Huffpost Canada Politics

Robocalls Scandal: Polls Find Support For Conservatives Unchanged Despite Allegations

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If allegations over voter suppression tactics and robocalls are going to stick, it has yet to happen. Support for the Conservatives and Stephen Harper support in Canada remains unchanged. (AP)
If allegations over voter suppression tactics and robocalls are going to stick, it has yet to happen. Support for the Conservatives and Stephen Harper support in Canada remains unchanged. (AP)

If allegations over voter suppression tactics are going to stick, it has yet to happen. Conservative support in Canada remains unchanged.

These are the findings of two recent surveys by Nanos Research and EKOS Research for The Globe and Mail and iPolitics, respectively.

The EKOS poll found that support for the Conservatives stood at 31.5 per cent shortly after the allegations emerged, virtually unchanged from the 31.4 per cent the party registered in EKOS’s last poll in December.

Nanos’ more recent survey, taken between Feb. 25 and 29, pegs Tory support at 35.7 per cent, unchanged from their last poll at the end of January.

It could be that Canadians are not prepared to blame the federal Conservatives for the problems reported in the last election as quickly as the opposition, or that they have become de-sensitized to this sort of electoral foul play. It could also be that the story has yet to sink in – there does seem to be some indication that the issue has begun to get more traction outside the Ottawa bubble over the last few days.

But one reason why Conservative support is buttressed against these allegations is that Stephen Harper is more trusted than his adversaries, according to the Nanos poll. Despite the recent tumult, Harper’s numbers have actually improved on the question of which leader is most trustworthy: from 30.1 per cent in January to 31.7 per cent at the end of February.

Liberal Interim Leader Bob Rae comes in second with 19.5 per cent, an increase of 2.7 points since Nanos’ last poll.

The Liberal Party has also increased its level of support nationwide to 29.5 per cent, giving the party a 4.5-point edge over the New Democrats for second. The Liberals have been climbing steadily in Quebec in Nanos polling since the fall of 2011, and now stand at 26.8 per cent, only 5.8 points behind the NDP.

The party has also taken the lead in Ontario, where the race has become increasingly close.

But Liberals should not pop the champagne corks just yet. Though this is the highest level of support the party has registered in any poll since the election campaign, Nanos has generally had the highest scores for the Grits among national pollsters. They are the only firm to peg Liberal support at over 26 per cent since the May 2011 vote.

At 25 per cent, the NDP support is at its lowest level by any pollster since the election. However, considering the party has only slipped 0.2 points since Nanos’ last poll at the end of January, the NDP appear to be holding steady, as other polling firms have indicated.

It may take some time before the robocall allegations begin to eat away at Conservative support. It may also fade away if the party is not definitively linked to the voter suppression tactics. As it stands, Canadians remain unmoved — which means that Bob Rae and the next leader of the NDP will either have to move that opinion or hope that events do the work for them.

Éric Grenier taps The Pulse of federal and regional politics for Huffington Post Canada readers on most Tuesdays and Fridays. Grenier is the author of ThreeHundredEight.com, covering Canadian politics, polls, and electoral projections.

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