Canadians want Green Party leader in debates, poll shows

Canadians want Green Party leader in debates, poll shows

Postby Oscar » Mon Mar 10, 2008 8:19 am

Media Release For Immediate Release

January 22, 2007

Canadians want Green Party leader in debates, poll shows

OTTAWA – More than three-quarters of Canadians (77.2%) want to see Green Party leader Elizabeth May in the televised leaders’ debates during the next federal election campaign, according to a new poll released today.

The survey asked 1,500 Canadians how they would vote if it was their decision whether to include the Green Party leader. The results: 27.3% were strongly in favour, 49.9% in favour, 13.2% neither in favour nor against, 6.4% against and 3.2% strongly against.

“With nearly 80% of respondents favouring Elizabeth May's participation in the debates—of which nearly 30% strongly so—Canadians’ strong sentiment on the issue represents a new dimension to the debate over who gets to debate,” said Dan Baril, president of Core Strategies, which conducted the survey for the Green Party.

Apart from Green Party supporters at 97%, the strongest backing for Elizabeth May’s inclusion came from Bloc Quebecois supporters (84% in favour), followed by NDP (81%), Liberal (77%) and Conservative (66%).
“The survey findings are clear,” says Elizabeth May, “Canadians see the debates as an extension of democracy. We are a national party recognized for substance on the climate crisis. Now Canadians also want to know what the Green Party offers on a wide range of issues.”

The poll also asked Canadians if traditional parties clinging to the “no seat equals no podium” argument do so because of their belief in rules or their reluctance to face Ms. May in a debate. Nearly two thirds (62%) of Canadians believe Stephen Harper and Jack Layton are worried about facing Elizabeth May in the debates, while 38% said Mr. Harper and Mr. Layton truly believe in following the rules.

Baril, who served as a strategist and pollster for the Green Party during the recent London by-election, admits, “A lot still has to happen for a fourth and truly national party to break out and achieve London-like success.” But in answer to the criticism Greens may be placing too much emphasis on the importance of getting Elizabeth May into the debates, Baril offered, “No more emphasis than the Conservative and NDP leaders are placing on May not being in the debates, at a time when their own voters want her there. This must indicate something about the importance of being in the debates.”

Other findings:

- Asked if the Green Party is a single-issue party like the Bloc Quebecois, or a party with more to offer than environmental policies, 84.1% say they are interested in hearing what Elizabeth May would have to say on other issues in a debate among party leaders.

- More than half (51.3%) believe that the inclusion of Ms. May would improve the debates while fewer than one in 20 (4.3%) think that it would make them worse.

- Health (25%) and the environment (24%) finished in a virtual dead heat for the most important single issue facing Canadians. But when it came to the issue Canadians believe will dominate the next election campaign, the environment (39%) was a clear winner with health (17%) a distant second.

The survey was conducted among 1,500 adult Canadians between January 8 and 14. Results are correct within a margin of error of 2.6%.

More on the results available online at



Camille Labchuk, Press Secretary
Green Party of Canada

Dan Baril, President
Core Strategies
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