About EKOS Politics

We launched this website in order to showcase our election research, and our suite of polling technologies including Probit and IVR. We will be updating this site frequently with new polls, analysis and insight into Canadian politics. EKOS's experience, knowledge and sophisticated research designs have contributed positively to many previous elections.

Other EKOS Products

In addition to current political analysis, EKOS also makes available to the public general research of interest, including research in evaluation, general public domain research, as well as a full history of EKOS press releases.

Media Inquires

For media inquires, please contact: Frank Graves President EKOS Research Associates t: 613.235-7215 [email protected]

NDP Continues to Rise as Liberals and Conservatives Continue to Slide


[Ottawa – June 12, 2015] For five of our last six polls, the NDP has improved its standing with Canadian voters and the party now stands at 33.6 per cent, a 16-point improvement over its modern low just four months ago. The NDP have nearly double the support that they did this time out from the 2011 election. Support for the Conservatives and the Liberals, meanwhile, continues to languish with the two parties standing at 27 points and 23 points, respectively.

The NDP sits just three-points ahead of their 2011 election standing. The Liberals, while at their lowest point since Justin Trudeau became leader, are still four points ahead of where they were four years ago. It is the Conservatives who are down nearly 13 points.



The NDP’s improbable rise continues as both the Conservatives and Liberals slide

The NDP are strong in every region of the country and the party leads in Ontario and Quebec. An important caveat, however, is that the huge NDP lead in Ontario is new and should be treated with caution until we see it confirmed. The large NDP lead in Quebec, in contrast, is more stable and we definitely feel the NDP are in very strong shape there. It will be interesting to see how Gilles Duceppe’s surprise return to politics impacts the NDP’s standing and we will be returning to this issue next week.


The most troubling feature of NDP support (for the NDP, that is) is their large tilt to younger voters. One-third of the party’s constituency is under the age of 35. These voters typically don’t vote in great numbers and they are a highly fluid group in terms of their proclivity to bounce between political affiliations. Furthermore, the NDP trails significantly among seniors, a group that reliably votes in large numbers. We would therefore advise exercising caution in interpreting the NDP strength.


On the other hand, the NDP vote is hugely concentrated with the university educated who do tend to vote, which may (at least partially) offset the party’s age disadvantage. Also, Canada’s young educated vote is not that far off from the national average in terms of voting levels. Indeed, the true deficiency in youth voting is the economically vulnerable, precariat portion of that segment.


The Conservatives, meanwhile, must be concerned that while they lead with seniors, they have lost strength with the segment that is critical to their prospects for success.

So why are all of the educated voters flocking to the NDP?

“If recent history and public judgements are any guide, the citizenry of the near future, who will have to live with their consequences, will rue any further emphasis on security over civil liberties, personal freedoms, and economic productivity.”

-Frank Graves, October 28, 2014

There are a lot of potential explanations as to why university educated voters have rallied around the NDP, but we are going to look at one possible angle. Some have speculated that the Liberal position on Bill C-51 is a factor. We offer some new data to test this hypothesis. While imperfect, it leaves the hypothesis in the realm of plausibility as one of the causes of the drift. And recall that the NDP rise is pretty commensurate with the Liberal decline and is most likely churning of the promiscuous progressive vote seeking the best home to defeat Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party.

Awareness of C-51 is very high by the standards of this scale, and it has grown somewhat over the past few months. The majority of respondents claim to be ‘clearly’ aware. It therefore passes the test of having enough salience to be a game changer.


Looking at the charts below, we see that support for C-51 has declined sharply and that there is now clear majority opposition compared to majority support a couple of months back (the period which coincides with the Liberals and NDP changing places). It is also notable that strong opposition is twice as high as strong support, which suggests that growing opposition is emotionally engaging.



These findings echo the trends noted in an essay we released in the wake of the Parliament Hill shootings where we cautioned that while Canadians are often initially supportive of measures designed to protect ourselves at home, this support quickly tapers off. Virtually every response to the spectre and reality of terrorism over the past decade has ultimately been deemed to have failed in hindsight. The public downright reject the narrative that threats to our security can be resolved through further restrictions on personal freedoms and they will hold their leaders to account for any decisions which further erode civil liberties.

