Philippe J. Fournier: The latest 338 projection shows the Liberals falling two seats per day since the campaign began. The Conservatives are the new favourites.
It was (another) difficult week for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in public opinion polls. The trends we observed in the first week of this short campaign continued and even intensified in the second week. With support for the Liberals in a downward spiral in key regions of Canada, several polls now show the Conservatives have taken the lead in voting intentions in the country. In the latest seat projections, Conservatives and Liberals may now stand neck-in-neck, but the all-important “momentum” of this campaign is clearly on the side of Erin O’Toole’s team.
Let’s take a look back at the polls of the past week:
Earlier last week, the Angus Reid Institute, Léger, Abacus Data and Ipsos all released figures indicating that the Liberals had lost ground during the first week of the campaign. With tighter voting intentions (particularly in Ontario), these internet panel polls gave the Liberals national leads between one and four points over the Conservatives. We look forward to these firms’ newest figures next week to whether the Liberal Party has slowed this trend.
According to the three polling firms with daily rolling polls, namely Mainstreet Research, EKOS and Nanos Research, support for the Liberals fell significantly as the week went along while the Conservative Party (CPC) surged ahead. As of this morning, Nanos has the CPC leading by a modest 2-point margin, whereas EKOS and Mainstreet measure the CPC much further ahead, by 6 and 10 points respectively over the Liberals. All three pollsters now show a statistical tie in Ontario, and all have the CPC regaining levels of support comparable to those of 2019 in Western Canada—a region which, since the election of Erin O’Toole to the leadership of the CPC in August 2020, initially seemed lukewarm to the new Conservative leader.
Support for the NDP remained generally stable during the week with national support between 19 and 22 per cent. Jagmeet Singh’s team is projected for potential gains in Ontario and appear to have boosted its support somewhat in the Prairies. In Quebec, we will have to watch whether the return of former MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau will move the needle in the province. Obviously, without local polling in the riding of Berthier-Maskinongé, it will be difficult to know whether Brosseau has a realistic chance of taking over the riding she narrowly lost to the Bloc Québécois in 2019, but her return is positive news for Singh in Quebec.
For the Bloc Québécois, last week’s polls all indicate support below 30 per cent in Quebec. With figures ranging from 23 to 29 per cent in the province, the support for the Bloc appears to have declined since 2019, hence some ridings narrowly won by the BQ in 2019 could be in danger of changing colours. Moreover, with the rise in popularity of Erin O’Toole elsewhere in the country, Yves-François Blanchet will have to adjust his strategy to keep his party’s in-roads from 2019, especially in the Quebec City area and among older, traditionally more right-of-centre voters, whom the CPC is targeting.
The Green Party of Canada is in serious danger of falling off the map in this election. According to current projections, Green MP Paul Manly could be in danger of losing his riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith on Vancouver Island (currently in a three-way fight with the Conservatives and the NDP). If the trend continues, former leader Elizabeth May could, once again, find herself the only elected member of her party.
Finally, polls differ somewhat as to the support for Maxime Bernier’s People Party. The Mainstreet and EKOS IVR polls have measured national support of up to 6 and 7 per cent for the PPC, but other polling firms measure the party in the 2 to 4 per cent range instead. Can Bernier get elected in his home riding of Beauce? This is difficult to assess for the moment, especially since it is in Quebec where PPC support is lowest among the traditional survey regions in Canada.