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Liberals Still Feeling the Love, NDP not so Much

[Ottawa – April 18, 2016] The Liberals remain at stratospheric levels. The dip we saw in our last poll may be receding and the party is going strong at 44 points. The Conservatives are fairly stable, but at 29 points, they are well back of the Liberals. At 12 points, the NDP sits in a distant third place.

What is remarkable is the uniformity of the Liberal Party’s support across various demographics. Liberal support is consistent across all gender and age cohorts. These results are dramatically different from the fractured landscape that we saw during the Stephen Harper era with huge effects across age and gender. Indeed, this may well be the most balanced and representative demographic constituency that we have ever seen for a government in Canada.

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Regionally, the Liberals are soaring in Atlantic Canada, Ontario, and British Columbia. The Conservatives still lead handily in Alberta but, at 31 points, the Liberals are doing quite well here by historical standards. The Liberals now also enjoy strong support among those self-defined members of the middle class. This was not the case in the lead up to the last election.

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Trust is back

Canada may be “back”, and so is trust in government. We find the Liberals now scoring the highest marks on trust in government that we’ve seen in the 20 years we have been testing this indicator. Trust is highest among middle class Canadians and university graduates.

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In early 2014, we put out a report called Democracy and the Death of Trust. That headline, while colourful, clearly overstated the problem. Trust has rebounded from what was a borderline legitimacy crisis. In other words, Dr. Watson, trust does not appear to be dead.

This democratic boon is also reflected in similarly high levels of support for the trajectory of the federal government. Among the 44 per cent Canadians supporting the Liberal party, 93 per cent say the government is headed in the right direction. Among the diminished Conservative base, this figure drops to just 14 per cent.

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There are a number of curious factors underlying this trust renaissance. It comes in the context of an extremely gloomy outlook on the economy, which does not appear to be getting better. It reveals a pattern that is the reverse when the Conservatives gained their majority. We speculate that these impressive gains are being driven by both relief at the end of the Harper era, which saw a trust declining to near record lows. We also think that the Liberals deserve a lot of credit as they have consistently focussed on a more open and optimistic style of government which seems to be very welcome by the Canadian public.

Methodology

This survey 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 April 14-15, 2016. In total, a random sample of 1,176 Canadian adults aged 18 and over responded to the survey. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 2.9 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 (April 18, 2016)

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