I'll repost this article here, I think it's relevant...as far as polls go.
Poll finds support for unity on right
86% in Alliance, 63% in PCs want to end vote-splitting
Monday, June 30, 2003
Voters support the unite-the-right movement, according to a pair of COMPAS surveys, which found that if an election were held today, the split between the Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance would hand the federal Liberals another landslide.
"Strong majorities of both Tory and Alliance voters said that they would feel comfortable voting for candidates of the other party if their own party leader gave his blessing," according to the polls, one a survey of 400 delegates to the recent PC leadership convention, the other a survey of 1,000 Canadian voters, conducted June 18-22.
The polls, conducted for the National Post and Global Television, uncovered a marked difference in attitude between the two groups.
A slight majority (54%) of delegates to the PC leadership convention in May supported Peter MacKay's backroom deal with leadership rival David Orchard. The deal, which allowed Mr. MacKay to win the leadership, prevents the Tories from joining with the Canadian Alliance to run one candidate against the federal Liberals in any ridings in the next election.
In the national poll, 45% of PC voters and 53% of Alliance voters opposed the idea.
The national poll also found that 63% of PC voters and 86% of Alliance voters feel Mr. MacKay and Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper should come up with an arrangement to end vote-splitting between their parties so they can elect an alternative to the Liberals.
"Voters in general, PC voters from across the country and PC voters in the seat-rich province of Ontario believe that newly elected Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay should renege on his commitment to leadership hopeful David Orchard not to run a single slate of federal candidates in conjunction with the Alliance party," the polls found.
Mr. MacKay was elected on the fourth ballot at the leadership convention after Mr. Orchard, a Prairie farmer, threw his support to him in exchange for a promise from Mr. MacKay that he would not try to unite the PC and Alliance parties. Mr. Orchard, a long-time opponent of the North American Free Trade Agreement, also extracted a promise that the party would strike a panel to review the agreement.
Among supporters of Mr. Orchard at the convention, 87% supported his proposal to keep the two parties separate.
However, 25% of Orchard delegates said they would vote for parties other than the PC party if an election were held today, with 15% responding that they would vote for the NDP. PC delegates who liked Mr. Orchard at all also approve a great deal of NDP leader Jack Layton.
"There were two significant findings," said Conrad Winn, the principal investigator on the polls. "One was how much support there is in the general public, including among Tory voters, for a joint slate, and the other significant finding I thought was the systematic evidence that the Orchard faction is so unlike normal Conservatives. It's the volume of evidence that was striking."
Chuck Strahl, deputy house leader for the Canadian Alliance, said the results do not surprise him.
"It reflects what Stephen's been saying all along, which is that the conservative movement shouldn't give a veto to David Orchard. His supporters are not consistent with the voters at large, and certainly not consistent with conservative voters at large."
Mr. Strahl said voters want the two parties to co-operate to return a conservative government to power.
"We've been through two terms of official opposition, but for most of our folks, they say, 'Time to go to the other side of the house,' and the easiest way to do that is to work together with the Tories," said Mr. Strahl.
The national poll also found that if an election were held today, 45% of voters would vote for Mr. Chrétien and the Liberal party, 16% would vote for Mr. Harper's Canadian Alliance and the same percentage would vote for the PC party and Mr. MacKay. Fourteen per cent would vote for the NDP and Jack Layton. Nine percent would vote for Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Québécois.
The delegates were surveyed between June 27 and June 28, and the findings of that poll are considered accurate to within 4.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20. The poll of 1,000 Canadians is deemed accurate to within 3.2 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
© Copyright 2003 National Post
Harper is responding to political pressure both within and without the party to at least address this issue one more time in light of new leadership of the PCs.
I don't think MacKay has any intention whatsoever of veering off the party line laid down by Orchard, or the vote of their membership in Edmonton.
Harper has nothing to lose by this, and everything to gain.
I think far too much is being read into the tea leaves at this point.
The greatest motivation for radical change is a pervasive sense of ceaseless and grinding futility.