Conservatives open up their largest lead yet in an Abacus Data poll
December 3, 2023
From November 23 to November 28, 2023, Abacus Data conducted a national survey of 2,417 adults exploring several topics related to Canadian politics and current events as part of our regular national omnibus surveys.
In this report, we share new data on:
- Federal vote intentions and accessible voter pools
- Approval of the federal government’s performance
- Party leader impressions
- Top issues and the party Canadians think is best able to handle them
- Trudeau vs. Poilievre – Which do Canadians think is better able to handle some issues or scenarios
Federal Vote Intention
If an election were held today, 42% of committed voters would vote Conservatives with the Liberals at 23%, the NDP at 19% and the Greens at 5%. The BQ is at 32% in Quebec.
Since our last survey, the Conservatives are up 3 while every other party is down 1 point. The 19-point Conservative Party lead over the Liberals is the largest lead we have measured for the Conservatives since the Liberals were elected in 2015.
Regionally, the Conservatives are well ahead in western Canada, including in BC. The Conservatives lead by 15 in Atlantic Canada and by 13 in Ontario. In Quebec, we find the BQ ahead by 4 with the Conservatives and Liberals statistically tied. This is the second time in a month that we have measured the Conservatives numerically ahead of the Liberals in Quebec.
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Demographically, the Conservatives lead across all age groups. They lead by 12 among 18 to 29 year olds, 21 among 30 to 44 year olds,23 among 45 to 59 year olds and 20 among those aged 60 and over.
When we ask people if they would consider voting for each of the main political parties, 54% say they are open to voting Conservative while 42 are open to voting Liberal, 41% NDP, 27% for the Greens, and 20% for the People’s Party. In Quebec, 49% say they are open to voting BQ.
Over the past few months, the gap between the Conservative and Liberal accessible voter pools has increased to the point where the Conservative pool is 12-points larger than that of the Liberals
Other Underlying Opinions
Beyond vote intention, our latest survey finds little change in other key items we track.
The federal government’s approval rating is largely unchanged with 27% approving and 57% disapproving.
When it comes to federal party leader impressions, Pierre Poilievre is currently the only party leader with a net favourable impression. Currently 39% have a positive impression of the Conservative leader while 33% have a negative impression for a net score of +6.
Justin Trudeau’s net favourable is largely unchanged. Today, 28% have a positive impression compared with 56% who have a negative one for a net score of -28.
Jagmeet Singh, whose net impression has shifted from positive to negative over the past few weeks, finds 34% with a positive view and 35% with a negative view with a net score of -1.
To assess momentum, we ask people whether their impression of each leader is getting better, worse, or not changing over the past few weeks. Despite what some have said was a bad week for Mr. Poilievre, there doesn’t appear to be much of evidence of the public shifting their impressions. In fact, the net momentum scores are largely the same for each leader as they were earlier in November.
85% of Canadians would like to see a change in government with 52% feeling there is a good alternative to the Liberals available and 32% feeling there isn’t, despite a desire for change. Today, only 15% of Canadians believe Justin Trudeau and the Liberals deserve to be re-elected, down 6 points since we first asking this question in June (and before the cabinet shuffle).
All five outcomes offer the Liberals some hope that they could rebuild their winning coalition, but there’s no clear silver bullet, including the Prime Minister stepping down as leader before the next election. It’s likely a combination of these will need to happen to overcome the desire for change people are feeling.
The rising cost of living remains a top issue to 3 in 4 Canadians. Housing affordability has risen to the second most ranked issue (+3 since August) while healthcare has fallen to second place. Of note, while 1 in 5 Canadians rate climate change as one of their top 3 issues, it is down 8 points since August.
When those who rate an issue are asked which party is best able to handle it, the Conservatives lead the Liberals by 22 points on the cost of living, 16 among those who care about housing affordability, and 12 points among those who care about healthcare. They also have a 31-point advantage among those who think the economy is one of their top 3 issues.
Climate change is the only issue in which the Liberals lead other parties – with an 16-point advantage over the Conservatives among those who care about the issue.
The NDP has a 12-point advantage over the Liberals on housing and a 15-point advantage on inequality and poverty.
Finally, when we ask people whther Justin Trudeau or Pierre Poilievre is better able to handle several issues or scenarios, Poilievre leads on all except for climate change.
Poilievre has a 25-point lead on keeping taxes as low as possible, a 23-point lead on the economy, a 20-point lead on making life more affordable, and a 18-point lead on who would be best to deal with another Trump presidency.
Poilievre’s advantage over Trudeau is smaller when it comes to healthcare and childcare. On climate action, Trudeau has a small 3-point lead over Poilievre.
According to Abacus Data CEO David Coletto: “The Conservatives continue to gain over the Liberals, with their national lead rising to its largest in our tracking. The Liberals are trailing across every demographic group and in every region of the country – including Quebec.
While Trudeau’s impression remains decidedly negative, Poilievre is the only leader with a net favourable impression.
More importantly perhaps – on the key issues – whether it’s the cost of living, housing, healthcare, or the economy – the Conservative Party and the Conservative leader has a big advantage over the Liberals.
Even on climate change, Trudeau’s advantage over Poilievre is limited – 3 points and those who rate the issue as a top priority has fallen eight points since August.
Ultimately, I believe strongly that most voters ultimately vote for the party that they believe will best handle the issue they care most about. As scarcity becomes the primary concen for most people, the Conservatives have appealed more to these voters and find themselves in the most favourable position they have been in a long time. You have to go back to late 2008 to find a time when the Conservative Party was regularly polling around 40%.
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The survey was conducted with 2,417 Canadian adults from November 23 to November 28, 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: https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/
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