The federal Liberals are holding on to a small lead over the Conservatives in decided voter support as the coronavirus second wave tightens its grip across broad swaths of the country.
New polling done by Ipsos exclusively for Global News suggests that if an election were held tomorrow, the Liberals would get 38 per cent of decided voter support while the Conservatives under the party’s new leader, Erin O’Toole, would get 32 per cent of support.
“What we’re seeing here is that the Liberals have taken a bit of a bounce,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, noting it suggests the party could be “knocking on the door” of forming a majority government if an election were held tomorrow — but are not there yet.
“They’d have to do better in a couple regions than they are right now, but you can also see this telegraphs why the government and the prime minister have become so obstinate about protecting their position in the House of Commons and why they are treating things as votes of confidence.”
The polling suggests the NDP sit at 17 per cent while the Greens are at seven per cent.
In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois hold 26 per cent of the decided voter support.
One quarter of respondents said they either don’t yet know how they would vote in an election or wouldn’t vote at all.
The results come on the heels of a tumultuous week for the governing Liberals that saw them force and survive a confidence vote over an opposition motion, then lose a second vote on another opposition motion seeking to force the disclosure of thousands of documents related to the pandemic response.
They also follow two byelections in Toronto Centre and York Centre — part of the Greater Toronto Area electoral battlefield and longtime safe seats for the Grits — to which the Liberals held on despite a strong showing by the Greens.
Ontario reported over 1,000 new daily cases over the weekend in a record national surge in cases that saw the country hit the grim milestone of 10,000 reported deaths on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned on Tuesday that Canadians need to gird themselves for a “tough winter ahead.”
“We will get through this. Vaccines are on the horizon. Spring and summer will come and they will be better than this winter,” he said, acknowledging at the same time that, “This sucks. It really, really does.”
The World Health Organization has also recently stepped up its warnings about the threat of coronavirus “fatigue” as societies around the world burnout on the unending mental, social and economic restrictions required to limit the spread of the highly contagious and often asymptomatic virus.
“Pandemic fatigue evolves gradually over time and is affected by the cultural, social, structural and legislative environment,” the WHO said in an Oct. 7 statement.
“Finding effective ways to tackle this fatigue and reinvigorate public vigilance is a growing challenge as the crisis continues.”
Bricker said the polling data suggests so far, Canadians agree.
While Trudeau’s approval ratings are down 15 per cent to 59 per cent since the start of the crisis, Bricker said that is still a strong level of support for a prime minister.
“At the moment, looking at the data, the prime minister’s in a strong position,” he said.
“Canadians aren’t looking for a campaign. Only 33 per cent said they would welcome an election by the spring, so that’s a pretty healthy group that’s not looking forward to an election. Who would they blame? That’s split all over the place but the weight seems to go to the prime minister.”
With files from Global’s Rachael D’Amore.