We believe that Conservative decline is linked to the declining salience of security. The moral panic associated with bringing in heightened security after the episodes in the fall has dissipated and Bill C-51 no longer appears reasonable, particularly in progressive Canada. Indeed, the Conservatives have now returned to the levels they were at in mid-October, before the Parliament Hill incident and the security wave which propelled Stephen Harper into a clear lead.

Nobody holds distinct advantage on best plan

Finally, it appears that no party holds a clear advantage on having the best plan for the future of the country as a whole. The NDP is doing slightly better and the Conservatives, while not necessarily down, have certainly not risen. In terms best plan for individual citizens, the trend lines are a bit clearer, but hardly substantive. The NDP has enjoyed a steady rise in terms of the perceived merits of their plan for the Canadians themselves. The party now enjoys a six-point advantage over both the Liberals and the Conservatives. The Conservative Party, meanwhile, has seen a gentle erosion in public confidence in their ability to present the best plan for Canadians.



Finally, no party has a distinct lead in terms of the clarity of their plan. While the NDP has seen a modest but sustained rise in terms of the perception that they offer the clearest plan, they still find themselves in statistical tie with both the Conservatives and the Liberals.


If there is a tentative winner in the battle for the best plan, it is the NDP, who have come out ahead in terms of offering the best ideas for individuals, but can not seem to make any real progress in terms of establishing themselves as the best party to lead the country. If there is a loser, it is the Conservative Party who, despite having passed a highly-publicized budget that was designed to cater to the personal needs of their constituents, have been unable to improve their standing in this area (quite the opposite, in fact). The Liberal Party is neither a winner nor a loser, as they have held their ground, but have so far failed to make any real headway.

There is nothing definite or clear in guiding us to understand what might happen in Ontario. What we do know is that we have a rising NDP, an incumbent in serious trouble, and a Liberal Party which appears to have switched places with the NPD as the “other” alternative. All of this has changed over the past month and it can all change again. We believe the critical ingredient for success will be who offers the best plan that most closely captures the broadest span of public values and interests.


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 June 3-9, 2015. In total, a random sample of 2,491 Canadian adults aged 18 and over responded to the survey. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/-2.0 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 (June 12, 2015)

23 comments to NDP Continues to Rise as Liberals and Conservatives Continue to Slide

  • Chris

    I think that, in the first sentence of the final paragraph, you mean “what might happen in October”, not “what might in Ontario.”

    Cheers, and thanks for your work!

  • Erik Swanson

    I couldn’t help but notice that even the Conservative base, which is around 30%, seems to be leaving them.

  • Martin

    Are the Saskatchewan number right for the Greens and the Liberals? The results show:

    Liberal Party 8.4%
    Conservative Party 41.0%
    NDP 24.7%
    Green Party 22.5%

  • Seeing Cons & Libs at 50.2% combined – I think that must be a record low for the big 2 combined. In a Proportional Representation model they might be able to be excluded from a deal and the NDP/Greens/Others could be in power together. Weird.

  • Brett

    Hello. Isn’t there an error in the regional graph regarding the percentage of Green Party support in Saskatchewan?? Somehow I doubt they are at 23%, while the Liberals are at 8%!

  • Peter M

    One of the factors at play here is the gulf between the Conservative mandate in 2011 and their legislative program and conduct once they had a majority. The minority Parliaments leading up to their 2011 victory were used to allay Canadian fears that the Harper Conservatives were too extreme to be allowed to govern. They went out of their way to moderate their image. Once elected, the omnibus bills began ramming radical change through Parliament and the calls for more transparency and accountability were not only forgotten, but flatly contradicted by a range of policy decisions and legislative initiatives. Contempt for Parliament rose to levels never seen before.

    It seems that people have noticed.

  • Roy Schneider

    The sample size for Saskatchewan is 99. That means a margin of error of +/-9.9 percentage points nineteen times out of twenty. With such a large margin of error, the Liberals could be as high as 18.3% and the Greens as low as 12.6% That would be roughly in line with last weeks results: Liberal 17% in Saskatchewan and Green Party 12%. My jaw dropped when I saw those numbers too, they appear to be consistent with the margin of error for that sample size.

