New Ipsos poll shows tight election race across Canada

WATCH ABOVE: It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the campaign trail. From the Duffy trial to wild swings on the markets, Canadians have had a lot to absorb. Now, a new poll for Global News reveals the race is getting even tighter. Eric Sorensen breaks down the numbers.

After nearly three weeks of whistle stops, campaign announcements, and promises, the gap is closing between Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, and Tom Mulcair according to a new Ipsos poll, with only four percentage points separating their three parties.

An Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News and published Thursday shows the NDP holding a small lead nationally with 33 per cent of respondents favouring Mulcair’s party. The Liberals are three points back with 30 per cent, and the Conservatives trail the three main parties at 29 per cent.

“There’s nobody here that’s really bursting out of the pack. It’s incredible how closely bunched these parties are,” Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs said in an interview Thursday.

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The Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party are far from the main three parties and are tied in last at four per cent support nationally.

While the NDP has been the frontrunner for most of the campaign, its base of support hasn’t budged since Ipsos’ last poll on August 11.

“It shows that there are still some questions that need to be answered,” Bricker said.  “There’s still a residual desire for people who want to see change sticking with the Liberals.”

In-Depth: Federal Election 2015

The Liberals have made some gains since the campaign began, leapfrogging the Conservatives and landing within reach of the NDP.


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But support for the Liberals may be misleading, Bricker said.

“You could say that the liberals are showing that they’ve picked up a bit, a point a week or a couple of points a week,” Bricker said.

“But given the distribution of their vote, they look stronger in their national polls than they actually are in terms of seats.”

The Liberals enjoy a broad range of support in Atlantic Canada with 46 per cent support among voters – 11 percentage points ahead of the NDP and 29 percentage points more than the Conservatives.

“The only region of the country where they’re clearly ahead is Atlantic Canada, and no matter how well they do they can only get 32,” he said, suggesting their base of support in Atlantic Canada sways the national numbers.

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But while there hasn’t been much movement since the election campaign began on Aug. 9, the position of the Liberals and Conservatives have changed significantly since the 2011 election.

Harper won 39 per cent of the vote four years ago, while the Liberals won 19 per cent, and the NDP won 30. Since then, the NDP has inched up to 33 per cent, according to the Ipsos poll, while the Conservatives have dropped to 29 per cent and the Liberals jumped to 28 per cent.

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“So all the movement has been between the Liberals and Conservatives and neither one of them are leading,” Bricker said. “The NDP hasn’t taken off, the Conservatives have not found a way to recover back to their heights in the last election campaign, and the Liberals are the only party that have shown any ability to add to their votes significantly since the last election campaign.”

Apart from Quebec where the NDP is dominating with 40 per cent support, the race is tightening across the country. In Ontario, Canada’s most vote-rich province, with the three main parties being separated by just two percentage points (Liberal 33, NDP 32, Conservatives 31).

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The NDP finds its base of power in Quebec where the party enjoys 40 per cent support, a commanding 15 points higher than the Liberals, and 25 points more than the Conservatives or Bloc who each have 16 per cent support.

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The Conservatives lead four provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Their lead in Alberta is a commanding 47 per cent but it’s more tenuous in the other provinces. In British Columbia, the Harper Tories are only three points ahead of the NDP and four points ahead of the Liberals and only two percentage points ahead of the Liberals in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

But despite almost three weeks of promises, and announcements on terrorism, childcare, and infrastructure spending, and some small change — the numbers haven’t moved significantly for any party.

“In the context of most election campaigns, these things would be huge, but in this one, there’s just nothing happening,” Bricker said, quoting from Macbeth’s final soliloquy, saying the campaign thus far has been “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos Reid.” This poll was conducted between August 24 and August 26, with a sample of 1,000 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel and is accurate to within 3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

View the full Ipsos tables below: 

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