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Download the detailed tables and full report here.

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

Liberals ahead by six: 35%-29%.

More feel Canada headed in right direction (43%) than on the wrong track (25%).

However, only 19% say Conservatives “have governed well enough to deserve re-election”, while 42% say Conservatives “have governed so poorly that they deserve to be voted out of office”. Many (33%) feel “somewhere in between” 

First of several releases in the coming two week. For interviews or quotes, or to find out more about our services, please contact our Chairman Bruce Anderson banderson@abacusdata.ca (613-882-0929) or CEO David Coletto at david@abacusdata.ca  (613-232-2806) As federal political parties gear up for the fall sitting of Parliament, and the countdown to a federal election, our latest poll continues to have the Liberals ahead of the Tories in voter preferences.  The Liberals are ahead by six points at 35% with the Conservatives at 29%, and the NDP trailing with 22%.

Slide1 In Ontario, the situation is very competitive, with the Liberals at 36%, the Conservatives at 35% and the NDP at 19%.  In Quebec, the Liberals lead with 35%, followed by the NDP at 26%, the BQ at 20% and the Conservatives with 14%. Our numbers show Liberal leads in Atlantic Canada and BC, strength for the Conservatives in Alberta and competitive situations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Conservatives lead among those aged 60 and over (CPC 36%, LPC 32%, NDP 22%) but trail the Liberals among all other age groups.  The Liberals have an 11-point lead among 30 to 44 year olds and a 5-point lead among 45 to 59 year olds.

How’s the Country Doing?

It’s often argued that incumbents benefit when people think things are generally going in the right direction, and suffer when the opposite feeling takes hold.  Right now, this is not the pattern we see in Canadian public opinion. More people (43%) say the country is going in the right direction than the wrong direction (25%).  This includes not only a majority of Conservative voters, but a plurality of NDP and Liberal voters too.  “Right direction” is also the plurality view among all age groups, both genders and in every region but Quebec. For the Conservatives, the 14-point gap between the 29% who say they are planning on voting Conservative and the 43% who say things in Canada are generally going well is a critical target group.  This represents clear opportunity for the Conservatives but also a reminder that they cannot take for granted that better economic times are a guarantee of support.  For some voters, it may work the opposite way: a healthy economy implies less risk associated with changing governments.

How well has the Conservative Party Governed?

While 43% feel the country is generally headed in the right direction, fewer (33%) approve of the job being done by the Harper government today.  The plurality (44%) disapproves, and the rest (23%) are somewhere between these two points of view.  In the three provinces which elect the most MP’s, approval is lower in BC (28%) and Quebec (20%), and stronger (40%) in Ontario. We also asked if the Conservatives have “governed well enough to deserve re-election, or poorly enough to be voted out of office”.  One in five (19%) said “well enough to deserve re-election” while more than twice that number (38%) said “poorly enough to be voted out”. The rest (32%) were “somewhere in between these two views” Slide2

Worth noting:

  • Among those who voted Conservative in 2011, only 47% say they have governed well enough to deserve re-election, while 10% said poorly enough to be tossed out, and the rest were somewhere in between.  These numbers suggest an ”enthusiasm shortage” affecting the coalition that elected the Conservative majority in 2011.
  • At the same time, among those who voted NDP and Liberal in 2011, there are plenty of voters who aren’t sure the Conservatives have governed all that poorly. Among those who voted Liberal, just 54% say the Conservatives have governed poorly enough to be thrown out.  Among 2011 NDP voters, 62% have this view.  For the government’s opponents these numbers suggest an “outrage shortage” and suggest that the mood for change is far from red-hot or rock solid.

In our upcoming releases, we explore perceptions of different leaders and reactions to some of the positions they have taken, with possible implications for the 2015 election


Our survey was conducted online with 1,614 respondents by Abacus Data, August 15 to 18, 2014. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of Canadians, recruited and managed by Research Now, one of the world’s leading provider of online research samples.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.5%, 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.

Abacus Data is an innovative, fast growing public opinion and marketing research consultancy. We use the latest technology, sound science, and deep experience to generate research based advice to our clients.  We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and value added insight. Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, PhD. For more information, visit our website at https://www.abacusdata.ca/

Good Decisions Require Good Data.