Conservatives lead by 17 over Liberals in latest Abacus Data poll.
January 11, 2024
From January 4 to 9, 2024, Abacus Data conducted a national survey of 1,500 adults exploring several topics related to Canadian politics and current events as part of our regular national omnibus surveys.
Conservatives gain 4 points since mid-December and now lead by 17 over the Liberals.
If an election were held today, 41% of committed voters would vote Conservatives with the Liberals at 24%, the NDP at 18% and the Greens at 4%. The BQ is at 33% in Quebec.
Since our last survey, the Conservatives are up 4 while the Liberals are down 3. This is a statistically significant shift in vote intentions since mid-December.
Regionally, the Conservatives are well ahead in the Prairies, lead by 17 in BC, and 12 in Ontario. In Atlantic Canada, the Conservatives are 12-points ahead of the Liberals while in Quebec, the BQ leads by 6 over the Liberals with the Conservatives at 22%.
If we isolate British Columbia, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada only, we find the Conservatives up 2, the Liberals down 2 from our last survey in December across these three regions/provinces.
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Demographically, the Conservatives lead among all age groups with the Liberal vote share correlated with age. The Liberal vote share rises as the age of the respondent increases. The opposite is true for the NDP.
We find almost little difference in vote intention between men and women except for NDP support which is higher among women and Conservative support which is higher among men.
When we ask people if they would consider voting for each of the main political parties, 54% say they are open to voting Conservative (up 4 since December 12) while 41% are open to voting Liberal (-2) and 41% for the NDP. Note, this is the smallest accessible voter pool for the Liberals that we have measured since 2015.
For the first time since the last election, we are also reporting voter motivation – a key indicator on possible voter turnout differentials by party.
We find that Conservative supporters are more likely to say they would vote than Liberal or NDP supporters. The 6-point difference between Conservative and Liberal enthusiasm is significant and something we will continue to watch and track.
What explains the change in vote intention?
Over the last month, attitudes and opinions about the Prime Minister, the Liberal government, and the general direction of the country have all deterioriated.
For example, those who think the country is headed in the right direction is down 3 points since December and close to the lowest point we have ever measured.
The federal government’s approval rating is down with those disapproving up 2 points to 58%, tied for the highest we have ever measured it since the Liberals were elected in 2015.
Impressions of Justin Trudeau have also become more negative since our last survey in December. Today only 25% have a positive impression of the Prime Minister while 59% have a negative impression. His net favourability score of -34 is the worst we’ve ever measured.
In contrast, impressions of Pierre Poilievre have returned to levels we measured in November – after what we showed in our polling was a difficult early December of the Conservative Leader. Today, Poilievre’s net favourability score is +6, almost as good as it has ever been.
But perhaps most telling is the widespread desire for change that continues to exist across the country. Today, 53% feel it’s time for a change and there’s a good alternative available. 60% of these people who are decided say they will vote Conservative. Another 31% say they want change but they aren’t entirely convinced there’s an acceptable alternative. Among this group, 1 in 3 say they will vote Liberal (which is down 6 points since December).
Only 16% of Canadian adults believe Justin Trudeau and the Liberals deserve to be re-elected. That number has been flat and unchanged since September and is down 5 points from the first time we asked it at the end of June – the last poll before we saw a big shift in voter intentions towards the Conservatives.
And this desire for change is widespread. Here are the percentage of those who think it’s time for a change and believe there’s an acceptable alternative:
- British Columbians – 62%
- Albertans – 63%
- Ontarians – 55%
- Atlantic Canadians – 47%
- Quebecers – 33%
- Those who voted Liberal in 2021 – 23%
- Those who voted Conservative in 2021 – 82%
- Millennials – 54%
- Gen Z – 50%
- Seniors (60+) – 52%
- Those living in the GTHA/Metro Toronto – 52%
- Those living in Metro Vancouver – 60%
Although some of the underlying metrics have become more negative for the Liberals and positive for the Conservatives, the top issues remain unchanged.
As 2024 begins – the cost of living and housing – remain front and centre and the focus of people’s attention.
We are watching healthcare as an issue – especially as emergency rooms across the country continue to struggle with capacity issues. We are also watching immigration as a top issue – which has risen 4 points over the past 4 months.
According to Abacus Data CEO David Coletto: “A desire for change is the overriding mindset of Canadians right now. Our first poll of 2024 finds one of, if not the worst, opinion environments the Liberal government has found itself in. The cost of living is still the central focus for people. The Prime Minister’s personal numbers are as negative as they have ever been, and the desire for change has never been as high. The result is a big Conservative lead nationally.
If the Liberals hoped that Canadians would be talking positively about the government and reflecting on the suitability of the Conservatives and Pierre Poilievre over the holidays, that doesn’t seem to have happened. Instead, Canadians start 2024 more determined to see a change in government than when 2023 ended.”
Looking to conduct polling or market research in 2024? Have budget left to spend before the end of March? Send Yvonne an email to connect with the Abacus Data team today!
The survey was conducted with 1,500 Canadian adults from January 4 to 9, 2024. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.
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.
This survey was paid for by Abacus Data Inc.
Abacus Data follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here: https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/
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