsters, Ipsos also questioned respondents about the need for an election to “clear the air”, and – not surprisingly — found that 71% of those surveyed think that Parliament is working just fine, compared with 25% who don’t, and 4% who just don’t know.

I suspect some may take issue with the wording of the question itself, which struck ITQ as — well, a little bit loaded:

“Some people say that Parliament and our federal political process is hopelessly deadlocked right now and that we really need an election to clear the air. Other people say that they think the federal political process is operating just fine at the moment there’s no need for an election. Which statement is closest to your point of view?”

Really, guys? “Some people say”?

First of all, it’s almost impossible not to imagine that question being read in the most sarcastic tone possible — I mean, why not add in air quotes for effect? Also, who, exactly, are these “some people” supposed to be, in the mind of the respondent? Politicians? Pundits? Radio call-in hosts?

The subsequent question is similarly pointed:

“If we have a federal election this fall, who will be most to blame for it happening?”

Yes, “blame”. Not something neutral like “which party would be responsible,” despite the fact that, according to the previous question, one in four respondents would be thanking, not blaming, the instigating party. Oh, and you only get two choices — Stephen Harper and the Conservatives or Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals. No New Democratic Party, no Bloc — and what about an all-encompassing “they’re all to blame”, just to provide a full range of options?  Nope.

Anyway, the results for that one are similarly unsurprising: 54% would blame Ignatieff and his party, and 35% would blame the prime minister and his government — but it’s the last question that really left ITQ staring blankly at the screen doing percentage math in her head: of those who would blame one of the two parties — and remember, they weren’t given a choice, really; they had to blame one of the two  —  47% would be less likely to vote for their “local candidate”, compared to 37% who would not. Be less likely to vote for them, that is, because hey, why not throw in a double negative just to keep respondents on their toes?

In fact, for once, Ignatieff seems to do better than the prime minister, as far as blame-wearing: Among those who blame the prime minister, 57% would be less likely to vote Tory, compared to just 51% of the Ignatieff-blamers who would be less likely to vote Liberal.

Do we know if any of the above were planning to vote for Harper or Ignatieff before having the blood all angried up by a fall election? No, we don’t. Which makes the above finding somewhat meaningless, particularly given the narrow — some might say one way funnel-like — nature of the questions.

Alright, commenters: Have at it.

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