December 2, 2006 by Joseph Krohn
The Liberals would easily be beaten by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives — no matter which of the four main leadership contenders headed the party — if an election was held now, a new poll has found.
The poll, conducted by Ipsos Reid for CanWest News Service/ Global News and released Thursday, also found that none of the four leading candidates has caught fire among Canadians as someone who would persuade them to vote Liberal.
In fact, they all stand about the same chance of attracting voters back to the Liberal fold, but the results would nonetheless be another election loss.
“Each of the potential federal Liberal party leadership candidates, as of today, does not yet pose a threat to the Stephen Harper-led Conservative government,” said Ipsos Reid president Darrell Bricker.
“In fact, it would appear that after a divisive and hard-fought leadership race that Liberal voters are as divided as the Liberal convention delegates themselves. The results suggest the issue for Liberals is not who can defeat the Conservative government, but rather: Who can put the Liberal party back together again?”
In its survey, Ipsos Reid reminded Canadians the Liberals were holding a leadership convention and then asked how they would vote in the next election if the parties were led by a variety of leaders.
Here’s the outcome:
– If the Liberals are led by Michael Ignatieff, the Conservatives under Harper would get the support of 38 per cent of voters, while the Liberals would stand at 25 per cent, the NDP under Jack Layton would get 18 per cent, the Bloc Quebecois led by Gilles Duceppe would have nine per cent, the Green party under Elizabeth May would have six per cent, while four per cent don’t know how they’d vote.
– If the Liberals are led by Bob Rae, the standings would be as follows: Conservatives (38 per cent), Liberals (27 per cent); NDP (18 per cent); Bloc (nine per cent); Greens (four per cent); Don’t know (four per cent).
– If the Liberals are led by Stephane Dion, the results would be: Conservatives (35 per cent); Liberals (27 per cent); NDP (19 per cent); Bloc (nine per cent); Greens (seven per cent); Don’t know (four per cent).
– If the Liberals are led by Gerard Kennedy, the results would be: Conservatives (37 per cent); Liberals (25 per cent); NDP (18 per cent); Bloc (11 per cent); Greens (five per cent); Don’t know (five per cent).
The polling results will likely land with a thud at the Liberal convention, where Ignatieff goes into the first-ballot vote today in first place, while Rae will likely be in second, Kennedy in third, and Dion in fourth. How the voting progresses in further ballots on Saturday is highly unpredictable. In recent days, Liberal delegates have tried to determine which of the four contenders is most likely to lead them back to victory in an election as early as next spring.
“The ballot survey shows none of the four leading leadership contenders can claim they have the best chance of beating Stephen Harper,” said Bricker. “And, if winnability isn’t the issue, that means that delegates are going to have to move on to other factors to help them make their decision.”