Almost one in five people surveyed by SES Research for the Toronto Star said they were unsure how their vote would go once they have seen the findings of Justice John Gomery's exhaustive inquiry into abuse of the federal advertising and sponsorship program by the federal Liberals.
The report will land in Prime Minister Paul Minister's lap tonight at 6, about the same time he's opening the doors at 24 Sussex Drive to greet Halloween ghosts and goblins.
Gomery's report, this new poll shows, will probably be the biggest spectre on the minds of Martin and his shaky minority government. The report becomes fully public tomorrow.
Nationally, 22 per cent of poll respondents said their votes would probably move to the Conservatives, New Democrats or Bloc Québécois because of the Gomery report.
But not all the vote-shifting was bad for the Liberals. SES reported 7 per cent saying they would change their vote to support the governing party.
In Ontario, 10 per cent said they'd switch to the Liberals, though 10 per cent also said they'd change their vote to the Tories and 9 per cent said they'd go to the NDP.
When broken down by region, 19 per cent of Quebecers predict their vote will move to the Bloc because of Gomery's findings, the poll found.
"The report and the reaction will be a critical juncture in determining the outcome of the next election," says Nik Nanos, president of SES.
Across Canada, 9 per cent of respondents said they would change their vote to support the Conservative candidate in their riding because of the way the advertising and sponsorship scandal was hired. Another 9 per cent said their vote would move to the NDP.
The poll was conducted by SES from Oct. 21 to 27 through telephone surveys with 1,059 Canadians across the country. Its national findings are considered accurate within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
By rough estimate, these post-Gomery poll numbers would work out to 34% Conservative, 32% Liberal, 20% NDP and 14% Bloc.
But once again, Ontario plays the joker in the pack:
Moreover Nanos is finding that a lot of movement is taking place in Ontario, where the NDP's numbers are declining at the expense of Liberals and Conservatives. Liberal support now stands at 49 per cent in Ontario, compared to 35 per cent for the Tories and just 12 per cent for the NDP.
The only interpretation I can place on this finding is that there are a significant number of left-leaning Ontario voters who are so afraid of the Conservatives forming government that they will still vote Liberal, in full knowledge of the party's corruption and venality.
If you wonder why Jack Layton will do anything to prop up the Liberals, that's why.
The prospect of a pile of new NDP seats in British Columbia is meaningless to Layton if he has to lose his own in the bargain.
Source: Toronto Star