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Niqab to decide Canadian election? Ironically, Harper may lose to Trudeau because of this issue (updated figures)

Symbol of the 2015 Canadian federal election!  

Symbol of the 2015 Canadian federal election!




* Harper hammered away at the niqab issue to bring down NDP in Quebec – and succeeded.

* But that made Canadians who supported NDP as well as others who don’t want Harper to win again switch their support to Liberals, because NDP can’t form a government without support in Quebec. That is called strategic voting.

* To make sure that Liberals win, even solid NDP supporters are likely to ditch their party and help Liberal candidates, even those they may not like.

* The next few days will show if the movement towards the Liberals’ Justin Trudeau keeps steadily progressing. If that happens, Harper is doomed – Mulcair doesn’t have any chance to win anyway, unless a miracle takes place.



[Friday Update: 

The latest Nanos nightly election tracking (three-day tracking ending October 8) shows that the Liberals continue to trend marginally higher than the Conservatives: 34% for the Liberals, 31% for the Conservatives, 25% for the NDP, and 4.2% for the Greens nationally.

 Accessible Vote: Asked a series of independent questions as to whether they would consider or not consider voting for that party, the Liberals continue to have the highest level of accessible vote at 49.1% followed by the NDP at 42.6%, the Conservatives at 39.2%, the Greens at 24.4%, and the BQ at 31.2% (Quebec only).]


AS Prime Minister Stephen Harper relentlessly pursues his attack on the niqab, it appears his strategy is backfiring.

The latest Forum Poll conducted October 5-6 shows that 35% will vote for the Liberals, 31% for the Conservatives and 26% for the NDP.

These findings represent an eight-point jump for the Liberals since last week (September 29: Liberals – 27%) and a three-point drop for the Conservatives (from 34%). The NDP vote may have shrunk slightly (from 28% on September 29).

If these results are projected up to the newly expanded House of Commons, the Conservatives, despite trailing in the popular vote, will take 122 seats, to an almost identical 120 seats for the Liberals. The NDP would have the balance of power with 94 seats and the Greens and Bloc would each take a single seat, according to the Forum Poll analysis.

The Federal Court of Appeal on Monday dismissed the Conservative government’s motion to stay the decision that rejected the federal government’s appeal of a lower court ruling that had struck down a ban on wearing niqabs at citizenship ceremonies.

(Zunera Ishaq, the 29-year-old Ontario woman who won her legal battle in Federal Court to wear a niqab while taking the citizenship oath, was sworn in as a Canadian citizen on Friday at a government building in Mississauga. Ishaq, who came to Canada from Pakistan in 2008, had no problem to show her face to an official before writing and passing her citizenship test two years ago, but she objected to removing the niqab in public at the oath-taking ceremony.)

However, Harper told the CBC on Wednesday that he would look at banning public servants wearing the niqab. Even though that is bound to be challenged in court, Harper is quite obviously just trying to whip up emotions to win votes. Already his divisive strategy has led to attacks on innocent Muslim women and that has angered many Canadians.

Ironically, the attack on the niqab was especially aimed at Quebeckers, who have been paranoid about religious symbols, because the NDP’s support in that province was solidly ahead of all the other parties.

Yes, indeed, Harper succeeded in bringing down the NDP’s support in Quebec. However, across the rest of the country, Canadians, who seem tired of the Harper government as poll after poll has shown, have apparently decided to move their support from the NDP to the Liberals to defeat Harper.

That is because, as all the polls have indicated, the support base of the NDP and the Liberal Party is soft as compared to that of the Conservative Party.

The Forum Poll conducted October 5-6 noted that only 58 per cent of Liberals and 68 per cent of New Democrats say they are strong supporters of their party as compared to 78 per cent of Conservatives.

But if the strong NDP supporters feel that supporting Liberals will defeat Harper, they are very likely to end up switching votes at the last minute.

The Forum Poll noted: “In total, just more than a quarter of voters say they are voting for “the party that can defeat the government” (28%), rather than voting for “the party they believe in” (64%), but this increases to 4-in-10 among Liberals (39%) and New Democrats (41%).”

It also pointed out: “Three-in-ten voters have not yet made their choice final (29%) and these are much more likely to be Liberals (33%) and New Democrats (34%) than Conservatives (14%). This confirms the remaining core of Conservative voters is a very committed group, while Liberal and New Democratic voters are open to voting strategically.”

The Forum Poll also noted: “One fifth of those who voted Conservative in 2011 will vote Liberal this time (18%), while one quarter of 2011 New Democrats will also vote Liberal (25%). One-in-six past Liberals will vote NDP (15%). This represents a shift from previous polls, where past Liberals voting NDP exceeded those voting the other way. Very few past Liberals or New Democrats will vote for the Conservatives this time.”

Other interesting Forum Poll results:

* Both the Liberals and the Conservatives are expected to win the election (35% each) while the NDP is no longer a contender (15%). While this tends to be a trailing measure, it may be an indication of potential growth in the Liberal vote.

* Justin Trudeau (28%) and Stephen Harper (27%) are in a tie for best Prime Minister, but it is interesting that Tom Mulcair, who used to lead this measure, now scores in third place (22%). This stands in contrast to last week, when Stephen Harper was seen as best Prime Minister (29%).

* Stephen Harper has the approval of 3-in-10 voters (30%), equal to his vote share, and down slightly from last week (33%). His net favourable score (approve minus disapprove) is also down, from -28 to -33. Tom Mulcair’s approval is steady since last week (49%), and his net hasn’t changed either (+15). Justin Trudeau has seen his approval improve (from 46% to 49%), as has his net favourability (+7 to +14%).


Regional figures:

* B.C.: Liberals – 33%, NDP – 31%, Conservatives – 30%,

* Alberta: Conservatives – 52%, Liberals – 26%, NDP – 19%.

* Prairies: Liberals – 40%, Conservatives – 35%, NDP – 24%.

* Ontario: Liberals – 38%, Conservatives – 33%, NDP – 23%.

* Quebec: NDP – 34%, Liberals – 24%, Conservatives – 23%, Bloc Quebecois – 16%.

* Atlantic: Liberals – 62%, Conservatives – 19%, NDP – 17%





* According to the latest EKOS poll conducted October 5-7, the Liberals, who have been on a sustained rise for nearly a week, now hold a statistically insignificant lead. At 34.1 points, the party is enjoying its highest support levels since February. The Conservatives are close behind at 32.5 points, while the NDP is at 21.1 points. The most notable regional shifts are Ontario and Quebec. The Liberals have moved into a clear lead in Ontario where the NDP seem to be fading. In Quebec, the Liberals are clearly on the rise. EKOS also noted: “In a race as tight as this one, the variability of outcomes is very wide and the exact outcome will ultimately be determined who is actually going to show up on October 19. The Conservatives have a huge advantage with seniors, a group that consistently and reliably votes in large numbers. The Liberal Party, meanwhile, enjoys a similar advantage with university graduates. The NDP and Green Party, however, both find their support focused among youth and their biggest challenge come Election Day will be ensuring that their supporters actually show up and vote.”


* According to Abacus Data Inc. Survey conducted October 5-6, the Conservatives have 33% support across the country, the Liberals 32%, and the NDP 24%.  For both the Conservatives and Liberals these are the best levels of support since the election started; for the NDP, it is the lowest number.




This article, Niqab to decide Canadian election? Ironically, Harper may lose to Trudeau because of this issue (updated figures), first appeared on Indo-Canadian Voice.