Tories and Liberals even in CP Harris Decima poll.

Ignatieff is not likely to try and force an election now. He will act just as Dion did and prop up the Harper government unless he can be assured that an opposition party will help out Harper. The slim lead that Ignatieff had after people were angry at Harper for proroguing parliament has evaporated. However, the Olympics does not seem to have done much to boost Harper's ratings. No party seems to be gaining any real traction. We will now be treated to a lot of political posturing about the budget. Of course perhaps Harper will try something stupid again and provoke the opposition into forcing an election!


Political deadlock continues as Tories-Liberals both stalled: poll

By: John Ward, THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA, Ont. - The return of Parliament on Wednesday offers a series of confidence votes, but new polling data suggests that neither the Tories nor the Liberals would want to hazard a quick trip to the voting booths.

The two-week survey of political support conducted Feb. 18-28 by The Canadian Press Harris-Decima suggests the Tories and Liberals are dead even at 31 per cent.

The NDP had support from 16 per cent of respondents, the Greens had 12 and the Bloc Quebecois was at eight.

A brief spike in Liberal support, widely attributed to anger over Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to prorogue Parliament, seems to have evaporated.

The Conservatives haven't been able to cash in on their deft handling of the Haiti earthquake crisis or public euphoria over the Olympics.

"For all the hyperventilating about leads and declines, it appears that the so-called 'new normal' in Canadian politics is a statistical tie between the two main parties," said pollster Allan Gregg.

"Neither one has been able to capture the federalist vote in Quebec; the Conservatives continue to be locked out of the major metropolitan centres, while the same can be said for the Liberals in the Prairies and in most parts of rural Canada."

What about a spring election?

"There's absolutely no reason to have an election in this kind of 'new normal'," Gregg said. "None at all. Zero."

In his years of watching national politics, he said he's never seen a situation where the status quo equals deadlock.

He said only British Columbia remains a competitive region, with the Tories, Liberals and New Democrats essentially deadlocked there.

"Since 2005 there has been really very, very, little change," Gregg said.

Tories and Liberals both have pockets of solid support and solid resistance.

Ignatieff seems unable to find traction as a prime minister in waiting.

Harper seems to have gained little from the Olympic excitement. The tail end of the polling was done through the final days of the Games, when Canada was racking up its record haul of gold medals.

"I think what it is, is that the doubts about both the alternatives outweigh any kind of momentary enthusiasm that voters may have for either of their performances or personalities," said Gregg.

The stalemate will be in the political calculations as Parliament considers the throne speech, which comes Wednesday, and the budget a day later.

Gregg says he sees little chance of a major change soon. Ignatieff hasn't found a way to grab the public. And Harper has been around long enough that people's opinions of him have solidified for good or bad.

"How likely is it that there's going to be some kind of wholesale reassessment of the option he presents?"

The poll contacted 2,035 people as part of an omnibus telephone survey and is considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times in 20.

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