Thursday, January 12, 2006 | Harper seen as most trusted leader, poll finds:
"Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has not only been judged the winner of Monday's leaders' debate, he is now the leader Canadians most trust to become prime minister, a new poll says.

The poll, prepared by The Strategic Counsel for CTV and The Globe and Mail, had people picking the winner as follows (percentage-point change from the December post-debate poll in brackets):

* Stephen Harper: 37 per cent (+26)
* Paul Martin: 14 per cent (-7)
* Jack Layton: 8 per cent (+2)
* Gilles Duceppe: 3 per cent (-12)
* DK/NA/Ref: 37 per cent

In Quebec, the Tories continue to rise, while the Liberals fall and the Bloc hovers around the 50 per cent mark (percentage-point change from polling conducted Dec. 30-31, Jan. 3 in brackets):
  • Bloc Quebecois: 50 per cent (-2)
  • Conservatives: 23 per cent (+10)
  • Liberals: 16 per cent (-10)
  • NDP: 7 per cent (+2)
  • Greens: 4 per cent (unchanged)

Here is how national support for parties is allocated (percentage-point change from polling conducted Dec. 30-31, Jan. 3, when the Grits and Tories were tied):

  • Conservatives: 39 per cent (+7)
  • Liberals: 28 per cent (-4)
  • NDP: 16 per cent (-1)
  • Bloc Quebecois: 12 per cent (-1)
  • Greens: 5 per cent (-1)
These numbers are simple stunning. This is even given that the Tories are losing in Ontario. Ontario, really, can push the Tories into majority territory. I think the myth of "do Ontarioans want a majority" is a non starter - it doesnt matter what people want. They don't vote for a particular scenerio as much as they do for a party. This means that Harper better spend some time in Ontario, while heading to Quebec to shore up some support.

Oh, and the debate winner stats were remarkable too: 1/3 of viewers thought Harper dominated the debates. It looks like there may yet have been a knockout punch that delivered a Tory win - one that may have been launched by and landed on the same man (PM for PM).

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