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Globe endorses Harper; EKOS sees Layton coalition

The Globe and Mail has endorsed Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party in next Monday's election. Meanwhile, a major Canadian pollster says the next government could well be a coalition led by Jack Layton and the New Democrats.

The Globe's endorsement said:

Only Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have shown the leadership, the bullheadedness (let's call it what it is) and the discipline this country needs. He has built the Conservatives into arguably the only truly national party, and during his five years in office has demonstrated strength of character, resolve and a desire to reform. Canadians take Mr. Harper's successful stewardship of the economy for granted, which is high praise. He has not been the scary character portrayed by the opposition; with some exceptions, his government has been moderate and pragmatic.

Readership response to the Globe editorial can be fairly described as overwhelmingly negative.

At the same time, one pollster sees little likelihood of another Harper minority, still less of a majority government.

EKOS, in an April 27 post on its website, said:

After a stunning shift in the political landscape the new patterns observed at the outset of the week are stabilizing although there is still some play in the electorate. The Conservatives remain at 34.0 and the NDP is at 28.1. The Liberals have not been able to reverse their fortunes and are now at 22.9 which may be a new nadir in our polling for the Liberals. The Bloc Quebecois appears to have stopped the bleeding in Quebec (and have even rebounded insignificantly), although the NDP is holding on to a large and now solid lead. The Green Party is holding steady at 6.5 (tied nationally with the Bloc Quebecois).

In another post, EKOS forecast 131 Conservative seats, with 92 for the NDP and 63 for the Liberals. It therefore ran a poll on what Canadians think the Governor General should do if faced with such an outcome, and reported:

First of all, there are large numbers of the public (38%) who either don't know or couldn't decide. Obviously, this reflects the difficulty and gravity of the choice. Of the 62% who do offer a choice, the choice is pretty clear. By a margin of more than two-to-one (43% to 19%), the public opt for asking the leader of the opposition to form a new government. There are important variations on these answers depending on region, demographics, and political preference.

It is, however, quite clear that if the present patterns were to continue, and the opposition were to decide to defeat the Conservative government's budget, we could be looking at the astonishing prospect of a fresh new government in Ottawa led by Jack Layton. If anyone had trotted this scenario out as a likely outcome at the outset of this campaign, they would have been dismissed as a lunatic. Yet this unimaginable outcome is arguably the most likely outcome of the current political landscape.

For another perspective on polling in the 2011 election, The Tyee suggests Political Perspectives, a blog run by the Carleton University of Journalism and Communication.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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