“All the momentum in this leadership race is really with Pierre Poilievre,” Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos public affairs, told Global News.
Fifty-seven per cent of self-identified Conservative voters now have a favourable impression of Poilievre, the poll indicated. This number is up eight points since a similar poll was conducted in mid-July.
One in four Tory voters, however, said they don’t know enough about Poilievre to form an opinion.
A total of 1,001 Canadians aged 18 and older were interviewed for the Ipsos poll, conducted between Aug. 29 and Aug. 31. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Despite Poilievre being the widely perceived frontrunner for leader among Conservative voters, less than one in four Canadians appear to have a positive impression of him, the poll suggests. That’s a drop of two points from July.
One in three Canadians have an unfavourable impression of Poilievre, unchanged from July results.
“With the general population, where elections are won or lost, he’s not really performing that strongly. In fact, his negatives are higher than his positives,” Bricker said.
A total of 42 per cent of Canadians said they don’t know enough about him to form a perception.
“Even though the people who have formed an opinion on him so far are negative, there’s still more people that he can introduce himself to between now and the next election campaign,” said Bricker. “With Conservative voters, the story is pretty much over but with the Canadian population, we’re really in chapter one of the book.”
Poilievre has hosted nearly 80 large rallies across the country throughout his campaign and has reported selling more than 300,000 memberships.
He announced his bid to become the next leader of the Conservative party back in Feb., only three days after MPs forced Erin O’Toole out of the position.
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When it comes to other Conservative candidates like Jean Charest, the Ipsos polling suggests he is the preferred candidate by the general population of Canadians, with one in three saying they have a favourable perception of him.
However, a roughly equal portion of Canadians also have an unfavourable view of Charest.
Despite Poilievre’s momentum, the Charest campaign has said they believe the former Quebec premier does have the points needed to win a narrow victory.
“This is really a two-candidate race. It was really between Jean Charest and Pierre Poilievre and quite clearly at this stage of the game it looks like Pierre Poilievre is coming out much ahead,” Bricker said.
“To the extent, it was supposed to be a battle over the future of the Conservative party – the old progressive conservatives versus the new conservatives. It looks like the new conservatives are really taking the baton and running with it,” he said.
Both Aitchison and Lewis improved their impression among Conservative voters from July, with Aitchison polling at 23 per cent and Lewis, 32 per cent.
Over half of Canadians said they don’t know enough about Aitchison or Lewis to form an impression and half also said they don’t know who they would vote for to lead the Conservative party, according to the poll.
The same was true for Baber.
The perception of a candidate also varied across provinces with Ontario and Quebec solidly against Poilievre, the polling showed.
“It’s pretty clear where Pierre Poilievre has his big lead is in western Canada but when you take a look at places like Ontario and Quebec there’s a lot more convincing to do,” said Bricker.
“The race is a lot closer among Conservative voters in those two major provinces and as we know, every major election comes down to really those two provinces.”
New Conservative party leaders will be picked through a ranked ballot system. This is different to the general election, where voters are only allowed to make one choice.
Although Patrick Brown has been disqualified from the race, his name will still appear on the ballot and the Conservatives have not yet said how they will deal with any possible votes for him.
Just over 350,000 of the 678,000 members who are eligible to vote have sent in their mail-in ballots as of Aug. 30, the party said.
The deadline is on Sept. 6.
Before being counted, ballots have to be processed as valid. The party will be completing this step at a downtown Ottawa headquarters.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between August 29 and 31, 2022, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. 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 Canadians aged 18+ 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.
— With files from Global News’ Rachel Gilmore and The Canadian Press