  • Gerald Livingstone

    The truly astonishing numbers in this poll are those from Ontario (NDP 36, Lib 26, Cons 26).

    They represent a seismic shift away from the usual preferences and if confirmed, will equal an unprecedented new direction for Canadian politics.

    We appear to be on the edge of a new political era.

  • Interestingly in Ontario the incumbent (liberals ) are in trouble and the Ndp has risen to heights not seen since 1990 and the opposition (cons) weak . In this case after marginalizing themselves on the extreme right
    So seeming like Harper/Harris clones

  • Burris Devanney

    The rise of Harperism made me disillusioned with this country in which I once felt proud. The fact that Canadians have begun paying attention once again to the details and implications of such legislation as C-51, as well as to the implications of other acts and attitudes of the Harper government, has begun to restore my confidence in this country.

  • C MacGregor

    I believe the Liberals shot themselves in the foot with their stand onm Bill C-51. What makes me nervous about Mulcair is his dogmatic and unachievable sink the Senate diatribe. It is worth stating that as bad as the abuse of Senate privileges appears at this point, more than 7 out of 10 Senators received a clean bill of health from the auditor gemeral. The function of the senate is important in a parliamentary system and it is important to restore it to its proper role by eliminating the PMO’s non-elected and not legislated stranglehold on Conservative Senators. As the public learns more about the Senate, their reaction to the NDP may well parallel the impact of Bill C-51 on the Liberals.

  • R Lamba

    The senate is nothing more than rubber stamp for the government in office, totally useless waste of money. They stall bills the PMO doesn’t want passed and push through bills the PMO likes. There is no way to bring independent thought to a PM appointed organization, to believe otherwise is pure fantasy.

    Will abolishing the senate be difficult for Mulcair sure but so is finding a cure for cancer. Researchers don’t stop searching for a cancer cure because it’s difficult. Yeah I think cancer and the senate are a great analogy, they both need to be cut out.

    While the two senate parties love their private retirement home in the senate and have for years complained about it neither has made any real effort to do anything. I’ll vote for the party that will actually try.

  • Beth Scotchman

    There isn’t anything that would make me happier than to see the Conservatives and Liberals at the bottom come this October.Specially Harper and the Cons. They have each been taking turns ruling the proverbial roost since confederation and it is time for change once and for all.Time for the same ole old boys club to go play in the sand box for a few decades.

  • Jack Poolman

    I remember the BC elections just a while ago. The press had pretty well decided before the election that the NDP had already won with a majority. What happened on election day??? The Liberals won with a huge majority.

    Do not believe what all these “so-called” experts say is going to happen in the next federal election.

  • Glen

    Unless you’re rich or don’t mind being underworked and/or underpaid-DONT VOTE HARPER. Canada free falling economically under Harper while the US is striving under Obama.

  • Ed C

    Canadians are showing they are being totally insulted & disillusioned by the way Harper has his messengers programmed to repeat over and over the same silly scripted nonsense.
    I find it amusing that the CPC quickly tell us what the opposition parties will do when they are asked a question but, they wilfully forget/refuse to answer the question they were asked.
    IMO, the Harper CPC tend to view voters as idiots that will not be able to see through their smoke screens.
    The better off people are the more likely they are to be better educated and the better educated they are the less likely they are to vote for the CPC.
    Could this be why the CPC are less supportive of good education, good health programs, unions, good wages, etc.?

  • Jean-Pierre Ducasse

    I believe the Saskatchewan numbers to be very accurate. When I ran eight years ago in the Saskatoon-Humboldt riding, these were pretty much the exact numbers. I believe that Saskatchewan politics are determined by age. We have an aging population that votes for the conservative party regardless of their platform. It is also perceived that the conservatives represent the religious fight. Although this is not true, this is why I believe they will take Saskatchewan until the next generation steps up to bat.

  • I know that the general public had enough of Harper RIGHT WING AGENDA and public also know the damage being done with Bill C-52 the fascist police state Legislation and they have had it that s why the NDP will form Government come Oct 29th 2015 VOTE NDP


    A poll showing the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals in Quebec is simply inaccurate.

  • john worth

    as uk citizen alli know every time labour wins they wreck the economy ihope the labour party equivilent the ndp does not do the same for canada

Leave a Reply