A throne speech packed with consumer-friendly goodies and a trade deal with the European Union is a good fall start for the prime minister, particularly considering a new poll suggests his party trails Justin Trudeau's Liberals by 10 points.
The poll, conducted by EKOS Research for iPolitics between October 10 and 14, found Liberals to be well ahead with 36 per cent support, compared to just 26 per cent for Conservatives and 25 per cent for New Democrats. The Greens had just under seven per cent, while the Bloc Québécois had five per cent (22 per cent in Quebec).
It has to be admitted that these results raise a few eyebrows, as it is one of the worst results the Conservatives have registered since before Trudeau's arrival on the scene.
EKOS did peg Tory support at around 26 per cent in April and May, but no other firm has had the Tories below 27 per cent since well before the 2011 federal election. And for the Liberals, the 10-point gap is the widest that has been seen since the heady days following Trudeau's leadership victory.
That means one of two things: that EKOS Research is picking up a lull in Conservative support that has benefited the Liberals, or the results are on the outside edge of the survey's margin of error. Subsequent polls will tell us which is closer to the truth.
But if Liberals are rebounding from a somewhat lacklustre September, there are a lot of positive things in this poll for the party. For instance, EKOS gives the Liberals 41 per cent support among Canadians who were born abroad — 20 points more than the Conservatives. This is a demographic that helped elect Harper's majority government in 2011. The small sample size means the margin of error for this group is about +/- eight points, but that still bodes well for the party going forward. A breakthrough in the suburbs of Toronto, where many immigrants have set up roots, is key to any Liberal victory in 2015.
The poll does suggest that the Liberals are doing well in Ontario, giving the party 40 per cent support to just 27 per cent for the Tories — one point behind the NDP. This is likely an anomalous result, however, as no poll has put the Tories in third place in seat-rich Ontario in recent memory.
The numbers in Quebec appear to fall more within the norm, with Liberals showing weakness in the province after Trudeau's initial surge. EKOS gave the Liberals 31 per cent support in Quebec, compared to 29 per cent for the NDP. A close race in Quebec, with the edge going to the Liberals, is generally the polling consensus for the province.
The Bloc trailed in third with 22 per cent, while Tories were at 13 per cent. The Tories have hardly budged from that low level of support since the beginning of the summer (it was even lower in the spring). It makes it difficult to envision a comeback for the party in Quebec, and even puts the re-election of a few of their five MPs in the province in doubt.
The return to work on Parliament Hill and the plan laid out in the throne speech, however, give Conservatives an opportunity for a bit of a reset. But the scandals in the Senate are certainly not going away and the speech was received by the commentariat with a bit of a yawn. The long-promised EU deal is better news.
But if this poll is close to the mark, the Tories face a long road back.
Éric Grenier taps The Pulse of federal and regional politics for Huffington Post Canada readers every week. Grenier is the author of ThreeHundredEight.com, covering Canadian politics, polls and electoral projections.
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UP NEXT: Memorable Trudeau Photos
Come At Me, Bro
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Justin Trudeau & co. making faces.
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Justin Trudeau gets his geek on at Montreal Comiccon in September 2012.
So Long 'Stache
Justin Trudeau has his moustache shaved off to raise money for the Judy LaMarsh Fund, that supports female candidates, at the Liberal Party convention in Ottawa on Saturday, January 14, 2012.
Coming For MacKay
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All For One, One For All
Justin Trudeau all dressed up for the Montreal Movember Gala in 2010.
Pierre Trudeau's sons, Sacha, left, and Justin, tackle their mother's paperboy in Ottawa in this undated photo.
'Family... And A Cow.'
He Can Certainly Take A Punch
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Be Honest With Me, Who's Cuter?
Justin Trudeau strikes a pose with an adorable baby.
A Very Furry Christmas
Justin Trudeau poses with his family on his 2010 Christmas card.
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Yanking Their Chain
Then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, left, watches as his 11-year-old son Justin swings on a chain during a tour of an old fort in the Omani town of Nizwa Dec. 2, 1983. Trudeau and Justin spent the day visiting the towns of Jebel and Nizwa 165 kilometres south of Muscat.
Justin Trudeau in Muskoka, Ont.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, centre, has his cowbay taken by his son Xavier, 4 years-old, while his wife Sophie Gregoire, second from left, holds daughet Ella-Grace, 3 years-old, while they attend the party's annual Stampede breakfast in Calgary, Saturday, July 7, 2012. This is the 100th anniversary of the Stampede.
Like Mother, Like Son
Eleven-month-old Justin Trudeau, urged on by his mother Margaret Trudeau, crawls up the steps of an aircraft in Ottawa on Dec. 5, 1972 to meet his father, then-prime minister, Pierre Trudeau on his return from Britain.
Cutting A Rug
Justin Trudeau dances with wife Sophie Grégoire before his speech at the Liberal showcase on April 6, 2013.
Next: What Is Pierre Trudeau Doing?
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, wearing what someone called his "Mandrake the Magician outfit," walks down the grandstand steps to present the Grey Cup trophy to the victorious Montreal Alouettes in this Nov. 28, 1970 photo.
Hey, It Was The '70s
Pierre Trudeau leans over to kiss an unidentified young lady to the seeming surprise of his recent bride Margaret. Trudeau and Margaret spent Saturday March 27, 1971 at maple tree farm here near Montreal at a sugaring out party.
Fur Wasn't Always Controversial
Pierre Trudeau accompanies Margaret Sinclair, at the annual Governor General's skating party for members of Parliament in Ottawa Jan. 14, 1970.
Ditto For Seal Hunting
Pierre Trudeau looks through the scope of his rifle while on a seal hunting trip in Baffin Island's Clear Water Fjord, July 29, 1968.
A Leg Up
Pierre Trudeau shoes off his frisbee catching style while waiting to board his plane in Vancouver May 16, 1979.
Calisthenics Were Still Cool
Pierre Trudeau had no trouble keeping himself occupied during a break from a boat trip down the Northwest Territories, Nahanni River, Monday Aug. 4, 1970.
Pierre Trudeau takes a wary look at an ice crevice, decides to chance it and makes the leap successfully during a midnight seal- hunting expedition at Clearwater Fjord in Canada's Arctic, July 29, 1968.
When in France...
Pierre Trudeau receives a kiss from his wife Margaret during a tour of St. Pierre, France, Aug. 1971.
Pierre Trudeau in Guayana 1974.
Friendlier With Reporters Than You Know Who
Pierre Trudeau sticks his tongue out to Canadian Press Photographer Peter Bregg during the 1972 election campaign. This photo was taken aboard the campaign plane where such antics were considered off the record. The photo was not made available until after the death of the prime minister
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau dances in Montreal Oct. 21, 1979.
Acting like a Beatle
Pierre Trudeau sprints away from a crowd of female admirers in Ottawa April 22, 1968. They surrounded him outside the Parliament Buildings on his third day in office.
Posing with a Beatle
John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, meet with Pierre Trudeau Dec. 24, 1969 in Ottawa.