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After 20-Day Lead, Conservatives Now Find Themselves in a Statistical Tie


[Ottawa – October 7, 2015] After holding a statistically significant lead for 20 consecutive days, the Conservative Party’s lead has shrunk to just under two points and the party is now statistically tied with the Liberal Party who, not even two months ago, were in danger of being squeezed out of what had looked like a Conservative-NDP race. The NDP, meanwhile, is not making up any ground and may in fact be falling back slightly in what is increasingly a two-way race.

There are two interesting regional developments. The first is Quebec, which has morphed from a runaway NDP lead to a complex and unpredictable four-way contest where the Conservatives are in a very real position to pick up seats. The Quebec City area and Eastern Quebec are looking particularly favourable for the Conservative Party, although Montreal remains a strictly NDP-Liberal contest. The second development is Ontario which has seen Liberal Party take off and, at 41 points, the party is at its highest standing in the province since December 2014. However, both races remain tight, fluid, and unpredictable.

An election which was supposed to be all about the economy, stupid appears to be all about the niqab and the associated cultural disputes. These debates are laying bare huge fault lines dividing Canada generationally (older versus younger Canada), as well as by social class (in particular, more versus less educated).



This study involved a blended sample collected using two separate methodologies: Computer Assisted Live Interviews (CATI) and EKOS’ proprietary 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 October 4-6, 2015. In total, a random sample of 1,788 Canadian adults aged 18 and over responded to the survey (1,162 by HD-IVR, 626 by live interviewer). The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 2.3 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 7, 2015)

33 comments to After 20-Day Lead, Conservatives Now Find Themselves in a Statistical Tie

  • Raunch

    Here we go…………… This doesn’t look like a sure-thing Conservative win, anymore….I wonder how all the people who loved yesterday’s poll are going to love this one. This seems to be in line with today’s Abacus poll (Cons 33, Libs 32, NDP 24). Ekos, Abacus, and Nanos all have the Libs surging in Ontario with a comfortable lead over the Cons.I would be very happy with a minority government….Even a Conservative minority means the end of Harper. You cannot go backwards in politics (Jason Kenney and Doug Ford are getting their campaign teams together).

    • Paul

      I agree a minority government of any kind I think is best.

    • Bruce M

      The Quebec numbers reflect the niqab issue. This is hugely disappointing, as prejudice against minorities, even minorities we may not like much or understand, is not the Canadian way. Mr Harper’s use of this issue is appalling–as the Star asks today, “how much lower can he go?”

      I’m impressed with Mr Trudeau’s plea that the conservatives stop playing with this fire before someone gets hurt. I also note that Mr Mulcair has been willing to risk support in his Quebec base to take a principled stand.

      Already we have seen a number of violent incidents against women wearing traditional Muslim clothing. Is this really what Conservatives support?? Truly disgusting.

  • PTPT

    Raunch: it has never looked like a sure-thing Conservative win. It has never looked like a sure thing anything. This has been an incredibly fluid campaign and I don’t see that changing. And don’t assume a minority would automatically mean the end of Harper or that other results would automatically mean other things. None of us has a crystal ball.

    • Raunch

      Agree with most of what you say. My comments were aimed at all the pro-con folks who were predicting a huge majority victory (a few thought they could reach 50%)after yesterday’s (and the last 6 weeks of..) Ekos poll results. I agree this campaign is also very fluid. If you have been looking at all the polls (threehundredeight.com is a good starting point) it looks like a lot of the NDP vote (over the past week) is going to the Libs.
      As for Harper, though, if the Cons get a minority I would be shocked to see him as the PM in a year. If the Libs and NDP don’t forge a coalition, I believe his own party (ie: Jason Kenney) will take him down. According to almost every poll, he has the worst approval ratings of the three leaders. It would be very difficult for the Conservatives to go into battle, with him at the helm, again.

  • David

    @raunch: Nanos, liberals at 39 with a flatline, cons at 36 with upward trend. Not exactly a surge and comfortable lead for the liberals.

  • Erik Swanson

    Two-thirds of Canadians say they want change. Yet, the Cons are in the lead. So many people are going to feel so cheated if the Cons win this election. If they win a majority many will assume it was won illegally and that the gov’t is illegitimate.

  • Jack

    Few observations:

    1) Look at those number comparisons between 2011 and 2015 for the Liberals. I never thought we’d see such an incredible comeback.

    2) Look at that drop from 2011 to 2015 for the NDP; my goodness, what a drop.

    3) Look at that trend-line for Conservatives after September 16, I’m flabbergasted as to how insistent that CPC base is in supporting Harper. Incredibly disappointing to say the least.

    4) The NDP is polling so consistently low in *every single* demographic possible.

    5) The NDP has been on a downward trend for a long time and now they’ve just fallen off.

    • Realist

      Disappointing? No, we just see the world for what it really is, and don’t waste time with the rose coloured glasses of the Liberals and the NDP.

  • Mark

    Settle down Ranch let’s wait until the 20 to see what’s up. I’m still undecided but what I find interesting is that at least 6 people I know we’re going to vote for the NDP but will now vote for the Cons. Moral of the story this election is fluid and none of us really know what’s going on not even the pollsters. Be patient you’ll know on the 19. Looking at it objectively it’s a 2 way race that’s all we know for now.

