Liberals gaining momentum against Tories but many voters eyeing ‘none of the above’: expert

Click to play video: 'Analyzing Canada’s political landscape three months from the federal election'
Analyzing Canada’s political landscape three months from the federal election
WATCH: With polls showing the Liberals and Conservatives in a dead heat, Barry Kay joins us to break down what the numbers say about the federal parties’ fortunes this fall – Jul 21, 2019

A new seat projection released this weekend by the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy suggests if an election were held today, voters wouldn’t care much for either of the federal front-runners and instead, many would look to “park their vote” elsewhere.

In an interview with the West Block‘s Eric Sorenson, LISPOP’s Barry Kay, who is a member of the research institute and a political science professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, broke down the new projects that suggest if an election were held today, the Conservatives would get just three more seats than the Liberals but that the Liberals are gaining momentum against the opposition.

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“The trend had been for the Conservatives after the SNC-Lavalin scandal broke but little by little, right now it’s a tie,” he said, pointing to the projection that the Conservatives would get 148 seats while the Liberals would get 145.

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Currently, the Liberals hold 177 while the Conservatives have 96.

The projections come from the blending of polls from Nanos, Angus Reid, Ipsos, Ekos and Forum and last month, showed the Conservatives ahead with 156 seats compared to the Liberals with 138.

“The momentum, if we can call it that, is now moving back towards the Liberals. It’s a horse race, a horse race where I must say most people don’t seem to like any of the horses,” Kay said. “I think that’s why the Bloc [Quebecois] is up in Quebec and the Greens are having historic gains, although they’re not very large.”

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According to the LISPOP projection, if an election were held now the Bloc Quebecois would pick up 14 seats nationally and the Greens a record four seats.

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The NDP would get 27, down from their current 41.

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In Ontario, the race would be competitive due to a large number of swing ridings but Kay said the current mood appears to favour the Liberals in the key province, where the path to power is often formed through wins in the seat-rich Greater Toronto Area.

In Quebec as well, the campaign would be competitive — but it would be the Conservatives and the Bloc neck-and-neck, with the Liberals out far ahead.

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The projection suggests the Grits would win 48 seats in that province while the Conservatives took 13 and the Bloc got 14.

The NDP, under the model, would only get two.

“The Bloc is coming back. I don’t think it’s because separatism is the word of the day,” he said. “Similar to the Greens in other parts of the country, I think a lot of people are parking their vote with the Bloc because they’re not happy with any of the other parties so it’s kind of ‘none of the above.”

But the rise of both parties could prove a challenge for the Liberals, which, historically, have suffered when the progressive vote splits.

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“People have to think strategically,” Kay said, suggesting voters take a serious look at which progressive candidates have the most realistic chance of winning in their riding if they are concerned about splitting the vote.

For political leaders, the results of the blended polls suggest voters just are not buying what they are selling — at least, at this point.

“Andrew Scheer has not caught on yet. Maybe he will be but he’s going to be defined by the Liberals as much as the Conservatives from here on in. People are disenchanted with Trudeau and frankly, Singh hasn’t really cut ice either. So there’s no enthusiasm that I’ve seen at the moment for anybody,” Kay said.

“Some of those people now are moving not to third parties but to fourth parties for that very reason.”

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