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Canadian Politics: Broad Support for New Government

November 29, 2015

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

PdfExport1 in 2 say they Would Vote Liberal Tomorrow

In our latest nationwide poll, fully 49% say that they would vote Liberal if there was an election today, signalling that the early choices made by the Trudeau government have been generally well received by voters. Conservative support today stands at 24% and the NDP level of support is 16%.

Clearly “horse race” numbers have much less importance this far outside an election period, however they do provide benchmarks against which to compare public assessments of the incumbents and challengers on a going forward basis.

In Ontario, 54% would vote Liberal, 26% Conservative and 16% NDP.

In Quebec, the numbers for the Liberal Party are almost as strong: 47% say they would vote Liberal, 19% for each of the NDP and Conservatives. Remarkably, when the federal campaign began only a few months ago, the numbers were reversed: the NDP was at 47% and the Liberals at 20%.

In BC, the Liberals are at 42%, the Conservatives 29% and the NDP 16%.

Polling at 49% support means that some people who didn’t vote for the Liberals are happy enough with the early efforts of the Liberal government. Among those who now say they would vote Liberal are 17% of those who voted NDP on October 19%, 12% of those who voted BQ, 11% of those who voted Green, and 9% of those who voted Conservative

The Liberals have held 88% of those who voted with them on Election Day. The NDP has kept 66% of its support while the Conservatives have maintained 70%.

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7 in 10 Would Consider Voting Liberal

Across the country, 70% would consider voting Liberal, underscoring that since taking office, the Liberals have increased the number of people who regard the party positively. 49% say they would consider voting NDP and 42% say they would consider voting Conservative. The NDP number is down 3 points from October, even more in Ontario and Quebec, and the Conservative number is up 2 points nationally, 3 in Ontario.

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18-point jump in feelings that things in Canada are headed in the “right direction”

In our last survey before the election (October 15th), 34% said the country was headed in the right direction, 39% off on the wrong track. Today, the “right direction” number is up 18 points that level.

Majorities in BC, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada feel the country is headed in the right direction. Even in Alberta, where the Liberals had their weakest results, more feel the country is going in the right direction (42%) than wrong (30%).

There is remarkably little difference between men and women and even among different generations.

Politically, 56% of those who voted NDP think the country is heading in the right direction, 15% say “wrong”. Conservative Party voters are split, with 30% thinking things are headed in the right direction while 38% say things are off on the wrong track.

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The Upshot

Since taking office, the Liberal Party has made choices and conducted itself in a way that has expanded its appeal. Obviously, these are early days in the life of a government with a four-year mandate, but so far, the weeks since the new government has taken office have produced a boost in confidence that the country is heading in the right direction.

According to Bruce Anderson “While opposition parties must challenge the government, these numbers are a reminder that much of the sparring that happens in Ottawa often stays in Ottawa, a pattern that was evident throughout the years of the Harper government as well.

The fact that just 21% across the country are unhappy with the direction of things, underscores the reality that voters are mostly not partisans. The roughly 60% who didn’t vote Liberal aren’t licking their wounds and spoiling for the next fight. History tells us (and these data reinforce) that they will be attentive to important arguments and criticisms of the government, but will not assume that every criticism is well founded or important.

Since there has neither been a Throne Speech nor a budget from the new government yet, it’s self evident that some of the harder choices a government has to make have not yet been made, and public reaction not yet tested.

That having been said, Mr. Trudeau has appointed a cabinet, and made a number of decisions since taking office, and these numbers show his choices and tone have resonated well with many Canadians.”

Methodology

Our survey was conducted online with 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and over from November 23 to November 25, 2015. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of over 500,000 Canadians, recruited and managed by Research Now, one of the world’s leading provider of online research samples.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.6%, 19 times out of 20. The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

Abacus Data Inc.

We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and value added insight. Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, PhD.


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