Identifying Cracks in Conservative Support: What our research shows

Over the past decade the Harper Conservatives have had much success in framing the political narrative in Canada, owing in no small part to well-heeled conservative Super PACs like Working Canadians and Conservative Voice.

Whether it’s stagnating wages, cuts to health care funding or programs to support veterans, average Canadians increasingly feel that the Harper Conservatives do not share their values or prioritize what is most important to them.

Engage Canada was born out of a need to respond to these conservative groups and make a change in Ottawa. The middle class does not see its values reflected in the policies of the Harper Conservatives.

It’s time we had our voices heard in Ottawa.

Engage Canada set out to understand how the right has been so successful in persuading middle class Canadians to vote against their own interest.

We determined roughly 100 ridings where support for progressive candidates waned in recent years in favour of Conservatives.

Conducting two sets of surveys, one January 30 to February 9 and another May 23 to May 30, our findings show Canadians aren’t nearly as optimistic about their economic realities as the Harper Conservatives would have us believe.

Here’s some of what we found.

*Despite Conservative claims the Canadian economy is booming and Canadians are feeling financially comfortable, 66% of respondents believe the middle class is struggling.

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*Nearly one third, or 32% of respondents reported their personal economic situation has worsened over the past four years.

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*More Canadians surveyed strongly disapproved of the job the Harper Conservatives have done (22%) than those who strongly approve of the Harper Conservatives (16%).

*Economy and jobs remains top of mind for Canadians (33%), followed by health care (21%).

On behalf of Engage Canada, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted a telephone survey from January 30 - February 9, 2015. 1,500 likely voters in 92 targeted ridings were surveyed plus an additional 200 oversample in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. The margin of error is 2.53 percent.

A second survey in 106 ridings among 1,551 likely voters was conducted online from May 23 to May 30, 2015. The margin of error on an equivalent probability sample of the same size is ± 2.49 percent.

Between February and May of this year, Harper’s disapproval rating climbed 12 points. We also noted an increase in several Conservative-held ridings of voters who reported there is “no chance at all” they would consider voting Conservative in the next election.

“My husband and I both work yet we can’t seem to save a penny,” one respondent told us.

“The government is there to help the entire nation, not just help the rich get richer,” another said.

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The Harper Conservatives: they won’t be there for you.