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Each day during the 2021 Federal Election campaign, researchers at Abacus Data will share insights and analysis from our polling in concise, insights-focused reports. To never miss our polls and analysis, subscribe to our newsletter.

By Ihor Korbabicz

Yesterday we examined “Despite O’Toole” Tory voters and what made them unique. What jumped out most was not that they exist, but how many of them there were in the current CPC vote, especially compared to substantial pro-Singh and pro-Trudeau enthusiasm among NDP and Liberal voters.

Is this something that can be reasonably expected to evolve for Mr. O’Toole? By no means a comprehensive analysis, we looked to see how the Prime Minister’s experience tracked in each election prior, being the only candidate with more than 2 federal elections under his belt. We examined polling results recorded at the start of each respective campaign period for 2015 and 2019 to see how they compared to the strong relationship between his reputation and vote intention today.

Of the waves sampled, Justin Trudeau’s vote has always had strong synergies with his personal popularity, with both his 2015 and 2019 LPC voting bloc seeing strong affect for the Prime Minister. Today’s LPC vote is even more associated with the Prime Minister than it was before (+6 % pts view him positively).

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I don’t interpret these data points to mean anything particularly good or bad for the Prime Minister, only to say that there is some evidence that a vote for LPC has been more about PM Trudeau personally, and that any possible phenomenon of LPC voters holding their nose to vote for the PM because of a “big L” Liberal brand loyalty seems both scarce historically and in the present day.

That said, though “Despite Trudeau” voters are few and far between, they exist. And their foundational political perspective is that the Liberal option is better than alternative. Few are unhappy with what the Liberals are done, but they are far less likely to say the Trudeau has done a good job overall. They accept a mixed record and are willing to park with the LPC for now.

What to make of all this? The early data suggests that the Liberals’ existing support may be stickier than what O’Toole’s team is working with. That doesn’t mean he’ll never beat Trudeau’s popular vote. It only means existing Liberal voters – wholly 33% of the voting public – today have maintained a fondness for the Prime Minister through significant tenure with a fair share of scandals.

It’s worth acknowledging that there are many who dislike the Prime Minister and have removed themselves entirely from the Liberal camp to begin with, no doubt driven to other political homes. And there are, to be sure, plenty of voters to steal from all across the political spectrum. Yet having the majority of the 33% of voters who would vote Liberal today comprised of Justin Trudeau enthusiasts will make stealing vote share from the governing party a bit harder than might otherwise be the case.

METHODOLOGY

The survey was conducted with 1500 Canadian adults from August 9th to 12th, 2021. 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 +/- 2.5%, 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 follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here:  https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/

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