Hey, remember that Nanos poll from a few weeks back on the strengths and weaknesses of the Conservative Party? Well, he has a new one out today that asks the same questions about the Liberal Party, and here’s what he found:
Of note, both the Conservatives and the Liberals received an overall negative brand score with more Canadians likely to cite a weakness than a strength. However the negative definition of the Conservatives is significantly stronger than that of the Liberals (Conservative defined weaknesses 65%, Liberal defined weaknesses 49%). With the change in leadership for the Liberals, there are still a significant number of Canadians who have yet to cast judgment on the Liberals with one of every two Canadians being unable to articulate a Liberal strength or weakness. This points to the fact that the Liberals still require a significant effort to define themselves and explains the Conservative attempts to fill the Liberal perception void.
The research also suggests that Canadians are more likely to cite the respective leaders as a party weakness than any other factor. Beyond the leader, the Conservative brand has a greater tendency to be driven by performance factors such as managing the economy, being consistent and well organized. The Liberal brand, beyond Ignatieff, tends to be driven by experience and the perception that it is more balanced on issues and is more centrist in its approach.
The full results for the Liberals are available here. I’m not sure if I’ve got all that much to add to the Nanonalysis above, really, except that it’s probably worth noting that Michael Ignatieff appears to be seen as a weakness by a slightly higher percentage of respondents than Stephen Harper — 11.8 to 11.6 — although he also comes out ahead amongst those who see him and “new leadership” for the Liberal Party as one of its strength, with 7.9, compared to 5.0 for Harper.
You could argue, I suppose, that the feeling that the Liberals are “disconnected from/don’t do enough for Canadians” — fourth on the “weakness” list at 4.3% — could very well be influenced by the perception of the leader — or, more specifically, of the perception of the leader that the Conservatives have been pushing with the Just Visiting/All About Him meme, but if that was a significant issue, you’d expect at least one or two respondents to mention it directly — that, or the fact that he didn’t actually have to win the leadership at the ballot box, which is also another Conservative meme that doesn’t seem to have made much of an impression on Canadians.
It would also appear that, no matter how much it might drive certain macleans.ca bloggers round the twist, the Liberals may be taking exactly the right approach by trumpeting their recent fundraising success to the world; “lack of organization” and “inability to attract support” both show up in the top half of the list of weaknesses, and “they have a lot of money” was listed as a strength by the 5% of respondents. Interestingly, the Liberals also get credit — well, .6% credit — for having a “good team”, which doesn’t show up at all on the Conservative side of the public opinion ledger. Also, 4% of respondents consider the fact that the Liberals are “not Harper or Conservatives” to be a strength, while 1% think their major weakness is that they’re “no different from the Conservatives”. By comparison, only 1% – which works out to one person, if I read the fine print right – thought that the Conservatives “are not the Liberals” was a positive characteristic, and four people think they’re not Conservative enough.