Poll Analysis: Older Voters May Deny Harper His Majority

The Recent Poll of CARP Action Online readers shows Liberals ahead in the battleground province of Ontario if an election were held now.

Based on CARP’s internal projections, on a national basis, CARP members support the Conservatives [36%] over the Liberals [30%], BUT in the key battleground province of Ontario, CARP members support the Liberals [42%] over the Conservatives [38%].

The raw numbers show a clear preference for the Conservatives over the Liberals nationally [47.7%:36.2%] and in Ontario [47.2%:39.4%]. But our pollster uses a correction factor that compares our 2008 poll results to actual 2008 election results to arrive at the electoral projections [please see detail below]. And coincidentally, this reversal in Ontario parallels the results in the recent Angus Reid Poll which showed the Liberals holding a two-point lead over the Tories in Ontario, 37 per cent and 35 per cent click here to read more on this..

CARP members’ support for the Conservatives, the NDP and the Green Party has declined over the past year, while support for the Liberals has grown. This may be due to Liberal “switchers” uncomfortable with Stephane Dion’s leadership in 2008 returning to their party roots with the advent of Michael Ignatieff as leader.

CARP’s poll sample is a bellwether group. Virtually all the respondents were age 55 plus. Seventy percent [70%] of this demographic votes regularly. In Ontario, there are over a dozen ridings in which those aged 65-plus represent about 26% of the population, about twice the national average [13%]. And contrary to recently publicized polls which showed the two main parties neck and neck in Ontario, the preferences among older voters are quite different.

So, the message is: Older voters can make the difference between a majority and minority in the upcoming election so it would be wise to pay attention to the issues that resonate with them. In fact, it could determine the election.

And we just happen to have a list of those issues.

The CARP poll presented members with a series of policy initiatives supported by CARP, and asked if they agreed with them. They were then asked if each should be an election issue. The vast majority of respondents agree with each initiative.

When asked if each of these should be an election issue, however, fewer respondents agreed in each case:

Initiate comprehensive pension reform 45%
Amend bankruptcy laws to give priority to pensioners 45%
Moratorium on RRIF withdrawals 42%
Increase CPP/OAS/GIS 41%
Establish Universal Pension Plan 39%
Make TFSAs retroactive for 60-plus 33%
Tax/financial support for caregivers 31%

This is likely an indication that, while most respondents see all the listed issues as worthy ones, they were very selective as to which issues were important enough to be election issues and upon which they would hinge their vote. It is interesting to note that those least likely to see any of these issues as an election issue are Conservative party supporters in the oldest age cohort who live in Western Canada.