It seems “Christmas in July” is already paying off for the Conservatives — but it’s a bump that may not last, a new poll suggests.
According to numbers from Mainstreet Research and Postmedia released Friday, voters who received their long-awaited Universal Child Care Benefit cheques “reacted very positively.”
Mainstreet now has the Tories ahead at 38 per cent support nationally among decided voters, with the NDP at 27 per cent and Liberals at 25 per cent. Twenty per cent remain undecided.
Among eligible parents engaged with the rollout of UCCB cheques, 38 per cent indicated they would vote Tory come election time.
But among eligible recipients who have been irregularly following UCCB-related news, Conservative-voting intention drops to 25 per cent. The number slips to 23 per cent with eligible parents who have not been following UCCB news at all.
The support boost has also helped Stephen Harper’s party take a stronger foothold in seat-rich Ontario.
In that province, Tories boast 45 per cent support among decided voters compared to 21 per cent for the NDP, and 28 per cent for the Liberals.
But the results also suggest the momentum could be short-lived.
“Stephen Harper is enjoying a return to support levels not seen since election day of 2011, but other number show he may be near a peak and the early bump from Christmas in July may not be sustainable until late October,” Mainstreet Research President Quito Maggi said in a release.
“The NDP and Liberals are statistically tied among both second choice and leaning undecided voters across Canada and in Quebec,” Maggi said, adding the Tories hold a slim four per cent edge over both Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau’s parties.
Earlier this week, eligible Canadian families received an enhanced UCCB cheque or direct deposit — replacing the standard Child Tax Credit the government scrapped in January.
The new benefit was panned by critics as a thinly-veiled attempt at buying votes. Independent MP Brent Rathgeber, a former Tory, called the hype around the cheques a pre-election opportunity for “shameless self-promotion” for his old party, and reminded recipients the new income boost will be taxable come April.
Toronto Sun columnist Lorne Gunter called the UCCB “bad policy, brilliant politics.”
The poll was conducted among 5,147 respondents between July 20-21 via landline and cell phone survey. The sample has a margin of error of 1.37 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Canadians are expected to head to the polls this fall for an election scheduled for Oct. 19.
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