Conservatives lead by 15 as federal government disapproval jumps 4 points

From September 9 to 12, 2023, Abacus Data conducted a national survey of 2,125 adults exploring several topics related to Canadian politics and current events as part of our regular national omnibus surveys. In this survey, we oversample Nova Scotia to 500 respondents.

As the Liberal caucus meetings wrap up in London, Ontario, and after the Conservative Party convention in Quebec, a new poll finds the Conservatives continue to hold a large lead nationally.

If an election were held today, 41% of committed voters would vote Conservatives with the Liberals at 26%, the NDP at 18% and the Greens at 4%. The BQ is at 36% in Quebec.

Since our previous survey last week, the Conservatives are up 1, the Liberals steady, and the NDP down 1. The BQ is up slightly in Quebec.

Regionally, the Conservatives continue to hold a big lead in Western Canada, including BC. They lead by 6 in Ontario and by 11 in Atlantic Canada. In Quebec, the BQ has an 8-point lead over the Liberals.

The Conservatives continue to lead across all age groups and among men and women. Interestingly, while the Conservatives lead by wide margins among those with a high school or college education, the Liberals and Conservatives are statistically tied with those with a university degree.

But the steady vote intention figures mask deteriorating underlying opinions.

For example, those dissapproving of the federal government’s performance is up 4 points (to 57%) since last week reaching the highest it’s been since 2015. Only 29% approve of the job performance of the Liberal government.

The Prime Minister’s personal image has also worsened. Today 56% have a negative impression of the Justin Trudeau compared wih 27% with a positive view for a net favourable score of -29.

Since the end of June, the Prime Minister’s personal numbers have trended down across all key demographic groups most notably among millennials (most of those aged 30 to 44).

In contrast, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has about equal numbers with positive and negative impressions, although there doesn’t appear to be either a bounce or drop in impressions of Poilievre coming out of the Conservative convention.

Perhaps most worrisome for the Liberals is what appears to be some deterioriation in the party’s accessible voter pool (those who say they are open to voting Liberal). It has reached the lowest point since 2015 at 42%, a drop of 2 points since August. In contrast, 50% of Canadian adults say they are open to voting Conservative – the largest gap in accessible voter pool advantage for the Conservatives 2015.

Finally, we continue to see affordability issues dominating the public agenda. In fact, those ranking housing affordability as a top issue is up 4 points since last week moving now solidly into second place between the cost of living more broadly.

The Upshot

According to Abacus Data Chair & CEO David Coletto: “These numbers continue to show deterioriation in underlying opinions about the government and the Prime Minister that we first started seeing last summer but only recently seem to have impacted people’s intended voting behaviour.

The government needs to find a way to reset its agenda that allows people into evaluating the government differently, and offers a plan and vision that gives people hope that they have a handle on the key issues facing the country. In the absence of that, people’s deep anxiety about the state of the country and their personal lives will overshadow any incremental policies or actions it roles out.

For the Conservatives, these numbers reinforce the strong position the party is in at the moment. More people have a positive view of Pierre Poilievre than either of the two major leaders. They are seen as best able to handle most of the top issues people are focused on and if the desire for change persists and they are seen as capable and acceptable alternatives, they will easily ride the wave into office whenever the next election comes.

Yes, the election could be years away. But the trend is what matters and the Liberal situation is worsening at this point from week to week.”

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The survey was conducted with 2,125 Canadian adults from September 9 to 13, 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 +/- 2.1%, 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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