More numbers from SES Research today, and these ones are decidedly less positive for the Liberals than these. It's the infamous “Best PM” numbers, and once again Steve Harper is a run-away leader while Stephane Dion lags well back.
Of the following individuals, who do you think would make the best Prime Minister:Not a good situation for the Dion Liberals. As I've said before this isn't insurmountable (particularly given the party support numbers) but, and it's a big but, we need to start turning this around soon before it does become insurmountable. I mentioned the other day how the Liberals have been unable to build their support in the party support numbers; it would appear Dion's (lack of) popularity is holding those numbers back.
Stephen Harper: 42 per cent
Stephane Dion: 17 per cent
Jack Layton: 16 per cent
Gilles Duceppe: 7 per cent
Elizabeth May: 4 per cent
None: 7 per cent
Unsure: 6 per cent
I'd wager those "Not a Leader" attack ads from the CPC have found their mark. While they haven't budged Liberal support, they have weakened Dion as a leader and sapped his ability to grow the party's support. What's the answer? Hey, I think he's the bees knees so it's hard for me to say. One thing I often hear is when people see him in person, they like him, so keep getting him out there. And hope there's no election this spring.
While Dion lags his party in popularity, it's also interesting to note Harper is more popular than his party by six points. It wasn't that long ago Conservatives saw Harper as a liability, now he looks to be their greatest asset. A cautionary note, I think, on how quickly these things can change. Will be interesting to see how this might effect CPC strategy: even more all Harper, all the time?
Looking at the regional numbers (pdf), hard to find any bright spots for the Libs:
And here's commentary from SES boss Nik Nankos:
What is emerging is a situation where one leader is ahead of his party (Harper) and another leader trails his party (Dion). Of note, Harper is the second choice as the best PM among committed Liberals, New Democrats and BQ voters and the first choice as Best PM in the province of Quebec.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers
As shown in the previous research conducted with CPAC, Harper does well on leadership factors. From a polling perspective, Liberal ballot box support is being maintained by entrenched party support. The Conservatives are more likely to be encumbered by residual concerns on social issues (code - abortion/same sex marriage etc.).
Even with these numbers, one should exercise caution. Perceptions of leaders can turn quickly. All it would take is for one attack ad on Dion to go too far to potentially turn the numbers and change the environment.
Interesting times. I still think things are volatile. You have to remember, In our first past the post system, with 40% support winners take all. With numbers like these we may see more of a “Harper Government” and less of the “New Conservative Government”