The government laid out its agenda for the next session of Parliament in a speech from the throne on Wednesday.

It included a promise to introduce legislation to force future governments to have balanced budgets during "normal economic times," various consumer-focused policies, including the promise to introduce legislation to allow Canadians to take beer and other alcohol across provincial borders and an end to companies being able to charge a fee for paper billing.

The title of the throne speech, "Seizing Canada's Moment: Prosperity and Opportunity in an Uncertain World," underscores it as the unofficial start of the two-year run up to the next election campaign, when all parties will be clamouring for Canadians' attention and support.

Nanos Research has new numbers on where each party is starting from. 

Every Wednesday, Nanos Research releases its "Party Power Index," a combination of measurements on federal party brands based on four questions about the party and its leader, including:

  • Canadians' first and second choice of parties.
  • A question on whether Canadians would consider voting for a particular party.
  • First and second choice for Prime Minister of the current leaders.
  • And leadership scores for each of the party leaders. 

The score is on a scale between zero to 100 for each party. This week the index score is based on pre-throne speech responses.

The index shows Liberals in the lead at 59 and the Conservatives are second at 53 The NDP is third isn't far behind at 47, with the Greens scoring 33 and the Bloc last at 26.

Party Power Index

Source: Nanos Party Power Index. Based on random telephone (land & cell lines) interviews with 1,000 Canadians, using a four week rolling average of 250 respondents each week. Sample of respondents may be weighted using latest census information. Data based on 4 week rolling average ending Oct. 11. Accurate +/-3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20. (CBC)

The Liberals have the upper hand right now, Nanos said Wednesday on CBC News Network's Power & Politics, but the Conservatives have been trending up among Canadians under 30 years of age on this index, and the chatter about the consumer-focused policies before the throne speech could be the reason.

The focus on consumer issues was also a good strategy to get the attention off the Senate scandal, Nanos said. But "it isn't likely to drive voter behaviour."

Trade deal impact

What might influence voters in the next election is the imminent trade deal with the European Union. Prime Minister Harper will travel to Brussels on Thursday with the intention of closing the deal. Nanos said that if the Conservatives can say they were behind the EU-Canada trade deal and other major agreements, like getting approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, it's evidence they can be counted on to keep Canada's economy strong.

The government was also accused of borrowing policies from the NDP in its throne speech. Including cracking down on roaming costs and ending so-called "pay to pay" policies so Canadian won't pay extra to receive paper bills.

Nanos said adopting and adapting NDP policies is good politics for the Conservatives because they "need Thomas Mulcair and the New Democrats to do well. They cannot have them collapse" in the next election.

The vote split between the Liberals and the NDP is key to the Conservatives being able to "snatch and grab another majority government," Nanos said.

The Party Power Index is based on random telephone (cell and land-line) interviews with 1,000 Canadians using a four-week rolling average of 250 respondents each week. The sample of respondents may be weighted using latest census information. This data is based on a four-week rolling average ending Oct. 11 and is accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Nik Nanos digs beneath the numbers with CBC News Network's Power & Politics to get to the political, economic and social forces that shape our lives. Recognized as one of Canada's top research experts, Nanos provides numbers-driven counsel to senior executives and major organizations. He leads the analyst team at Nanos, is a Fellow of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association and a Research Associate Professor with SUNY (Buffalo).