Michael Ignatieff dragged down by provincial Liberal parties' fortunes

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff just can't buy a break.

This past week, a QMI Agency poll reported that Canadians think he has a worse personality than Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Slightly more (41 percent to 40 percent) felt Ignatieff was more condescending.

Only 12 percent thought Ignatieff was in tune with Canadians, compared to 28 percent for Harper.

Nearly a third felt that Harper is "responsible", whereas only 18 percent of respondents used this term to describe the Liberal leader.

Harper was gauged to be slightly more hypocritical and opportunistic, but Ignatieff lagged far behind in determination, bravery, and confidence.

More respondents (45 percent to 41 percent) concluded that Harper is smarter than the Opposition leader.

This isn't Ignatieff's only problem.

He's also cursed by the Liberal brand, which is in a sorry state in two of Canada's three largest provinces.

A Leger Marketing poll in May suggested that the Quebec Liberals, who are reeling with scandals under Jean Charest, would be thrown out of office if an election were held.

In B.C., the Liberals under Gordon Campbell have been pummelled in the opinion polls after introducing a harmonized sales tax with no public consultation.

Things aren't quite as bad for the Liberals in Ontario, where the provincial governing party held a five-point lead over the Conservatives in June, according to an Ipsos poll. This was reported less than two weeks before the introduction of the HST in that province.

Back in 1993 when Jean Chretien was running for prime minister, the NDP was in power in both B.C. and Ontario.

Support for the federal NDP seriously suffered as a result, helping the Liberals take more federal seats and form a majority government.

By the 1997 and 2000 elections, there were no Liberal governments in any of the three largest provinces.

The federal Conservatives were hamstrung in Ontario, thanks to the harsh and sometimes brutal actions of the Mike Harris provincial government.

The NDP's growing unpopularity in B.C. in the late 1990s tarnished its federal counterparts. And the Parti Quebecois was governing Quebec.

Chretien didn't have to wear any of the sins of the three largest provincial governments on the federal campaign trail, and breezed to two more majority governments.

Ignatieff, on the other hand, leads the federal Liberals when provincial Liberal governments are showing signs of age in Quebec, Ontario, and B.C.

Charest and Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty have each ruled since 2003. Campbell was elected in 2001.

Voters are suffering from Gordo fatigue in this province, and the same phenomenon is likely to occur with the Liberal premiers in the two largest provinces.

It would be naive to think that this is not a factor behind the federal Liberals' poor polling results.

Earlier this month, Ipsos had the Liberals running six points behind the Conservatives. Ekos had even worse numbers, putting the Liberals 10.5 points behind as of July 6.

Even though the provincial parties are separate entities from the federal Liberal party, voters don't always make that distinction.

That spells bad news for Ignatieff if a federal election is held before any of these provincial Liberal governments are defeated.

Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.



Ray I

Jul 31, 2010 at 5:42pm

Ah ha ha ha! Iggy is also actually less charismatic than Harper. And that is says a mouthful! Bring back Dion. Could he be any worse. Hey Iggy, go back to your adopted home country the U-S-A and hang out with similar boring academic types. Canada likes a little personality along with the rhetoric in our leaders.

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John Barnes

Jul 31, 2010 at 6:14pm

The media has told Canadians what to think about Ignatieff so why is there this big surprise that Canadians think what they have been told. When was the last time you read a positive article about Ignatieff? Harper, no matter what nonsense he gets up to, never has a bad word written about him in the MSM. And no wonder, because the MSM are all owned by Reform/Alliance/Conservative supporters, except of course the Toronto Star. Ignatieff will never get a positive word west of the Ontario/Manitoba border no matter what he does and no matter how bad Harper gets. He should ignore you dopes.

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Jul 31, 2010 at 7:34pm

At the start of his summer bus tour, Iggy explained that one of his important objectives was to "reconnect" the Liberal party with Canadians, because there was an apparent disconnect .. and not of his making. Now we see that Iggy himself has not connected with Canadians. He's disconnected from Canadians .. so how can a Liberal leader who is disconnected "reconnect" the Liberal party with Canadians ..???!!!!

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Island Man

Jul 31, 2010 at 8:36pm

This was Harper's master plan...reduce the GST 2% and be a hero, bribe the provinces to harmonize with the HST and sit back and watch as the provincial Liberals and Iggy take the heat. Harper reaps a windfall in additional GST revenue through the HST as he gets more revenue on items that were previously excluded from the GST.
Harper has pretty much eliminated Liberals in BC and Ont and he used CDN taxpayers money to make it happen.

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Jul 31, 2010 at 9:12pm

It’s really time that the Conservative party search with-in and put forth a true Conservative leader, I mean a real Conservative.
The party has gone as far as it can go with Harper, he appeals only to Christian fundamentalists and fringe groups who combined lack the numbers to give him a majority Government.
This Con. Party is at a junction, to stay statuesque relegates the party to Conservative/Reform/Alliance coalition status and well never achieve true Conservatism unless a leader with true Conservative values is found.
Failure to move forward on the normal evolution of the party well eventually relegate the C/R/A coalition to fringe statues like the Greens and be labelled for what it is, a right-wing Christian Fundamentalist party.

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vote ndp

Jul 31, 2010 at 9:56pm

the difference between the federal liberals and the federal cons is negligible.


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Chris Ryan

Aug 1, 2010 at 12:00am

Iggy doesn't need any help dragging himself down. He does it very well all by himself.

Of course the Federal Fiberals can't quite grasp that the taxpayers are sick of them after darn near 40 years in power, destroying our country.

But then, the BC Liberals have shown how liberal they are with our money and how totally out of touch they are with reality and the taxpayers of the province. Their arrogance will cost them dearly!

Unfortunately, here in BC we are stuck with the iNDeePies as an alternative. After their last stint in power, the province was really on the ropes.

The real problem? The "party system". No dog can serve two masters. Either an MP or MLA must toe the party line and usually that means ignoring their constituents.

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Aug 1, 2010 at 12:45am

@ VoteNDP

lol good call. The answer to any failed democracy is a socialist state, otherwise you end up with politicians telling you that you won't go to jail for not completing the census and such.

Put Carole James and Jack Layton into a Lada and send them off to Siberia.

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Aug 1, 2010 at 9:24am

You need a magnifying glass to tell the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP + Greens apart. Other than their archaic small minded Quebecois nationalism, the PQ is also no different from the rest. Yet it is true that hell has a special berth awaiting the demise of Iggy, like Harper a throw back to the Bushies, like a Harper an unthinking pawn of Israel, but unlike Harper a man with few beliefs, other than a bland political managerialism, whereby the anointed, i.e. "big brained" academics and powerful corporate figures control government. We plebs should just butt out! (Harper on the other hand is an all out fundamentalist Christian, Zionist, probably awaiting Armageddon once the middle east is aflame, and don't forget, an ardent foe of taxing the wealthy, just the workers).

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Aug 1, 2010 at 10:32am

Is QMI an at-arms-length agency of the Conservative Party? It certainly seems that way.

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