While the ultimate goal of Canadian political parties is to form a majority government in the House of Commons, none of the three parties which could form government are even close to majority territory.
So what’s the next best option, according to Canadian voters? An Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News found that the majority of Canadian voters prefer an NDP or Liberal government regardless of which one is taking the lead.
“What this shows, it’s more about change than it is about the specific agenda of either opposition party,” Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos said in an interview Wednesday. “As a result they don’t care if the NDP is in the lead, or the Liberals are in the lead as long as it’s not [Conservative leader Stephen] Harper in the lead.”
According to the Ipsos poll, the most popular form of minority government is an NDP government bolstered by the support of the Liberals. Fifty-five per cent of all voters support that option, with 87 per cent of NDP voters, and 68 per cent of Liberals in favour.
In-Depth: Federal Election 2015
Results are similar for the Liberals governing with support of the NDP. Fifty-three per cent of all voters support that makeup in the House of Commons, with 87 per cent of Liberal voters, and 66 per cent of NDP voters supporting it.
“When you look at second choice support for Liberals and NDP, they’re overwhelmingly for each other,” Bricker said.
Voters are less supportive of any minority government featuring the Conservative party. Only 35 per cent of voters, and 67 per cent of Tory voters, support a Conservative government ruling with help from the Liberals.
And only 32 per cent of all voters, 56 per cent of Liberals, and 35 per cent of Tories, support a Liberal government bolstered by the Conservatives.
The least popular options were Conservative/NDP governments. Only 32 per cent of all voters, 55 per cent of Tories and 25 per cent of NDP voters, support the Conservatives ruling with support of the NDP. Thirty-two per cent of voters, 44 per cent of NDP, and 26 per cent of Tories, support the opposite – an NDP government bolstered by help from the Conservatives.
Canadian political parties typically need somewhere around 39 per cent of the popular vote before forming a majority is a realistic possibility.
There’s been 30 majority governments since 1867, the most recent being Harper’s – his first after winning two minority governments.
Right now, no party has the support to win a majority and if that holds true when the campaign enters its final weeks, Bricker said voters should expect it to become a campaign talking point.
“If it looks like a minority option is most likely, one of the two opposition parties will make the play to be the party that leads it. And the Conservatives will start talking about a strong, stable majority Conservative government,” Bricker said, adding that the Conservatives will “definitely” raise the spectre of a coalition despite Trudeau denying he’s willing to accept one.
But now that he’s been in power for nearly a decade, what happens if he loses? Most Canadians, 63 per cent, say he should resign as party leader if the Conservatives lose the majority, according to another Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News. A further 66 per cent say he should resign if his party loses the election.
But when it comes to party faithful, Harper is still the man in charge. Seventy-three per cent of Conservative voters think he should stay on if his party fails to win a majority. Similarly 63 per cent say he should continue to lead the party even if the Conservatives don’t win the election.
“That’s because those people who admire Stephen Harper and like him have not been swayed by anything that’s happened in the last ten years,” Bricker said adding that there’s no “obvious challenger” to Harper.
“He’s got a good base within the Conservative party.”
Harper is the only veteran leader among the three most popular leaders. Justin Trudeau took the reins from Michael Ignatieff after the Liberals’ disastrous showing in the 2011 election, and Tom Mulcair took over from Nycole Turmel, who served as interim leader of the NDP after the passing of Jack Layton.
“The other guys, because they’re new, the newness hasn’t worn off yet. And each of those two parties likes what their leader has done for their party,” Bricker said. “So Justin Trudeau has put the Liberals back in the game and Tom Mulcair has got the NDP back to where they were and a little better than their high watermark with Jack Layton.”
Only 37 per cent of voters, and 17 per cent of Liberals, think Trudeau should resign if the Liberals don’t win the election.
Only 32 per cent of voters, and only 16 per cent of NDP voters think Tom Mulcair should resign as party leader should he fail to win the election.
But voters willing to accept a loss on both Mulcair’s and Trudeau’s electoral record, that’s not always the case for first-time leaders.
“Sometimes you only get one chance, ask [Michael] Ignatieff, or [Stephane] Dion, or Ernie Eves,” Bricker said.Follow @jamesarmstrong7
Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos Reid.” This poll was conducted between August 24 and August 26, with a sample of 1,000 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel and is accurate to within 3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
See the full Ipsos tables below:
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