A good number of Canadians aren't buying Eve Adams's reasons for leaving the Conservatives and crossing the floor of the House of Commons to join the Liberal Party.

According to an Abacus Data poll released Monday, 36 per cent of respondents who were aware of her floor-crossing say they believed she jumped ship because the Tories didn't want her.

Only 17 per cent were convinced the change of political heart was because she felt uncomfortable with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's leadership style, while 31 per cent believed both explanations equally.

Adams switched parties in a surprise move two weeks ago after being denied the right to run as a Conservative because she broke the party's rules.

"I can no longer support mean-spirited leadership that divides people instead of bringing them together," Adams said at a news conference with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on Feb. 9.

Just over half — 56 per cent — of the 1,460 people surveyed by Abacus had heard about her decision.

The poll also found that while those respondents didn't find her reasons for switching credible, they weren't too bothered by the move.

One-third of respondents agreed that her decision was acceptable, given her circumstances. That said, 28 per cent felt she made a bad call and only 16 per cent thought it was the right thing to do.

Four out of 10 people questioned said the Liberal Party should have rejected Adams. Thirty-six per cent agreed with the decision to let her into the party. The rest just didn't know.

In an analysis accompanying the survey results, Abacus Chairman Bruce Anderson said the numbers suggest the controversy surrounding Adam's defection won't have a major effect on public opinion.

"While many political commentators had strong views, almost half of the public did not notice the story, and among those who did, opinions seem rather mixed," Anderson wrote. "While there isn’t much evidence of enthusiasm for the outcome among Liberals, neither is there a great deal of outrage."

The poll asked about voter intentions, as well. It found the Conservatives and Liberals in a dead heat Canada-wide with 35 per cent and 34 per cent support respectively. The NDP was in a distant third with 21 per cent, followed by the Greens with four per cent. 

Abacus's survey questioned 1,460 Canadians age 18 and over between Feb. 12 to 16. The online survey drew on panellists recruited from a variety of online sources, and no margin of error can be stated.

Clarifications

  • This story has been updated to clarify the survey's results with respect to the question about Eve Adam's reasons for crossing the floor.
    Feb 23, 2015 4:47 PM ET