Seniors rejecting Harper and Tories for Liberals: CARP poll

Sarah Park —

The vast majority of CARP members disapprove of the provisions of the Fair Elections Act when they are described to them (80%), and fully two thirds disapprove “strongly” (63%). Furthermore, a similarly overwhelming number of members say the Act will diminish democracy (79%), and fully two thirds say it will diminish democracy “a great deal” (62%). They want the Bill withdrawn (55%) or amended significantly (22%).

CARP (formerly the Canadian Association of Retired Persons) will be a witness at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs studying Bill C-23 on Monday April 7th at 7 pm in Ottawa – Room 237-C, Centre Block.

CARP members see Harper-Pinnoccioreduced voter participation as a bigger problem than voter fraud. When asked if the measures in the Bill will mostly reduce voter fraud or mostly reduce voter turnout, four times as many say turnout will suffer (63%) as say fraud will be prevented (15%), and fully three quarters say the provision banning vouching as a form of voter ID will create barriers to voting (75%).

Fair Elections Act a ballot issue for CARP members – support for government plummets.The effect of the Bill on CARP support for the government has been dramatic. Electoral preference among decided voters for the Conservatives, relatively steady at 33% two weeks ago, has tumbled to 26% now, putting them close to third place NDP with 17%. In contrast, support for the Liberals has soared from a relatively slim lead at 36% two weeks ago to more than half today (52%), a record high for the Liberals since we began polling CARP members, and a record low for the Conservatives. This is a demonstration of the importance CARP members attach to their franchise.

CARP members reject all major provisions of Bill C-23

  • 80% disapprove of prohibiting Chief Electoral Officer from promoting voter turnout and reject the notion that this can lead to bias
  • 72% do not think that vouching is a source of voter fraud and 75% think that banning vouching will suppress voter participation
  • 83% think the Bill does not do enough to deal with robocalls
  • 87% disapprove of allowing political parties to nominate polling officials and the party with the most votes to nominate the central poll supervisor
  • 80% say that the Bill as a whole will diminish democracy
  • 73% disapprove of raising campaign contribution limits

“CARP members are deeply committed to our democratic institutions especially something as central as the electoral process and this Bill has made them furious, to the point that their traditional support for the government has plummeted. Older voters are considered an important part of the Conservative base so the government should take note of what they say.

CARP members are among the most avid voters and clearly see this Bill as one more attack on their franchise. They reject every one of the major provisions in the Bill and call for it to be withdrawn.” said Susan Eng, VP Advocacy for CARP.

Detailed Findings

The government has introduced a Bill revising the Elections Act in several ways, including:

  • A) a person will no longer be permitted to vouch for the identity of another,
  • B) the Voter Information Cards can no longer be used as proof of residence;
  • C) The Chief Electoral Officer will no longer be able to promote voting turnout among youth and other under-represented groups,
  • D) Nor will he be able to investigate or prosecute violations of the Elections Act,
  • E) Campaign donation limits will be raised and
  • F) Election officials will be nominated by political parties.

Do you approve or disapprove of these proposals?

APPROVE
17%
Approve strongly
6%
Approve
11%
DISAPPROVE
80%
Disapprove
17%
Disapprove strongly
63%
DON’T KNOW
3%

The government has claimed that the main purpose of the new Bill is to prevent voter fraud. Critics claim it will reduce voter participation. Will this Bill mostly reduce voter fraud, mostly reduce voter participation, do neither or do both?

Mostly reduce voter fraud
15%
Have no effect one way or another
8%
Mostly reduce voter participation
62%
Will do both
11%
MARGIN IN FAVOUR OF “REDUCE FRAUD”
– 47
OTHER/DON’T KNOW
4%

Will the banning of vouching as a means of voter identification impose barriers to voter participation?

Yes
75%
No
18%
DON’T KNOW
7%

Taken all together, will the provisions of this Fair Elections Act improve democracy or diminish it?

IMPROVE IT
17%
A great deal
4%
Somewhat
13%
DIMINISH IT
79%
Somewhat
17%
A great deal
62%
DON’T KNOW
4%

Electoral Preference

The Liberals have increased their share among decided voters dramatically from 36% to 52%, a new high in our 6 years of polling, while the Conservatives have tumbled from 33% to 26%, a new low for them. The NDP is in third place with 17% of the vote

More than 2700 CARP Poll™ panel members responded to this poll between April 5 and 6, 2014. The margin of error for a probability sample this size is about plus or minus 2%, 19 times out of 20

CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating for a New Vision of Aging for Canada, social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP seeks to ensure that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and provides value-added benefits, products and services to our members. Through our network of chapters across Canada, CARP is dedicated to building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP’s mission.

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