October 20, 2014

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

Our latest polling results, gathered over the last week among 1,248 Canadians aged 18 and over, show that:

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– 32% of committed voters say they would support the Liberal Party in an election held tomorrow, 30% would vote for the Conservatives and 25% say they would vote NDP. This represents a 6-point drop for the Liberals and increases in undecided, NDP and Green party voters.  Conservative support is unchanged.

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– In Ontario, the race is very close, with 33% for the Liberals, 30% for the Conservatives and 28% for the NDP.  In Quebec, the Liberals and NDP are essentially tied, with the BQ (17%) and the Conservatives (14%) well back.

– 46% believe the country is heading in the right direction, similar to the 44% who said the same thing in our last survey in September. 24% think the country is “off on the wrong track”.

– 33% say they approve of the job the federal government is doing, unchanged from last month.

– The poll was conducted during a period of significant weakening in oil prices and stock markets.  So far, these events have had little apparent effect on public confidence.  65% of Canadians rate the Canadian economy as good or very good, up four points from September.  The percentage who think the Canadian economy will get worse in the next six months is up to 22% from 16% last month (+6)

– 20% say the government has “governed well enough to deserve re-election” while 38% say “governed poorly enough to be voted out of office”. These numbers are virtually identical to our September results.

– The pools of potential voters shows little shifting, with 58% (unchanged) saying they would consider voting Liberal, 51% saying they would consider voting NDP (+2), and 47% would consider voting Conservative (+2).  This suggests that the fall off in Liberal numbers is best understood as a shift from support to potential support.

The Upshot?

Some observers might have begun to wonder if anything could dent the support level for the Liberal Party under the leadership of Justin Trudeau – these numbers are a signal that the level of support enjoyed by the Liberals is not a given.

Feelings about the government have not really changed, the same proportions of people believe they are doing a good job and deserve re-election.  The recent volatility in oil and stock markets has, until this point anyway, neither helped nor harmed the incumbents’ popularity.

But even if their support levels look stagnant, the Conservatives have become more competitive: when the Liberals and NDP split the remainder of the votes this is helpful to Conservative candidates in ridings where they are competitive.

According to Bruce Anderson: “All three parties are well organized, funded, disciplined and united. Each party is led by people with different, but highly competitive skills. The best bet is that this campaign will be one of the more interesting ones to watch in many years, and the likely winners and losers will not be known anytime soon.”

According to David Coletto: “With a year to go before the scheduled date of the next General Election, our polling suggests that any of the three major parties has a road to victory. But that road for the Liberals may not be as smooth as appeared last month. For the first time in our tracking this year, we have seen some movement. Liberal support is down, NDP and Green support has ticked up, while Conservative support is holding at 30%.”

Tomorrow we will lay out our results to a series of questions about the ISIS conflict and perceptions of the Canada’s political leaders in that regard.

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Methodology

Our survey was conducted online with 1,248 respondents, October 15 to 17, 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 +/- 2.8%, 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.

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.