March 22, 2011
The pattern our poll shows is that the Conservative Party tends to be very popular with our members until they commit a gaffe, and then members take a look at the Liberals. If the Conservatives don’t compound their gaffes further, their popularity tends to bounce back up again. Consider the following chart:
At the last election, the Conservatives scored in the high 40s, the Liberals in the low 30s, and these are the parties’ natural levels with our members. In the fall of 2009, the Liberals threatened to topple the government and force an election. The Conservatives’ ratings went to the low 60s and the Liberals tumbled to the high 20s.
Not content to enjoy their good fortune, the Prime Minister prorogued parliament in January, 2010, and, all of a sudden, the Conservatives trailed the Liberals, with both parties at about 40%.
The Conservatives recovered, only to step into it again with the Afghan detainee scandal, when both parties hovered around 40% again.
Once again, the Conservatives recovered, but the ongoing soap opera of the Jaffer/Guergis affair dragged their numbers down to the mid-40s.
The long form census dispute caused the Conservatives to tumble again, and both parties met at around 40% once again.
After recovering briefly, the Conservatives suffered somewhat (and the NDP benefited) from the long gun registry affair.
When the finance ministers met at Kananaskis in the fall of 2010 and announced there would be no increase to the CPP, the Conservatives suffered somewhat as the Liberals benefited.
In their latest series of missteps, the Conservatives have lost ten points, the Liberals have gained ten points, and the two parties are tied at about 40%.
As an aside, the CARP PollTM is designed so that only one entry can be made per computer, which ensures we aren’t double counting responses.