Bring on an election: exclusive poll

Canadians say no to Dion's coalition and yes to a federal election.

Canadians would rather have a new federal election than see a coalition government headed by Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion take power, according to a poll released today by COMPAS Inc.

Parliament is currently prorogued until late January when the Conservative government will deliver a budget. Meanwhile, a proposed coalition government comprising the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc Québécois has not given up its goal of bringing down the Conservatives.

But nearly 70% of the 505 Canadians surveyed by COMPAS said they prefer to go to the polls again, with the strongest support for a new election coming from Western Canadians. The results suggest that Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper would win 51% of the votes were Canadians to cast ballots today, winning majorities in both the West and in Ontario. The Conservatives would also beat the Liberals by a wide margin in Quebec, although the Bloc Québécois would maintain its dominance in the province.

The survey suggested most Canadians believe the Opposition parties were either entirely or mainly motivated by a desire for power when signing an agreement last week to defeat Harper’s government. Only 28% of the respondents said the Opposition parties acted because they honestly believe Harper is doing a poor job of managing the economy.

COMPAS notes the public’s desire for a new election is in part driven by concern over the prominent role of the Bloc Québécois in the proposed coalition government. Nearly 70% of the respondents believe the separatist party should have no role in deciding the composition of the federal government.

The respondents also disapprove of the Liberal party’s actions. Slightly more than 60% of those surveyed said the Liberals are wrong to try to gain power after their dismal performance in October’s federal election, and 56% believe the Opposition parties are trying “cheat the voters.”

While the Opposition parties have railed against what they perceive to be a weak economic plan from the Conservatives, 54% of Canadians surveyed disagree that the government’s spending plans are “too little, too late.”

In fact, the respondents believe Harper is the best politician to deal with the economic situation. Nearly 50% said they have the most confidence in Harper, compared with only 8% for Dion. Liberal leadership candidate Bob Rae, who is playing a greater role in selling the coalition government to Canadians according to media reports, earned just 4% support from respondents.