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The Conservative Race is Wide Open

October 21, 2016

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

As the list of contenders for the Conservative Party leadership takes more shape, updated our polling data on who Canadians prefer, among the names that have been in consideration (our poll was taken just before Tony Clement dropped out). Here’s what we found:

• Kevin O’Leary garners 21% across Canada and 30% among Conservative voters. Mr. O’Leary has not yet made clear whether he will run.

• At the time he dropped out, Tony Clement was the preferred choice of 16% of Canadians and 19% of Conservative voters.

• Of the names we included in our poll, Maxime Bernier (14% nationally), Lisa Raitt (9%) and Michael Chong (6%) garner more support than the rest of the field. The other ten names we tested were all bunched together within 4 points from top to bottom.

• Kellie Leitch has probably won a larger share of coverage than any other candidate to date, however, she is the favourite of just 4% of Canadians, and 5% of those who voted Conservative last fall. Chris Alexander’s support levels are almost identical (4% nationally and among Conservative voters.

• Brad Trost is the least popular of the 14 names we tested, with 2% support nationally and 1% among Conservative voters.

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THE UPSHOT

According to Bruce Anderson: “Our earlier poll showed that Kevin O’Leary was a leader in terms of familiarity, but also a somewhat polarizing figure among the general public. If he doesn’t run, the race looks at this point as though there would be a small group of front-runners, some with regionally important pockets of support. Max Bernier has established himself well to this point, with a message and positioning that is fairly consistent, and with a regional base that carries significant value.

Lisa Raitt, if she enters the race, would start with a more attentive and interested public, compared to many of the other candidates who are competing for a share of voice. But with numbers as close as this, and with Peter MacKay deciding to sit this contest out, the safest assumption is that virtually any of these candidates could gather momentum.

So far, though the sharper message of Kellie Leitch does not appear to have paid off in terms of galvanizing and attracting a sizeable segment of Conservative voters, although it may have done so among the membership itself.”

METHODOLOGY

Our survey was conducted online with 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and over from October 7 to 12, 2016. 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 1,500 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, Ph.D.


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