Lib­er­als in dead heat with Tories, lead­ing in key bat­tle­grounds: poll

Cape Breton Post - - OUR COMMUNITY -

OTTAWA (CP) — A new poll sug­gests a seis­mic po­lit­i­cal shift is un­der­way, with the Con­ser­va­tives off bal­ance and the Lib­er­als gain­ing trac­tion in im­por­tant ar­eas.

On the sur­face, The Cana­dian Press Har­ris-Dec­ima sur­vey sug­gests a dead heat be­tween the two par­ties, at 32 per cent each. The NDP was at 15 per cent, the Bloc Que­be­cois at 10, and the Greens at nine.

But Har­ris-Dec­ima chair­man Al­lan Gregg says the real story lies be­low the head­line num­bers.

”What you have on the sur­face is a dead heat, but if you dig a lit­tle deeper, what you see is that the Lib­er­als are clearly mak­ing some in­roads into key, bat­tle­ground con­stituen­cies.“

”They are emerg­ing as the fed­er­al­ist de­fault op­tion to the BQ in the prov­ince of Que­bec, they are ahead in On­tario for the first time since Septem­ber.”

The Que­bec data, over two weeks, show the Bloc with 38 per cent, the Lib­er­als with 28, the Tories well be­hind at 13, the NDP at 11 and the Greens at eight.

For On­tario, the Lib­er­als were at 40 per cent, with the Tories at 35, the NDP at 14 and the Greens at 10.

Gregg said the Lib­er­als were also mak­ing head­way in the im­por­tant 905 area code rid­ings around Toronto.

” The rid­ings in the 905 that looked to be clearly in the Con­ser­va­tive win col­umn are once again now com­pet­i­tive... And the Lib­er­als are re­gain­ing their his­toric dom­i­nance with fe­male vot­ers — a kind of bedrock of the con­stituency they have got to bolt to­gether if they are go­ing to have any chance to win.”

All that is a ma­jor shift, Gregg said.

The story for 2009 was a slow, even glacial, Tory re­draw­ing of the po­lit­i­cal map which saw the party gain in the 905 re­gion, among vis­i­ble mi­nori­ties and with women. It was plod­ding progress, but it was mov­ing to­ward ma­jor­ity ter­ri­tory. Now, in the open­ing weeks of 2010, many of those gains have van­ished.

Gregg lays the blame on Stephen Harper. He said the prime min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion to pro­rogue Par­lia­ment has added to what has al­ways been a char­ac­ter is­sue.

”It’s about a guy who looks a lit­tle sneaky and un-Cana­dian in some re­spects, press­ing an ad­van­tage like a bully.”

The gov­ern­ment’s han­dling of the Haitian earth­quake won praise, but hasn’t shaken doubts about the prime min­is­ter.

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