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338 Canada: Trudeau’s Choice to Lose

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Philippe J. Fournier: Most are within the reach of the liberals, but the current level of support from the NDP could still spoil their plans.

After months of speculation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally decided to put his entire chip in the electoral pot, betting that his handling of the pandemic so far (because no, it is not over) will win only enough voters in the right districts to ensure a majority in the House of Commons.

While the fortunes of any match can change a penny if a campaign goes off track, the currently available data suggests that it is not an unreasonable gamble. Liberals have been leading voting intentions consistently for over a year and, according to Léger biweekly tracker, about half of Canadian voters still approve of the federal government’s handling of the pandemic, including 49 percent approval in both Ontario and Quebec, and 44 percent in British Columbia. In normal times these would be considered solid numbers for any holder, regardless of affiliation.

Part of the liberal calculations has to be related to O’Toole’s poor personal numbers of late. Poll after poll shows the Conservative leader as the least appreciated federal leader:

  • In the most recent Abacus Data poll released last week, the Conservative leader had a net impression of minus-19 (positive impression minus negative impression), the lowest among current federal leaders and significantly worse than O’Toole’s predecessor. at this time two years ago. . In August 2019, two months before Election Day, Andrew Scheer had a score of minus 3. View the Abacus report here.
  • In a Léger survey published by Le Journal de Montréal on Saturday, O’Toole ranked third behind Trudeau and Singh as the preferred prime minister. To the question, “Which federal leader would be the best PM?” Trudeau was the choice of 25 percent of respondents and Singh, 18 percent. Only 15 percent elected O’Toole even though 30 percent of the decided voters in that poll still intend to vote for the CCP. See the Léger report here.
  • In its latest survey, the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) asked its panel which problem facing Canada they were most concerned about. The top three responses were, in order, 1) environment / climate change, 2) medical care, and 3) the COVID-19 pandemic. When asked which federal leader is best suited to deal with these issues, O’Toole ranked third out of all three (O’Toole performs best on economic issues). View ARI report here.

However, Trudeau’s path to the majority could be impeded from his left flank. With the NDP approaching the 20 percent mark nationally, the party could realistically increase its membership by at least a dozen seats, with many of those coming from Ontario and British Columbia. With such levels of support, many urban seats currently held by Liberal MPs should be the target of Jagmeet Singh’s candidates. If the NDP succeeds in translating this support into votes, the 170-seat threshold could be out of reach for the Liberals, and we would potentially find ourselves in a nearly identical Parliament within five weeks.

Here’s the updated national vote projection from 338Canada:

The Liberals remain in first place with an average of 35%, just two points above the result of the party in 2019. The Conservatives are in second place with 30%, a level of support decidedly lower than what the party needs to have. some hope. to win the most seats. But despite O’Toole’s low personal figures, it would be foolish to dismiss the party: the CCP is still voting near or at its 2019 level of support in both Quebec and Ontario, and it remains the dominant party in the West, although less. than with Andrew Scheer in 2019. (See the full list of federal polls at this page.)

As mentioned above, the current level of support from the NDP could potentially ruin the liberals’ plans (outside of Quebec). However, polls also show that the NDP’s main supporters are among younger voters, a demographic that historically votes in smaller numbers. This will be the main challenge for the NDP: to translate the support into real votes at the polls. In 2019, the NDP underperformed its polls by an average of 2 points nationally, possibly costing Singh between five and 10 seats.

In Quebec, the Bloc Québécois has been voting in the high 20s and low 30s in the province for most of this 43rd Parliament, enough for a close second behind Liberals on average. However, yesterday’s Léger poll showed Liberals ahead in Quebec by a 12-point margin over BQ, so Yves-François Blanchet may have to play a bit defensive in constituencies that he won by modest. margins two years ago.

Here are the 338Canada’s seat projections at the starting line:


According to the 338Canada electoral model, the Trudeau Liberals win an average of 166 seats, just below the majority threshold of 170. However, the confidence intervals (colored bars in the graph) extend to the territory of the majority in approximately 45% of all simulations performed. by the model. So while a minority of LPC is still the most likely scenario today, a majority is very close at hand.

However, Ipsos CEO Darrell Bricker raised a crucial point last week regarding voter turnout. In this century’s federal general elections, the Conservatives won three relatively low turnout elections in 2006, 2008 and 2011, in part due to the CCP’s usual high numbers among older (and high turnout) voters. In 2015, the young voters who turned out were crucial to Trudeau’s first victory, and many of them reappeared in 2019. How turnout will affect this pandemic election could be an important factor in determining the total final seats a Once all the votes are counted.

Later this week, we’ll dive into more detailed analysis of which regions and what type of voters each party will target to maximize their chances of winning. For the duration of this 36-day campaign, you can expect this column several times a week. We will update all numbers as they become available. Buckle up, dear readers.

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Details of this projection are available in the 338 Canada Page. To find your home district, use this list of the 338 electoral districts, or use the regional links below:

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