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[Ottawa – November 11, 2010] – Canada’s federal vote intention race is once again deadlocked. What is also striking is that we once again encounter the highly unusual situation where no party can secure even 30% support from the disenchanted Canadian electorate (for the second time is less than four months). As these levels, no party is even close to forming a stable minority government, let alone a majority.

Despite a blip upward in our last reporting period for the Conservatives, this most recent poll seems to point to a political landscape which lacks any clear direction or preference. For comparison purposes, a poll conducted at this time last year showed the Conservatives with a 10-point advantage, which is no longer evident. Whatever trajectory does exist seems to suggest that the race is now too tight to produce a clear mandate for any single party; this is the new normal.

In an interesting development, however, the NDP has surged to its highest level in more than two years. Indeed, at 19.3 points, the NDP now leads among youth and Atlantic Canadians. Perhaps even more notably, if only women were voting, the NDP would be tied with the governing Conservative Party, who now find their clear advantage reduced to older voters, Albertans, and men.

The Liberals, meanwhile, have taken a statistically insignificant lead in both Ontario and British Columbia while the Conservatives remain unrivalled in Alberta and the prairies. The education gap that emerged over the summer has returned, with the Liberals holding a 12-point lead among university graduates and the Conservatives leading the college educated by a similar margin.

It is also worth noting is that across all key measures in the survey, the gender gap appears to have widened. The Conservative Party does very well with men, but fares comparatively poorly when it comes to women. The NDP, in contrast, stands at more than 23 points among women, but lags badly among men. While gender gaps are hardly unusual, particularly among the Conservatives and the NDP, the difference is now so pronounced that the two parties are now statistically tied among women. Along with the familiar and traditional regional differences, gender and educational attainment are now producing profound fault lines in the Canadian political landscape.

This week, we also updated a number of our indicators on economic confidence. The results show that Canadians have a somewhat gloomy outlook on their financial situation and they are particularly pessimistic regarding their short-term prospects. Notwithstanding the recovery in the “statistical economy”, only than one-third of Canadians feel they will be better off financially in the next year, while a similar number feel they will be worse off. Just under half say they will be better off five years from now.

Labour market outlook is also somewhat shaky, though remains relatively positive by historical standards. One in five respondents worry they may lose their job over the next couple of months, a figure that has not changed since the onset of the recession. It is, however, notable that less than half of Canadians can agree that there is little chance they could lose their jobs over the next couple of years. It is interesting to note that these concerns are high in places that were historically resilient to these anxieties: Ontario, the baby boomers, and even university educated do not feel immune to the threats and vagaries of the current labour market.

Lastly, respondents were asked whether they supported the government’s decision to purchase a fleet of 65 new F-35A fighter jets. The results show that Canadians are divided on the issue, with a slim majority opposed. Those who “strongly” support the purchase, however, are confined primarily to Conservative supporters and are vastly outnumbered by those who are strongly opposed. Support is also stronger among men, seniors, and residents of Alberta while opposition is strongest among Quebeckers and university graduates.

Click here for the full report: full_report_november_11_2010

1 comment to RACE DEADLOCKED AS CPC SINKS AND NDP RISES – November 11, 2010

  • David

    This poll is in total contrast to the current trend of all other national polls. It doesn’t make sense. CTV broadcasted a Nanos poll (for example) 2 days ago saying that the Conservatives have a significant lead, 37% to 32% to 15% which seems more along that feeling on the street sensation. I guess it is all according to which news agency is sponsoring the poll and holding the leash.
    Thank you