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Race Tightens to Three-Way Race Again as NDP Slips

[Ottawa – June 19, 2015] The NDP continues to hold on to an insignificant lead, but they have been brought back to Earth by the return of Gilles Duceppe in Quebec and a mild resuscitation of the flagging Liberal and Conservative fortunes. There is some encouraging news for the Liberals who have seen a mild rebound, which is possibly linked to the major announcements of early week. This rebound has left the Liberal Party only five points out of the lead, half the distance they encountered last week.

The brief ascension of the NDP to lead in Ontario has halted (we urged caution on reading too deeply last week) and the Conservatives now have a slight lead with the NDP and Liberals tightly bunched at 30 and 27 points, respectively. This is a potentially major development in favour of the Conservatives who will now see many more seats won with slender pluralities due to vote splitting on the center-left, if these numbers were to persist. The NDP decline was also particularly pronounced with men.






The Duceppe effect

Gilles Duceppe’s surprising return to lead the Bloc Québécois has produced a modest but significant shake up of the Quebec voter landscape. The development has been nearly universally noted by Quebec voters and has been met with mixed reactions. One-quarter of Quebeckers say they are now more likely to vote for the Bloc Québécois, while two-fifths say they are less likely.


Looking at the impact of Mr. Duceppe’s return to politics broken down by party affiliation, we see that Bloc Québécois supporters are largely excited; two-thirds say they are now more likely to vote for their party. Conservative and Liberal supporters, meanwhile, couldn’t care less, with virtually nobody in these groups saying they are more likely to vote Bloc. NDP supporters, however, are somewhat more open to voting Bloc now that Mr. Duceppe is back in the captain’s chair and it appears that many former Bloc supporters who have since defected to the NDP are now re-considering their options.

In the end, the net impacts of Mr. Duceppe’s return may end up being insignificant, but the immediate impact has been to greatly shore up the existing Bloc Québécois base and to eat into the NDP’s now much smaller lead in Quebec. The Liberals have seen a sharp uptick in Quebec and now find themselves within the margin of error of the somewhat diminished NDP (flowers on the way to Gilles from Justin, no doubt).



Second choice

The second choice responses continue to point to the depth of Stephen Harper’s challenges. The Conservatives have very little room to grow whereas the NDP and Liberals have large and ample ceilings. Unfortunately for those seeking a change of government, the symmetry of second choice across Liberal and NDP voters shows they are fishing from the same pond and that growth in one will be cannibalized from the other progressive party, which will abet Harper’s prospects. That is pretty critical for the Conservatives because not only do they have precious little room for growth, but the ratings of broad direction of the federal government have reached one of their worst scores in seven years (inauspicious timing as we approach Election).






Canadians prefer reform to abolition when it comes to the Senate

From coast to coast, Canadians believe that something needs to be done about the Senate. Just one in ten Canadians are content with the status quo, at least in the face of the constitutional hurdles associated with other options. It seems that amid all the partisan noise about outright abolition versus fixing the Senate’s democratic deficit and glaring lack of accountability, reform has come out one top. Forty-five per cent say the Senate reform is the best option, while 35 per cent say only abolition will do. Interestingly, even NDP supporters, whose leader has been leading the fight for abolition for some time, still prefer reform to abolition, although by a much narrower margin than supporters of other parties.



Our tracking on Senate abolition reveals that, despite the plethora of scandals that have rocked the upper house in recent years, support for abolition has actually receded in recent years (an important caveat, however, is needed: we last asked this question during the height of the Senate spending scandal, just days after Mike Duffy alleged that Stephen Harper had coerced him into accepting a personal cheque). Not surprisingly, support is notably higher among NDP supporters.


Whatever fate ultimately decrees for the Canadian Senate, it is clear that average citizens want to be part of the decision making process. Six in ten would like to see a national referendum on the issue, rather than leave the matter in the hands of our leaders.


Predicted winner

Overall, the mild NDP regression to a statistical tie may be reflective of an electorate that are now catching up with their newfound prominence. We see a lot of uncertainty among voters as to what will happen in October, but a very sharp rise in the incidence of those who see the NDP as a potential winner. No doubt this new outlook is causing a more critical look at the NDP and other possible configurations. It may also have raised some hackles with Conservative supporters who are up marginally from last week.



Concluding remarks

Overall, we see a renewed three-way race with still surprising but clear NDP strength. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals may be showing signs of ‘getting their mojo back’ on the heels of a pretty bold and visible set of concrete ideas for change. The public are now as uncertain as we are of what is going to happen in October, but the race continues to evolve and shift as we approach the real campaign period.


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 10-16, 2015. In total, a random sample of 3,834 Canadian adults aged 18 and over responded to the survey. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/-1.6 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 19, 2015)

English Questionnaire (June 19, 2015)
French Questionnaire (June 19, 2015)

13 comments to Race Tightens to Three-Way Race Again as NDP Slips

  • Steve Bourne

    Glad to see the return to reason with the liberals on the rebound.Who really believes a NDP government was elected in Alberta it was a progressive coalition vote for change and a vote for a charismatic leader.

  • Smagik

    It would be nice to have more detailed information available. I would very much like to know what the male/female effect is on the different age groups and by education.

  • Given the fact that the Federal New Democrats have been able to hold the lead Nationally in the face of the return of Gilles Duceppe for the Bloc and the release of the Liberal platform last week there should be no doubt in the electorates minds that the New Democrats are still the prefered choice for the people of this Country as a NEW ELECTED GOVERNMENT FOR THIS COUNTRY.It will certainly be interesting to see if Justin Trudeau can hold on to this mild increase in support and if Gilles Duceppe can revive the fortunes of the Bloc Quebec.The one thing that seems to be constant is the continuing retirements and resignations from the Conservative Party as the Election draws closer to reality.The only true way to know the outcome is through time and the will of the people of this Country.

    • Alcoholics Anonymous

      Gilles Duceppe is a waste of time, regardless of this years election outcome I doubt the Bloc will gain a lot of seats either.

  • Captain Canada

    With your powers combined, we can elect an NDP majority!

  • I’ve compiled a list of current candidates running in the federal elections: http://shafquatarefeen.com/canadavotes
    Find out who’s your next MP!

  • Jordan Hill

    Can you explore the public opinion on minority or coalition government? Which combinations do voters prefer? Which would be best for Canada’s future? If seats are more or less equal, how important is it that the party with the most seats forms the next government as compared to the party or parties that can survives a vote of confidence in the House?

  • Jordan Hill

    Is there a list of ridings said that are hotly contested, say within the margin of error? These will be the ridings that tactical, strategic voters new voters or undecideds might swing the result either way?

  • You forgot that they both want to amend and repeal sections of C51, reform the senate so it acts like the non partisan body it should be, change the child benefit so it’s targeted and not universal, etc. Man, Harper and Trudeau are like the same person it’s so disgusting.

  • bill

    has the canadian voter learned nothing? see bob rae. see 50 yrs of NDP in sask. they will leave a wake of ruin like nothing you have ever seen. already happening in alberta and it’s been 3 weeks. when the government changed in sask the effect was immediate. we are now a have province and the envy of everywhere. it has become the place to be. sorry folks, that is just the simple reality. unfortunately ontario has not recovered from rae yet as they are still receiving transfers from sask. yep, imagine that, ontario, heart of canadian manufacturing, receiving money from hayseed country. who knew

  • mohammed khan

    NDP keep yourself awake. Canadian voters will be shocked to see a landslide victory of NDP. Wish you all the best Mr. Mulcair.

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