Ignatieff: 'Polls don't matter'

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is downplaying recent poll results that see his party well behind the governing Conservatives.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is downplaying poll results that put his party well behind the Tories. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press) ((Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press))

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is downplaying recent poll results that see his party well behind the governing Conservatives.

"Polls don't matter," Ignatieff told reporters in St. John's Monday. "What matters is what we're doing in this room, talking to seniors about issues that concern them."

Last week, a poll by EKOS research  released to the CBC put the Conservatives 12.5 percentage points ahead of the Liberals. The Tories tried to downplay the suggested lead by saying the numbers were inconsistent with their internal polling data.

In total, a random sample of 1,652 Canadians aged 18 and over responded to that survey between Feb. 4-9. The margin of error associated with the total sample is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Three other pollsters later released survey results also suggesting the Conservatives have a double-digit lead over the Liberals.

Those results came in the wake of a new series of Conservative ads targeting Ignatieff.

"They never attack our policies," Ignatieff said. "All they can do is go negative."

The polls suggest that much of the boost to Tory support comes from Western Canada, where the party already holds a majority of the seats.

The government is expected to table a federal budget in March. Speculation has swirled as to whether the opposition parties will defeat the budget, triggering a spring election.

Speaking in Vancouver on Monday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters the government is open to opposition suggestions for the budget, but won't "engage in horse trading or negotiations."

He also downplayed the poll results, refusing to comment specifically on them.

"Polls go up, polls go down," he said.

Harper met with NDP Leader Jack Layton Friday to discuss the NDP's priorities for the budget.

At that time, a Liberal spokesperson said Ignatieff hadn't met with Harper and there were no plans for a meeting to take place.