Conservatives lead by 10 before federal cabinet shuffle

From July 20 to 25, 2023, Abacus Data conducted a national survey of 2,486 adults exploring several topics related to Canadian politics and current events as part of our regular national omnibus surveys. In this survey, we oversample Ontario to a total of 1,004 and Atlantic Canada to 435 .

As the Prime Minister is set to substantially shuffle the Cabinet this morning, the Conservatives have opened up a 10-point lead over the Liberals – 38% to 28% – with the NDP in third at 18%

Since the end up June, the Conservative vote share is up 4, the Liberals are down marginally by 1 while the NDP is down 2.

Regionally, the Conservatives are well ahead in BC, Alberta, and in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Poilievre’s Conservatives lead by 6 in Ontario and are tied with the Liberals in Atlantic Canada. Note, we oversampled Atlantic Canada to get a better sense of things in that region and the once Liberal advantage on the east coast seems to be at risk.

The Liberals trail the Conservatives across all age groups, including those under 30. The Conservatives have a 14-point lead among men and a 4-point lead among women.

A few other key finds from the survey:

The federal government’s approval rating is down slightly from the end of June – 32% approve while 51% disapprove. 32% is the lowest approval score we’ve measured since July 2021.

Impressions of the federal leaders are consistent with what we found at the end of June. Justin Trudeau is at -22 (29% positive vs. 51% negative), Pierre Poilievre is -6 (31% positive vs. 37% negative), while Jagmeet Singh is +5 (36% positive vs. 31% negative).

About half of Canadians want a change in government and feel there are good alternatives to the Liberals. This is up 3 since the end of June. 19% say they think the Liberals deserve to be re-elected, down 2. The remaining 31% say they think its time for a change, but don’t feel there’s a good alternative.

Among those who think it’s time for a change and think there’s a good alternative, 59% are voting Conservative and 21% are voting NDP. The Conservative share among this group is up 4 since June while the NDP share is done 3. The Conservatives may be consolidating the “change” vote.

Among those who think it’s time for a change but don’t think there’s a good alternative, the Liberal vote share is up, 33% would vote Liberal (+4), 23% would vote Conservative, 19% would vote NDP and 15% would vote BQ.

Among those who think the Liberals and Trudeau deserve to be re-elected, the Liberals get 78% of committed voters compared with 11% for the NDP and 3% for the Conservative.

The top issues of concern are largely unchanged from last month. 72% rate the cost of living as a top 3 issue, followed by healthcare (down 3), housing affordability, the economy, and climate change. Of note, those putting climate change in their top 3 has increased by several points over the past few months.

Also of note, 14% put immigration in their top 3 issues, up 3 points since the end of June.

The Upshot

According to Abacus Data Chair & CEO: Despite vote share gains in some recent by-elections, the national picture remains quite challenging for the federal Liberals and Prime Minister Trudeau.

Only 19% think the government deserves to be re-elected. They trail the Conservatives by 10 points nationally having lost their advantage in Atlantic Canada, likely losing their lead in Ontario, and trailing the Conservatives badly in BC. In the Greater Toronto and Hamilton region in Ontario, the Conservatives lead by 12 in this latest poll.

The Prime Minister’s negatives remain elevated all while the cost of living, healthcare, and housing are in focus for most Canadians.

Today’s cabinet shuffle needs to signal that the government is responding to these concerns and the government should relentlessly focus on those issues.

For the Conservatives, while these results might feel good, there’s evidence that neither Poilievre or the party as a whole is making much progress comforting Canadians with the idea of a future Conservative, Poilievre-led government. This remains a real and present danger for the Conservatives.

1 in 3 Canadians continue to say they want change but don’t feel comfortable with the alternatives. The Conservatives have actually lost ground among this group. Poilievre’s personal numbers haven’t moved and remain better than the Prime Minister’s but many still don’t have a firm sense of him or what he stands for – more to come on that front shortly.


The survey was conducted with 2,486 Canadian adults from July 20 to 25, 2023. 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 +/- 2.0%, 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:


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