Prorogation repulses CARP members – electoral game changer: CARP poll


January 18, 2010

TORONTO, Ontario: CARP ActionOnline readers overwhelmingly disapprove of the current proroguing of Parliament, which they think occurred because the government wanted to avoid an Afghan detainee enquiry and they will vote for a Liberal government if an election were held tomorrow.

Over 5,600 subscribers to CARP’s e-newsletter, CARP ActionOnline, reacted almost instantly to the poll which was issued late Friday, January 15, 2010.

When asked what they thought of the Prime Minister proroguing Parliament, fully three quarters disapprove (73%), and the wide majority “strongly disapprove” (57%).

When asked what they thought was the real reason Parliament was prorogued, the majority say it was to avoid the Afghan detainee enquiry, at least wholly or in part (62%), rather than solely due to the government’s stated reason of recalibrating their agenda (20%)

It is clear CARP members do not oppose prorogation per se, as fully one half (54%) approve of routinely proroguing a Parliament when its agenda is completed. Yet, a full three quarters (76%) believe the current prorogation was unjustified.

Despite some government spokesmen trying to blame the media for whipping up opposition to prorogation, well more than half (58%) believe the current uproar over prorogation reflects true public opinion rather than being a creation of the media (30%).

And regardless what people might think about the effectiveness of our parliamentarians, almost three quarters believe it is more important for Parliament to stay in session and pass bills (74%) than to be prorogued so the government can reset its agenda (16%).

“CARP members are well read and very politically engaged. They support our parliamentary institutions as a proper check and balance against executive power. Governments, even those they historically support, will pay the price at the polls if they get too high handed. Our surveys and electoral polling have demonstrated time and again that this is a bellwether group. And at the moment, they’d be prepared to vote the government out of office over prorogation”, said Susan Eng, VP Advocacy for CARP.

Members were asked how proroguing Parliament has affected their likelihood of voting for the government in the next election. To put this in context, many previous polls have demonstrated CARP ActionOnline readers have a distinct small “c” and large “C” conservative bias. Despite this, the majority of respondents say they are now less likely to vote for the government (59%).

As recently as late September of last year, fully two thirds of the respondents to CARP ActionOnline polls supported the Conservative party (62%), compared to just one quarter who supported the Liberals (26%). While the Afghan detainee enquiry had the effect of depressing government support somewhat in mid-December of last year (to 54%), Liberal support did not rise (27%).

Once the government prorogued Parliament just before New Years, however, Conservative support among our members plummeted (to 38%), and the Liberals now have a comfortable lead (at 41%). The NDP and the Green party have also been beneficiaries of the decline in Conservative support since before prorogation.