Philippe J. Fournier: The latest 338 projection shows Liberals dropping two seats a day since the campaign began. Conservatives are the new favorites.
It was (another) tough week for Justin Trudeau’s liberals in public opinion polls. The trends we observed in the first week of this short campaign continued and even intensified in the second week. With support for Liberals spiraling downward in key regions of Canada, multiple polls now show that Conservatives have taken the lead in voting intentions in the country. In the latest seat projections, the Conservatives and Liberals may now be side by side, but the all-important “momentum” of this campaign is clearly on the side of Erin O’Toole’s team.
Let’s take a look at last week’s polls:
- At the beginning of last week, the Angus Reid Institute, Leger, Abacus facts and Ipsos all published figures indicating that the Liberals had lost ground during the first week of the campaign. With stricter voting intentions (particularly in Ontario), these Internet panel polls gave Liberals a national advantage of between one and four points over Conservatives. We look forward to the latest figures from these companies next week to see if the Liberal Party has slowed this trend.
- According to the three polling companies with daily continuous surveys, namely Mainstreet Research, EKOS and Nano Research, support for the Liberals dropped significantly throughout the week, while the Conservative Party (CCP) advanced. As of this morning, Nanos leads the CPC by a modest 2-point margin, while EKOS and Mainstreet lead the CPC far ahead, at 6 and 10 points respectively over the Liberals. All three pollsters now show a statistical tie in Ontario, and all have the CCP regaining levels of support comparable to 2019 in western Canada, a region that, since Erin O’Toole’s election to CCP leadership in August 2020 initially seemed lukewarm to the new Conservative leader.
- Support for the PND was broadly stable during the week with national support between 19 and 22 percent. Jagmeet Singh’s team is anticipated to make potential gains in Ontario and appears to have increased their support a bit on the prairies. In Quebec, we will have to see if the return of former MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau will move the needle in the province. Obviously, without the local polls in driving Berthier-MaskinongéIt will be difficult to know if Brosseau has a real chance of taking over the leadership that he narrowly lost to Bloc Québécois in 2019, but his return is positive news for Singh in Quebec.
- For the Bloc Québécois, all polls from last week indicate support below 30 percent in Quebec. With figures ranging between 23 and 29 percent in the province, support for the Bloc appears to have waned since 2019, so some constituencies won by the BQ in 2019 could be in danger of changing color. Furthermore, with the rise in popularity of Erin O’Toole in other parts of the country, Yves-François Blanchet will have to adjust his strategy to maintain his party’s paths as of 2019, especially in the Quebec City area and among the elderly, traditionally more on the right. centrist voters, whom the CCP is targeting.
- The Green Party of Canada is in grave danger of going off the map in this election. Based on current projections, Green MP Paul Manly could be in danger of losing his Nanaimo-Ladysmith lead on Vancouver Island (currently in a three-way fight with the Conservatives and the NDP). If the trend continues, former leader Elizabeth May could, once again, become the only elected member of her party.
- Finally, the polls differ somewhat in terms of support for Maxime Bernier’s Popular Party. The Mainstreet and EKOS IVR polls have measured national support of up to 6-7 percent for the PPC, but other polling firms measure the party in the 2-4 percent range. Can Bernier be chosen in his house on horseback Beauce? This is difficult to assess at the moment, especially since it is in Quebec where PPC support is lowest among traditional survey regions in Canada.
Here are 338Canada’s updated vote projections. We note that the Conservative Party has taken the lead for the first time since the start of the pandemic. However, the current gap between the CCP and the Liberals is still less than the uncertainty of the projection, so we must still call this a statistical tie between the two parties:
However, even though it is technically a statistical tie, one party has been in decline since the court order fell on August 15, and the other has been gaining ground since the first day of the campaign. Here are the vote projections from the beginning of August. While the NDP and BQ have been generally stable, the lines at the top are clearly moving in opposite directions:
In terms of seats, the Liberals have dropped to an average of 140 seats from coast to coast, and the Conservatives have caught up:
While the Liberal Party and Conservative Party seat projections overlap around the same values, it is worth noting that in my column published two weeks ago, the Liberals averaged 166 seats. Therefore, the Liberals have fallen for average two seats a day since the campaign began, and we still don’t know if that slide has stabilized.
The most significant move in voting intentions comes from Ontario. When the campaign began, the Liberals held an average 10-point advantage over the Conservatives. Both parties are now tied in the province, and seat projections in Ontario have moved accordingly:
Nor should we rule out the CPC increase in British Columbia in the past two weeks. Although regional sample sizes in federal polls are smaller for British Columbia than Ontario and Quebec (and therefore should be used with caution), we see a significant move in favor of conservatives at the expense of liberals in the province. While the Liberal Party appeared on its way to breakthrough in British Columbia just two weeks ago, it now looks like it will have to fight for many of the seats it won in 2019:
In Quebec, we have not yet seen any noticeable movement in voting intentions since the campaign was launched. In fact, with the exception of the Bloc’s modest decline, voting intentions in the province essentially remain glued to the results of the 2019 elections. However, if the Bloc remains below the 30 percent mark, it will This is most likely to benefit the Liberals and could potentially translate into additional seats for the Quebec Liberals. The first French debate on the TVA network (Québécor) will take place this Thursday (September 2), so this week we will closely follow the numbers in Quebec.
Against all expectations last month, the Conservatives should now be seen as the favorites to win the most seats in Canada. Of course, today’s update puts the Liberals and the CCP in a statistical tie, but one party is in freefall while the other has been on the rise. So the question is: Will the CCP be able to maintain this momentum of public support until Election Day?
In 2015 and 2019, Justin Trudeau had his best campaign performances as the underdog in the race. Will he be able to repeat this feat, or will the 2021 campaign become “the campaign too many” for Trudeau? What at first appeared to be a boring federal campaign has turned into the opposite.
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