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By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

We recently completed a national survey with a sample of 1,500 Canadian adults from March 22 to 25, 2022.

IMPRESSIONS OF CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES

Across the country, one in five voters says they have a positive impression of Pierre Poilievre and Jean Charest. Neither has particularly high negatives, with Poilievre at 21% and Charest a few points higher, at 24%.

Patrick Brown and Leslyn Lewis are less well known, and both have an equal mix of positive and negative impressions.

Among current Conservative voters, all four of the candidates tested have more positive than negative impressions, with Pierre Poilievre showing the strongest net favourables, with 45% positive and 7% negative. Charest follows next with 30% positive and 21% negative.  All four candidates have seen their positives grow among Conservative supporters since our last survey in early March.

Looking at the two candidates with the highest levels of positive impressions and name recognition – Pierre Poilievre and Jean Charest – finds Poilievre has more positives and lower negatives than Charest among current CPC supporters and those who say they would consider voting Conservative, while Charest has better numbers among those who are current Liberal voters.

When asked which candidate best reflects “your values and ideas about what the country needs”, Charest (32%) is top pick among Canadians overall, followed by Poilievre (26%) Brown (19%) Lewis (15%), and Aitchison (8%).

Among current Conservative supporters, Poilievre leads (46%) followed by Charest (24%), Brown (13%), Lewis (11%), and Aitchison (6%). Poilievre also leads among CPC accessible voters, but the margin is more narrow.

Regionally, Charest is favoured among all voters in BC and Quebec, while Poilievre leads in Alberta. Ontario is a close three-way race with Brown, Charest, and Poilievre all finding similar levels of support.

When asked which candidate they feel is most likely to win, across the country 22% pick Poilievre (22%) followed by Charest (16%). Almost half (44%) say they don’t know. Among current Conservative voters, 42% believe Poilievre will win, well ahead of Charest at 16%. Among accessible Conservatives, Poilievre is seen as the favourite, albeit by a smaller margin.

UPSHOT

According to Bruce Anderson: “If Conservative voters were choosing today, it seems clear that Pierre Poilievre would win – and might not need to count on a lot of second ballot support to cross the finish line. Jean Charest looks to have significant potential to attract supporters from outside the current Conservative voter pool, and his challenge will be about bringing new members to the party, in a way that creates concentrated support where he has the potential to be most competitive, which includes Quebec, Ontario, and BC. Among the accessible voter pool for the Conservative Party, preferences are somewhat more inconclusive, suggesting an interesting race could develop over the coming weeks and months if the party succeeds in expanding the tent. With the prospect of another half dozen less well-known candidates, this could either turn out to be a boon for the party by making the race more interesting and dynamic or result in a muddy crowded field without the excitement and drawing power of a close race among a handful of front runners.

 

According to David Coletto: “Pierre Poilievre is undoubtedly the frontrunner in this race. If current Conservative supporters mirror the views of the membership that will vote, then he’s significantly ahead of Jean Charest.

The real challenge for Mr. Charest is that while his positives have increased over the past few weeks among Conservative supporters, many of those who like Mr. Poilievre dislike him. In contrast, few of those who like Mr. Charest dislike Mr. Poilievre. Mr. Poilievre is not as polarizing a figure in the Conservative universe as Mr. Charest. At this point, it seems to me that Mr. Poilievre may have more room to grow if he can’t win on the first ballot given the low disapproval he has among Conservative supporters. If this matches how party members feels, this only reinforces his advantage.

The fact that current Liberal supporters like Mr. Charest more than current Conservative supporters confirm both the challenge of winning the Conservative leadership and the opportunity to win a general election.”

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METHODOLOGY

The survey was conducted with 1,500 Canadian adults from March 22 to 25, 2022. 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/

ABOUT ABACUS DATA

We are the only research and strategy firm that helps organizations respond to the disruptive risks and opportunities in a world where demographics and technology are changing more quickly than ever.

We are an innovative, fast-growing public opinion and marketing research consultancy. We use the latest technology, sound science, and deep experience to generate top-flight research-based advice to our clients. We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and exceptional value.

We were one of the most accurate pollsters conducting research during the 2021 Canadian election following up on our outstanding record in 2019.

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