The latest poll: Tories up, but look who's down - Macleans.ca

The latest poll: Tories up, but look who’s down

The softness of one party’s support is worth noting

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The new Ipsos Reid poll for Postmedia News and Global National puts the governing Conservatives at 43 per cent, up four points from the same pollster’s last opinion survey a few weeks earlier, and nicely into the potential majority band. But at whose expense? Remarkably, the Liberals are up too, by just a couple of points to 27 per cent, since that previous Ipsos Reid poll. It’s the NDP that appears to be hurting—down five points to 13 per cent—along with the Greens—whose support was halved to 5 per cent.

This is, as we inevitably and rightly recite, just a snapshot. But the apparent softness of the NDP and Green vote is worth noting, even if one maintains a healthy skepticism about the predictive value of any poll taken before an election campaign has begun. Back in January, I reported in a short item for Maclean’s that Michael Ignatieff’s winter tour of 20 target ridings was actually premised—according to Liberal strategists I talked with then—on the theory that former NDP voters in those seats could be won over, even if the Tory vote wasn’t likely to move.

Today’s poll suggests that NDP and Green votes might indeed be susceptible to swinging, perhaps in large part out of fear of a Harper majority. But the problem for the Liberals, at least for the moment, seems to be that they are bleeding centre-right support to the Conservatives even as they are picking up left-of-centre backing from the smaller parties. Which formerly Liberal voters are the Tories netting? Mark Kennedy over at Postmedia lists, in his story on the poll, traditional Liberal backers like women and foreign-born Canadians. Not a big surprise, really, as these are exactly the sorts of voters Sen. Doug Finley, the recently (semi)retired Conservative campaign boss, says his party has been striving patiently to reach.