With four months left until the federal election, the Liberals are again trailing behind the Conservatives in decided voter support.
And they are running out of time to make up the difference, suggests a new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News.
According to the new poll, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s approval rating is at its lowest point since he was elected in 2015. Just 32 per cent of respondents said they believe the Trudeau government has done a good job and deserves re-election, compared to 68 per cent who think it’s time for another party to take power.
As well, the Conservatives are leading in public support in all provinces except for Quebec, with the Liberal lead in Ontario and British Columbia now vanished.
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The poll suggests that if an election were held tomorrow, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer would get 37 per cent of the decided popular vote.
Trudeau, meanwhile, would get 31 per cent, while the NDP would get 18 per cent.
Roughly 10 per cent of Canadians said they are open to voting for “some other party” while just five per cent nationally said they would vote for the Bloc Quebecois, compared to 22 per cent in Quebec who would say the same for the Bloc.
The poll did not specifically prompt respondents who said they would vote for “some other party” on whether they would vote for the Greens.
“We have found that, historically, prompting the Green Party as a response option in online polls tends to exaggerate their level of support,” said Sean Simpson, vice president of Ipsos Public Affairs.
“This is because the Green Party will often be chosen by poll respondents who either don’t like any of the other options and are looking for a protest response and/or won’t actually vote on election day. We recognize that the dynamics appear to be different in this election campaign, and we continue to evaluate our approach to ensure that it will produce the most accurate popular-vote estimates.”
Still, those numbers may signal trouble for the Liberals with the clock now ticking towards the next federal election.
“They’re running out of time,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.
“They’ve run out of time to do anything new, and where they find themselves is what you see in our new poll which is trailing the Tories quite considerably, which is becoming a trend. It’s been consistent since the whole SNC-Lavalin affair took place.”
In Ontario, the Conservatives are polling at 38 per cent support while the Liberals are at 32 per cent and the NDP are at 22 per cent.
That comes despite recent provincial polls suggesting the policies of Premier Doug Ford are negatively impacting the support for the federal Conservatives in that province, and as the Liberals trail in Atlantic Canada, a region they swept in the 2015 campaign.
The Conservatives hold 44 per cent of decided voters in Atlantic Canada compared to the Liberals at 28 per cent.
In Quebec, where the Liberals will need to capitalize on a plummeting NDP in order to make up for lost votes elsewhere, the party is holding a lead with 37 per cent of decided voter support. The Conservatives are at 24 per cent in the province, though, and the Bloc Quebecois at 22 per cent.
The NDP, which got 30 per cent of the popular vote in the province in 2011, is now polling at 10 per cent under the leadership of Jagmeet Singh.
In British Columbia, the Conservatives also lead at 33 per cent, with the Liberals at 28 per cent and support for “another party” other than the NDP or Bloc Quebecois is the highest among all the provinces at 22 per cent.
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And in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Conservatives remain well ahead.
They have 55 per cent of the decided vote in the poll in Alberta and 40 per cent in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The Liberals are at 24 and 31 per cent in those regions, respectively.
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Bricker said there appears to be strong concern that the government has not lived up to key electoral promises and that it has failed to handle recent scandals and stumbles in an appropriate way.
But he argues the overwhelming source of concern seems to be the economy, despite strong overall economic growth and job creation numbers.
“What’s happening is people are looking at things like affordability in their lives and they’re looking at whether or not they feel that things are getting better for them and their family over time. They compare themselves to previous generations and they don’t really feel like they’re getting ahead,” he said.
“So the danger I think politically is when people start looking at things like big statistics on job numbers or they start looking at economic growth and start saying, ‘Hey, we’re doing a great job,’ but people aren’t feeling that. There’s a sense of disconnect and I think this is what the government is experiencing.”
The question of whether the Liberals can make up the difference in the polling numbers will come down to whether they adjust their messaging and zero in on issues of affordability rather than big-picture economics, he suggested.
If they do not, making up the gap is going to get increasingly difficult.
“The big gap that’s grown between the government’s economic performance and the perception of how much better the Conservatives would do is a real problem for the Liberals,” Bricker said.
“Elections in Canada are won on the economy.”
The Ipsos poll was conducted between June 5 and 7, 2019, on behalf of Global News, and asked 1,003 Canadian adults how they would vote if a federal election were held tomorrow. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.