OTTAWA – A new poll suggests Canadians are massively opposed to a federal election this summer.
The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey says only 14 per cent of respondents want an election.
The poll says 78 per cent of those surveyed are opposed to an election, even as the minority Conservative government faces possible defeat this week.
Harris-Decima vice-president Jeff Walker says it’s nothing new for people to tell pollsters they’re against an election.
But compared with similar surveys over the years, he says, this reaction this is particularly strong.
The poll of 560 people was conducted from June 12 to 14, and is considered accurate to within 4.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
“People almost never want an election – but usually the numbers aren’t quite as pronounced as in this case,” Walker said in an interview Monday.
“Usually you’ll see in the neighbourhood of 25 to 30 per cent saying now might be a good time for an election. But 14 per cent is quite a low number.”
Support for an election was highest in Atlantic Canada (22 per cent) and Quebec (16 per cent) and lowest in Alberta (two per cent) and Manitoba and Saskatchewan (three per cent).
Liberal and NDP supporters – 20 per cent of them – were far more likely to want an election than Conservatives, only five per cent of whom expressed support.
Former prime minister Jean Chretien observed in a weekend speech that the timing of an election stops being an issue immediately after the campaign starts and Walker agreed the timing usually doesn’t matter in the final outcome.
But given the current economic turmoil, the fact that the last election was just eight months ago, and that people generally recoil from politics in the summer, it might this time.
“It almost never has an impact – but you never know,” Walker said.
Many Canadians, however, appear resigned to the idea of a potential election.
Forty-one per cent of respondents said an election is extremely, very, or somewhat likely, while a thin majority of 51 per cent said a summer election was not very or not at all likely.