Liberals jump past Conservatives in voter support: poll

Watch above: A new Ipsos Reid poll for Global News shows the Liberals have more voter support than the Conservatives. Will they be able to maintain that momentum until next year’s federal election? Eric Sorensen reports.

Federal politicians won’t be hitting the hustings until well into next year, but Justin Trudeau and the Liberals could be en route to upsetting Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

A new Ipsos Reid poll for Global News shows the Liberals would have the support of 38 per cent of decided voters compared to 31 per cent for the Conservatives.

The Liberals saw a five percentage point jump since a similar poll conducted in April, while the Conservatives dropped two points.

Meanwhile Thomas Mulcair and the NDP remained stable, with the support of 24 per cent of decided voters.

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Liberals jump past Conservatives in voter support: poll - image

“The Tories have had a difficult year trying to gain traction with voters, while at same time the Liberals – who have their sights set on a majority government in the next election – are continuing an upward trajectory that began two years ago, despite the odd blunder or misstep from the rookie-leader Trudeau,” Ipsos Reid reported.

Trudeau laid out his plan to win a majority in the next election last week, while the federal Liberals met in Edmonton for their summer caucus.

WATCH: The Liberal Party of Canada is targeting what it believes is fertile ground in an unlikely place — the province of Alberta. Vassy Kapelos explains.

“If you’re a Conservative you’re paying attention to this. You’re not necessarily panicking at this point because the public polls tell you one thing. The internal political polls tell you another thing,” said Tim Powers of Summa Strategies.

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“Also, you have to recognize you’re 14 months away from an election. If you’re the Liberals, you’re wondering if you’re peaking too early. It’s a long way to continue this momentum between now and October 2015,” Powers told Global News.

While saying he doesn’t comment on polls, Trudeau said he’s seen “a tremendous openness to the way we’re doing politics” across the country and the party still has a lot of work to do before Canadians head to the polls next year.

Trudeau said he’s looking to the number of new donors and party numbers, saying he expects Liberal Party membership to top 200,000 people this fall, as a gauge of how well the party is doing.

“But we can’t forget the amount of work ahead of us. We’re sitting at 37 seats in the House of Commons. We’re a distant third place,” Trudeau told Global News in Cookville, N.S.* on Monday. “The fact Canadians are now looking at the Liberal Party as a potential next government means we have to roll up our sleeves and work even harder to earn that trust between now and the next election.”

When it comes Canada’s three most populous provinces, the Liberals have “comfortable” leads over the Tories and NDP in both Ontario and Quebec, while trailing slightly behind the Conservatives in British Columbia but sitting significantly ahead of the NDP.

In Ontario, the Liberals are backed by 40 per cent of respondents, eight points ahead of the Conservatives and 16 points ahead of the NDP.

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In Quebec, the Grits sit 11 points ahead of the NDP, who swept most of the province in the 2011 federal election, with 38 per cent of respondents saying they’d elect the Liberals. The Conservatives would only get the support of 17 per cent of respondents, while the Bloc Quebecois only mustered support from 15 per cent of respondents.

Nationally, the Bloc and leader Mario Beaulieau would only get 3 per cent of the vote.

Elizabeth May’s Green Party, which only holds two seats in the House of Commons, dropped one point nationally to sit at three per cent.

The Liberals had their highest support in Atlantic Canada, with 52 per cent of respondents saying they’d vote for the Grits, while their lowest level of support was in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with 29 per cent of respondents favouring the Liberal Party.

The Conservatives maintained a 10-point lead over the Liberals in Alberta, where the Tories had their greatest support with the backing 43 per cent of decided voters.

The NDP still had its greatest support in Quebec, where the party won 59 seats under Jack Layton’s leadership in 2011.

At this point in time, 15 per cent of the 1,012 respondents said they haven’t decided who they would vote for.

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Compared to 2011, when the Conservatives finally won a majority government after nearly five years in office, more Canadians — half of all respondents — are willing to pay higher taxes as long as the government provides key social programs. That’s up seven percentage points in this most recent poll: 13 per cent strongly agreed and 36 per cent somewhat agreed that “government must provide key social programs even if it means increasing taxes.”

Four out of ten respondents strongly disagreed  (14 per cent) or somewhat disagreed (28 per cent) with that statement and eight per cent of respondents weren’t sure one way or another.

“Canadians appear to be warming to the idea of taxing to maintain or enhance social programs, which is in contrast to the Conservative mantra of cutting taxes and limiting spending,” Ipsos Reid explained.

Adversely, 64 per cent of Canadians would rather Ottawa cut some programs and services in order to keep government spending within means, according to the poll. At the same time, 66 per cent of Canadians strongly agreed (33 per cent) or somewhat agreed (also 33 per cent) that getting a tax break would serve them better than the creation of a new program paid for with taxpayer dollars.

The poll was carried out exclusively for Global News between Aug. 14 and Aug. 17 and is accurate within +/- 3.5 percentage points.

*CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story indicated Justin Trudeau spoke with Global News in Halifax. Trudeau made his comments in Cookville, N.S.


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