CARP Poll™: Conservatives Losing Core CARP Voters –Cite Government Contempt for Parliament


March 13, 2011

TORONTO, ON: A weekend CARP Poll™ of over 2,000 CARP members demonstrates a clear break from their traditional support for the Conservatives as a direct result of the government’s response to the Speaker’s contempt rulings.

CARP voters break with party loyalty and presage Liberal gains [Please see below: How to read the Raw Data]

There has been a precipitous drop in voter support for the Conservatives among CARP members. Among decided voters, voting support for the Conservatives has fallen more than 10 points from a high of 52% on February 11, to 46% on February 25 to the current 41%. Support for the Liberals rose the same 10 points from 32% to 36% and now to 42% during the same period. The NDP (12%) and the Green Party (5%) have stayed stable during this period.

Members are more likely now (33%) than they were on February 11 (27%) to say Canada needs an election.

There are two findings which do not bode well for the Conservatives. While the NDP is the second choice of one quarter of voters (26%), followed by the Green Party (14%) and the Liberals (13%), very few members make the Conservative party their second choice (8%). In addition, the proportion of undecided members in our latest poll is significantly lower than in the past. Taken together, these two findings indicate the Conservative party has now declined to its core base, and has very few options for gaining additional votes.

“CARP members have been among the most loyal cohorts for the Conservative government. It’s fair to say that while our members have little use for politicians of all stripes they nonetheless draw the line at the disparagement of Parliamentary institutions – of which they are very proud and which they will defend. They will break party loyalty over this”, said Susan Eng, VP Advocacy for CARP.

The impact of the Speaker’s rulings themselves:

Close to two thirds of members say the Speaker’s Rulings will make them more likely to vote against the government in the next election (60%) and this is reflected in the voting preferences described below.

Three quarters respond negatively to government’s reaction to the Speaker’s ruling:

A clear majority (51%) found the government’s reaction the Speaker’s rulings to show “contempt for democracy” or “disdain for Canadians”.

Another 20 % defended the institution of Parliament and said that the Speaker’s Rulings are important either because Parliament is a check on government or because the Speaker’s Rulings are rare.

Just over a quarter (27%) agreed with the various comments made by the government that the Speaker’s rulings are: a “distraction” (10%), “just more parliamentary debate” (8%), “inside baseball” (5.6%) or a case of “win some, lose some” (3%).

How to read the raw data:

Throughout CARP’s polling, the membership has shown a distinct preference for the Conservative government over the Official Opposition and this does not change even if they favour an Opposition policy proposal or budget measure. However, a serious reversal has happened every time Parliament itself [prorogation] or the institutions of government [long-form census] were disparaged or attacked – as it has in this case.