Abacus Data Bulletin: What Canadians are looking for in a new Conservative Party leader

Abacus Data Bulletins are short analyses of public opinion data we collect. For more information or media interviews, contact Bruce Anderson or David Coletto.

We asked Canadians what they are looking for in a new Conservative Party leader. The results suggest that smaller government, tighter immigration, more law and order are somewhat down the list of priorities for Canadians, who put more emphasis on ideas for how to grow the economy for the long term, a firm commitment to equal rights for all including same-sex couples, a serious plan to tackle climate change and a more positive, optimistic tone.

Naturally, since a significant proportion of those who answered these questions are unlikely to vote Conservative in any circumstance, the more useful analysis is to look at those who say they are certain to vote Conservative and those who say they are likely to vote Conservative.

Among those who are certain to vote Conservative ideas for economic growth, a strong commitment to cutting taxes, balanced budgets and tighter immigration are the biggest “must-haves”.

Among those “likely” to vote Conservative the top three priorities are the same (tax cuts, balanced budgets and economic growth ideas”, but immigration tightening and law and order are less powerful as motivators. Also, likely Conservatives voters put more priority than certain Conservatives on equal rights and a serious climate plan.


Our survey was conducted online with 2,137 Canadians aged 18 and over from December 13 to 19, 2019. A random sample of panellists was invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are 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 +/- 1.8%, 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.


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