Liberals maintain lead over Conservatives

January 30, 2018

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

In our first survey of 2018, the Liberals have the support of 39% of decided voters compared with 32% for the Conservatives and 18% for the NDP.

The Liberals have a 3-point lead in Ontario, a 25-point lead in Quebec, and a 6-point lead in BC. In November, we noted gains for the NDP in BC. However, since then, we have seen a return to a Liberal lead with the Conservatives in second.

About half (48%) say the country is headed in the right direction, and 48% approve of the job the Trudeau government is doing. About one in three (32%) think the country is on the wrong track and disapprove (33%) of the Trudeau government.

Approval of the government is the plurality view in every place but the Prairies.

Impressions of Mr. Trudeau’s are a little bit above where they were when he won the October 2015 election, as 47% today say they have a positive view of the PM, 31% a negative impression.

Mr. Scheer, has an equal number of positive opinions (24%) as negatives (25%). Both his positives and negatives have risen a bit since he won the leadership. In Ontario, 28% have a positive impression of the Conservative Leader compared with 23% who view him negatively. In Quebec and BC, more have a negative view (Quebec 27%, BC 25%) than positive (Quebec 19%, BC 21%).

Mr. Singh’s numbers are similar to those of Mr. Scheer, with 24% positive, 22% negative. In Ontario, 26% have a positive view of the NDP Leader while 18% have a negative view while Quebecers are almost evenly split: 26% positive versus 25% negative. In BC, 14% have a positive view while 19% view him negatively.


As we head towards the 2019 General Election, we will start to report on the dimension of desire for change within the electorate. This is an important way to anticipate consolidation of voters around who which party can best effect change or how to vote if you want to avoid a change.

Today, remembering that 39% voted Liberal in 2015, 45% would like to see the Liberals re-elected for a second term while 55% would prefer to see a change in government.

Three out of four who voted Liberal in 2015 want the government to be re-elected as almost half (47%) of those who voted NDP. Almost all 2015 Conservative voters (91%) would prefer to a change in government.

As a way of assessing the potential for growth in the incumbent party’s support, we compare the popular vote the Liberals received in the 2015 General Election with the percentage in the province who would prefer to see the Liberals re-elected. In BC and Quebec, more people would prefer to see the government re-elected than voted for the Liberal Party in 2015 while in Ontario, the numbers are almost equal. This suggests that in two of the three largest provinces in the country, the Liberals may have room to grow over their 2015 performance in those provinces.

UPSHOT

According to Bruce Anderson: “There is every indication that the next federal election will be highly competitive. Both opposition leaders enjoy low negatives, although they have the handicap of low visibility. The Liberal lead is built on satisfying 3 out of 4 of their 2015 coalition and half of those who voted NDP. If they can sustain those two elements, they will be in a good position to win another election.

For the Conservatives, their brand is competitive again, but the raw vote intention numbers should be observed with a bit of caution, due to the fact that the satisfaction levels with the government suggest the Liberals have a hidden level of support. The numbers also are another reminder that attacking Justin Trudeau has not proven hugely successful. Conservatives need to advance ideas appealing to more younger and urban voters and speak to issues they’ve been hesitant on in the past, such as climate change.

According to David Coletto: “As Parliament resumes this week, the federal Liberals are doing as well as they did near the end of 2017. Their support is where it was at the 2015 General Election, almost half of Canadians approve of the federal government, and almost half would prefer the Trudeau government be re-elected.

Mr. Trudeau remains an asset to his party and government as he sustains a generally positive image with most of the country. His primary opponents continue to be largely unknown and undefined in the minds of most voters.

The Conservatives can take solace in the fact that they lead among those aged 60 and over. However, unless they find a way to become more attractive to younger voters, the road to government for her Majesty’s Official Opposition will continue to be mathematically difficult.”

METHODOLOGY

Our survey was conducted online with 1,411 Canadians aged 18 and over between January 26 to 28, 2018. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of over 500,000 Canadians.

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 1,411 is +/- 2.7%, 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.

What: We are the only research firm that helps organizations respond to the unprecedented threat of generational change and technological disruption.

How: 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, Ph.D.


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