It’s interesting to read the survey statistics given by two different newspapers. They both survey ‘popularity’ but ask different questions of (presumably) different crowds of Canadians.
On Metro’s London weekend edition, They used The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey for the personal popularity of each party leader. I would surmise from the article that they asked respondents whether they saw Ignatieff, Harper, Layton etc. favourably (+) or negatively (-).
Ignatieff was 42+ and 50-
Harper was 43+ and 52-
Layton was 68+ and 26-
The poll was conducted from 1000 Canadians between April 14-17 and considered “accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.” (What does that even mean?)
The article itself was all about Iggy seeing his popularity spike (interesting perspective as he is still third), and about anti-Conservative strategic voting websites.
Then you have National Post published the day before using the Ipsos Reid national survey with the question, “If an election were held today which party would you vote for?”
Conservatives are clearly in first place, NDP has come into second place, and Liberals are third. Where the other survey was driven by personal popularity, this one is, I dare say, a little more realistic in the framing of the question. Just because a guy is popular does not mean people will cast a ballot for that party.
Statistics are strange and wonderful beasts. You really need to know what you’re looking at for them to be of remote value.