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Conservatives Hold Lead in Slightly Narrowed Race

[Ottawa – October 2, 2015] With just 17 days until Election Day, the Conservative Party holds a clear (albeit somewhat narrowed) lead. Our poll of last week was controversial at the time as no one else was showing a clear Conservative lead. Our internal daily tracking (now being shared after the fact) shows that the Conservative Party has held the lead for 15 consecutive days and they now find themselves in roughly the same range as where they were at this stage of the 2011 election campaign.

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A brief note on some methodological issues is in order. We have added in a parallel live interviewer stream to strengthen the reliability of our polling. The results are largely similar but we are tinkering with some variations in cellphone coverage, which seem to be affecting a couple of parties’ support levels. We will be increasing the cellphone portion of our live interviewer and reporting the integrated results as of next week. We are also tentatively planning to begin providing the rolling polling numbers (late afternoon) early next week.

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The most notable finding in our regional results is the rise of the Conservative Party in Quebec and the corresponding decline in NDP fortunes. While the NDP still has a clear lead in the province, their advantage has narrowed from a commanding 21 points as late as two weeks ago to a much less comfortable seven-point lead over the now-second-place Conservative Party. While we do not have compelling direct evidence for this argument, we would speculate that these movements are related to concerns over cultural issues related to Niqabs and refugees.

In Ontario, the race seems to be tightening with both the Liberals and the NDP up over the past week. Atlantic Canada remains firmly in Liberal hands while renewed Conservative strength in Alberta is quickly dashing the opposition’s hopes of making inroads in the province. British Columbia has morphed from clear NDP lead to a much murkier three-way (and even four-way in some ridings) race.

It is also highly notable that Conservative support rises dramatically as you move from younger to older Canada. While this is hardly a new finding (indeed, Conservative support has been more heavily concentrated in older Canada since the party’s formation), it is important because there are more seniors than there were in 2011. The Conservatives also do extremely well with the less educated, but they are still holding their own when it comes to university graduates.

In the end, we would argue that Stephen Harper’s success stems from his ability to sway the public conversation towards values and cultural issues (e.g., terrorism, Niqabs, etc.). Our previous research has shown that the Niqab ban and more closed attitudes to refugees and immigration are much more strongly supported in precisely the demographics where the Conservatives have risen.

The race is anything but settled and is still very much open, but as long as the focus remains on these issues, the opposition may be unable to change the channel to the issues that they want to talk about (for example, the economy and middle class). The opposition parties need to raise the volume on economy and consider their own values narrative about how core progressive values are threatened.

Methodology:

This study was conducted using High Definition Interactive Voice Response (HD-IVR™) technology, which allows respondents to enter their preferences by punching the keypad on their phone, rather than telling them to an operator. In an effort to reduce the coverage bias of landline only RDD, we created a dual landline/cell phone RDD sampling frame for this research. As a result, we are able to reach those with a landline and cell phone, as well as cell phone only households and landline only households.

The field dates for this survey are September 23-29, 2015. In total, a random sample of 2,609 Canadian adults aged 18 and over responded to the survey. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 1.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Please note that the margin of error increases when the results are sub-divided (i.e., error margins for sub-groups such as region, sex, age, education). All the data have been statistically weighted by age, gender, region, and educational attainment to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population of Canada according to Census data.

Click here for the full report: Full Report (October 2, 2015)

13 comments to Conservatives Hold Lead in Slightly Narrowed Race

  • P H

    Ouch those JPEG artifacts are hurting my eyeballs.

    Protip™: use png formatted images for graphs and text, and you won’t get those funny artifacts. It will looks *much* sharper. JPEG should be used for photograph-type images only.

  • Robert scrymgeour

    Vote for Trudeau in Ontario is really a vote for Kathleen Wynn Liberals.Wynn and Trudeau will only squeeze more money out of the working people and further advance there Liberal agenda.

  • Vance

    It’s a shame that the Reform Party will once again win. Canadians are morons that deserve the filth that the Republicans are giving us.

    • Realist

      Shame? It’s a blessing we’ve been run by the Conservatives this long. Imagine what kind of hell we’d be living in if the Liberals or NDP had won…….hello great depression.

  • Franck

    The conservatives loose about 2-3% of votes with each year of education above high school…. I’m just saying….

    • John

      Because there are these lunatics who get a degree in something useless like Dance and think the NDP will lead to a career for them.

    • Dominic

      Your data is reversed. Learn to read!!

    • Randy

      As all the data shows, and as anybody who looks at the map of ridings can see. the Conservative Party has become the party of the working class/middle class/rural Canada–i.e. lower income people with overall lower levels of education. It’s hilarious to hear Trudeau and Mulcair rattle on about being champions of the “middle class,” when in fact their base of support is mainly upper income, university educated people who live in the city core and well-off suburbs. Your sneering allegation that somehow people with higher levels of education “know better” when it comes to voting is so typical of the self-satisfied liberal left.

  • Nadezhda Krupskaya

    Although other pollsters show the Liberals narrowly in the lead, they don’t appear to take into consideration the fact that older, more Conservative-leaning voters are the most likely to vote on election day. As a result, the real level of Conservative support is probably understated in many, if not most of the polls. It will not be entirely surprising if the Conservatives are re-elected with a majority.

  • Interesting that the university vote is returning to the Liberals after its flirtation with the NDP.

  • SF Thomas

    Ekos for some reason seems to keep overestimating Green support at the expense of Liberal support. You should probably subtract at least 2 or 3 points from the Greens and add it to the Liberals when looking at these polls to get a more realistic sense of where things are.

  • Scott H

    I just have hard time accepting the greens will maintain that 7%-8% share. 3-4 points will likely shift to whoever seems in best position to defeat Harper which at this would be the Liberals.

  • sandra white

    what is your call for the election on oct.19/15 my riding s burlington, on
    I also would be interested for your call on the national call by province as well as the final outcome.thank you keep up the great work

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