An exclusive poll of Liberal Party members conducted by the Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail/CTV News shows that:
Mr. Ignatieff is the first choice of 19 per cent of Liberals surveyed, with Mr. Rae running a tight second at 17 per cent and Mr. Dion just behind with 13 per cent. Gerard Kennedy and Ken Dryden — with 9 per cent each — are tied for fourth. Scott Brison garnered 3 per cent of the vote and Joe Volpe 2 per cent, while Martha Hall Findlay got 1 per cent and Hedy Fry less than 1 per cent.
Why Bad news for Iggy? Because
According to the poll, Mr. Rae is the second choice of 23 per cent of party members and Mr. Dion is the second choice of 17 per cent. Mr. Ignatieff is well down, with only 12 per cent picking him as their second choice.
[Allan] Gregg said the race between Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Rae could be almost a dead heat after the first tier of lower candidates drop out after the first ballot.
Mr. Gregg sees the makings of an "anyone but Iggy movement", and in fact sees Bob Rae as the person most likely to emerge as nominee.
Meanwhile, in another Strategic Counsel poll for The Globe, Stephen Harpers approval ratings have fallen significantly over the summer. The overall numbers:
Nationally, the Conservatives had the support of 35 per cent of those surveyed, followed by the Liberals at 26 per cent, the NDP at 19, the Bloc Québécois at 12 and the Green Party at 8 per cent.
Both the Libs and Tories are down one point from the last Strategic Counsel survey. And, as most other recent polls have shown, the national numbers show a precipitous decline in Tory support in Quebec (16%), where they have fallen to third place behind both the Bloc (48%) and the Libs (18%). Interestingly, the NDP is up a couple of points to 11 per cent.
All of which supports the feeling that Gregg notes among Liberal Party members to the effect that they are voting for a potential Prime Minister, not just a Leader of the Opposition.