With federal parties gearing up for a possible federal election in the coming months, new polling suggests that waning support for the Liberals is going to make winning a majority government difficult to pull off.
The Conservatives are now closing the gap, according to new polling from Ipsos, with the Liberals down two points at 36 per cent and the Tories gaining four points in the last month to get to an even 30 per cent nationally.
The polling also points to the NDP holding steady to receive 20 per cent of the vote, while the Bloc Quebecois would gather seven per cent nationally. The Green Party would secure three per cent and even less Canadians would vote for the People’s Party or any other party, at two per cent each.
Two out of 10 Canadians would either not vote or would be unsure of who to vote for.
While the Liberals still hold a 6 per cent lead over the Conservatives, that lead would still not be enough for them to move past their current minority government according to the poll’s results.
Darrell Bricker, Ipsos’ CEO of Public Affairs, says that the main problem separating the Liberals from the coveted majority government is whether or not they’ll be able to find a region where they’re going to rack up enough votes.
“Canadian politics is not about the national numbers. It’s about the regional numbers. It’s about all the races that are taking place in the region,” he said.
According to Bricker, the main provinces that the Liberals should be looking at now to gather enough seats for a majority are Ontario, Quebec and B.C. — places where polling currently shows the Liberals as not having a “substantial” enough lead to push their seat count past 170.
“And so far, they haven’t really found that.”
According to Bricker, the best place in Canada right now for the Liberals to be able to pick up enough seats would be Quebec — where they find themselves in a tight race with the Bloc Quebecois.
Voter certainty would also be an important factor should an election — especially one with a low turnout — be held soon, according to Bricker.
According to the polling, the Conservative vote remains the most firm among its supporters, with nearly half of Tory voters saying that they’re absolutely certain of their choice.
Should an election with low turnout be held, the Tories, who also tend to have more habitual voters on their side, would be at an advantage.
“There’s a bit of an advantage there for the Conservatives. Is it enough to win? Not based on these numbers, but it’s certainly enough to probably deny the Liberals a majority,” said Bricker.
Among the other parties’ supporters, about 44 per cent of the Bloc, 43 per cent of Liberals, 36 per cent Green and 31 per cent of NDP voters remain locked into their choice.
While the Conservatives hold the firmest support, the opposite trend was uncovered when it came to asking Canadians about which parties had the highest potential for growth. The poll found that the NDP was chosen the most as everyone’s second option, sitting at 20 per cent, while just 10 per cent would vote for the Tories as their second pick.
And while the Liberals’ support has shrunk in the past month, the polling has still found strong “fundamentals” in Justin Trudeau and his party — with 50 per cent approving of the performance of the current federal government.
Though that performance remains strong, the polling found that such approval could break easily — with just 10 per cent saying they “strongly approve” and 40 per cent saying they “somewhat approve.”
Bricker said that what he found interesting was that about 42 per cent of Canadians believe that Trudeau’s government has “done a good job and deserves re-election.”
“The percentage of people saying that the incumbent deserves to be re-elected is at 42. If the Liberals got 42 in this election campaign, they would definitely form a majority.”
For this survey, a sample of 1,000 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. 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 ± 3.5 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.