The latest Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News found 38 per cent of decided voters would cast their ballot for the Liberals if the election were held tomorrow, a number unchanged from last month.
The Conservatives, meanwhile, would earn 26 per cent of the vote, down three points since May. The party is also behind the Liberals in every age group and every region of the country except for the Prairie provinces, where the Tories remain the most popular choice among voters.
“If (the Liberals) are considering having an election, this is as good a position as they’ve been in since … the 2015 election,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.
“(Conservative Leader) Erin O’Toole, if he was looking at these numbers, would have to be very worried.”
The NDP dropped one point from last month to earn 20 per cent of the vote, the poll also suggests, while the Bloc Quebecois would receive eight per cent nationally (34 per cent in Quebec), up two points. The Greens saw a four-point bump to earn seven per cent of the vote.
The poll — which surveyed 1,501 Canadians online and by telephone earlier this month — comes as speculation over a potential summer or fall election heats up, with COVID-19-related health restrictions lifting and vaccinations driving down infections.
But the results spell bad news for O’Toole, who earned less support than his party overall, with just 23 per cent of decided voters saying he would make the best prime minister. That ties him with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and puts him nearly 20 points behind Justin Trudeau, who earned 42 per cent support.
Trudeau also earned high marks for his performance as prime minister, with 52 per cent of those surveyed saying they approve of the job he and his government are doing, up two points from last month. Just over four in 10 Canadians believe Trudeau’s Liberals deserve re-election, the poll also suggests.
Yet Bricker says those numbers may not translate to an overwhelming victory in the next election, pointing to the small six-point lead the Liberals have over the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec and their poor showings in the Prairies.
“You may end up in a situation where you’re only winning the seats that you already have by a bit more this time … and not picking up anything new,” he said.
The Liberals have gained strong leads in British Columbia (36 per cent support) and Atlantic Canada (46 per cent), according to the poll, suggesting Quebec may not be the deciding province it’s been in elections past.
But Bricker says Trudeau’s inability to gain ground in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — where his party holds less than 30 per cent support — suggests western alienation will stick around if the Liberals stay in power.
“Can they win seats in urban Alberta, urban Saskatchewan or urban Manitoba?” he asked. “They want to form a truly national government, (but) leaving that part of the population out of what the victory is going to be, we’ll continue on with the same problems that we currently have.”
Despite those geographical issues, the poll suggests the Liberals have built a broad coalition that has them leading across all age groups.
Among those surveyed, the party has retained advantages over the Conservatives with Canadians aged 18-34 (37 per cent for the Liberals versus 29 per cent for the Tories) and those aged 35-54 (38 per cent versus 25 per cent).
Yet the Liberals are also leading among those aged 55 and over with 40 per cent support — typically a key voting bloc for the Conservatives, who earned just 29 per cent support.
The Tories are also facing an uphill battle attracting women to their corner, with the party placing third with 22 per cent support behind the Liberals (40 per cent) and the NDP (25 per cent). Men also preferred the Liberals with 36 per cent support, compared to 29 per cent for the Conservatives.
Bricker says the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to made it difficult for opposition leaders like O’Toole and Singh to campaign in traditional ways and make themselves known to Canadians — particularly O’Toole, who Bricker says is still a “stranger” to voters.
If public health restrictions continue to lift over the summer heading into a potential campaign, Bricker says it’s possible both O’Toole and Singh could turn the numbers around. But he adds that time is running out for O’Toole to gain the ground his party has lost since 2019.
“(O’Toole) was supposed to be a political leader who was able to move the Conservatives beyond their base in Alberta and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan,” Bricker said. “He was supposed to be able to expand into central Canada, and that’s not happening.”
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between June 17 and 22, 2021, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,501 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. A sample of n = 1,001 was interviewed online, via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources, and respondents earn a nominal incentive for their participation. A sample of n = 500 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed by live-interview telephone interviewers by landline and cellphone, using random-digit dialing. Quotas and weighting were employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos polls which include non-probability sampling is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.