    • Raunch

      I live in rural Ontario (Conservative country). The Cons are running a 24 year old, here, with almost no business or political experience (his resume says he is a business man….this is probably due to the fact that his daddy owns the local Canadian Tire……they were selling Conservative party memberships out of the store). He showed up to 2 out of 9 local debates (that was after both debate organizers agreed to give him the questions before the debate). The local Lib candidate is a well-respected businesswoman in the community (has been on the boards of large charitable organisations, including child-care advocacy groups).
      If the polls are correct, the kid is polling around 42%, the Lib around 32%, and the NDP candidate (experienced businessman) around 21%. Talking to people in this community, a lot of people are going to vote for the kid, simply because they vote Conservative. Almost every person concedes that the Lib is a much better candidate…….but they can’t vote for her because she is a ‘Liberal’. A lot of older voters, here, are not going to vote because they think the kid is a poor candidate, however, once again, they can’t vote for a ‘Liberal’. My point is this……under no circumstances was I predicting a win for anyone with my comments above.I know certain areas will always vote a certain way and I realize that this election is very fluid. You say 6 people were going to vote NDP, but are now going to vote Con? If you said that a couple of weeks ago, I would have said that it was in line with what some of the polls were showing. However, if you look at polls over the past week it looks like most (not all) of the NDP vote (especially in Ontario) is going to the Libs. It’s a two-party horserace…….I agree with you 100%, there.

  • Nadezhda Krupskaya

    I was leaning toward the NDP but will now vote Conservative. Mulcair’s campaign has been unimpressive and Trudeau doesn’t seem to have a very good grasp of economics. The Liberals’ plans to spend and create deficits will only hurt the national economy in the long run. As a result, Harper wins my support by default.

    Although I have great respect for Elizabeth May, the Green Party is not a factor in my riding. If I lived in May’s riding however, she would have my vote. In my opinion, she is the most intelligent of the party leaders.

    • John Farr

      I don’t understand this constant red herring about “Trudeau and the Liberals will run deficits.” The Harperites MIGHT have a balanced budget for 2014-2015 once some more number crunching is in, according to some media analysis, or might have a very small surplus, or a very small deficit FOR THAT YEAR. For the 6 years prior, Harper’s deficits totalled $144.7 billion dollars. So why are you conveniently ignoring that?? When the Con candidate was at my door and I asked him that, he suddenly looked at his watch and claimed he forgot he was late for a meeting at his campaign office and fled, after mumbling something about they had to do stimulus spending, and that their deficit was a different kind of deficit. The cons don’t respect you, me, or anybody else, and people should stop being gullible.

      • Raunch

        The majority of Canadians are not as worried about deficits as the Conservatives would have you believe. Recent polls have also shown that most Canadians approve of infrastructure spending.

        • Bill

          Canadians should worry about deficits–once you are on deficit roll, hard to get out. Agree with infrastructure funding but only in context of a balanced budget. Deficits mean more taxes–we don’t need deficits in a growing economy. Trudeau has lots of energy but is way too inexperienced to get my vote. My vote is deep blue all the way.

          • Sigh

            Bill, a serious question, from an unaligned voter:

            You say “Deficits mean more taxes.” Since Harper has run nothing BUT deficits, your logic would conclude that he is going to raise taxes.

            Do you not see the fallacy in your argument?

            You seem intelligent enough. I don’t understand why you would spread such illogical thoughts.

            Pretty slick, but your sloganeering exposes you.

    • Bev Ully

      I am also impressed with Elizabeth May. She does appear to be the only really intelligent party leader.
      I also want to comment on the budget surplus or $1.9 billion. Why would economists not suggest that this money be used to pay down the debt and the savings in interest could then go back to the people (so many ways to do this)? If the country could continue to build surpluses and continue to pay down the debt, return interest saving to people, would we not eventually be debt-free? Is there something “wrong” with being debt-free as a country? There certainly is a lot to be said for an individual to be debt-free and is it not the advice government is giving to the people that they should lower their debt? If it’s good for us, the people, then it should certainly be good for the government. Perhaps those would be policies Trudeau should be supporting and purporting than the one of building large deficits. Debt interest savings could build a lot of infrastructure. All politicians have to start realizing their money is not their money, it is ours, the people’s. When we are reckless with our money, there are consequences. Governments seem to be immune of consequences. We have never solved this with elections. Everyone says “You have to vote”. When I see what we have to vote for I am reluctant. The Green Party has one draw-back as far as I am concerned because they want to legalize marijuana. They would be better to adjust the laws of the country regarding the convictions, laws that would allow the users of marijuana to remain as productive members of our society and taking the stigma away of becoming a felon, disallowing them the opportunities to build a decent life. Drug traffickers are a different matter. Where is our common sense in our so-called leaders? I think too many of them are surrounded by advisers and are being ill-advised. If they are truly leaders they need to lead their advisers as well. Help…

  • Jaled

    I am a member of the Liberal Party, I have donated heavily to the Liberal Party up to and including this year… but as a physician, when Trudeau lumped me in with the hedge fund managers as a target of his 14% income tax increase, and specific tax measures aimed at physician practices (discriminatory small business tax changes) I told my local candidate (who I have tremendous respect for) that I was done.

    I’m voting Conservative for the first time since 2006. I’ve told two pollsters I’m Liberal, but now I’m stuck voting conservative. There was NO need for Trudeau to specifically go after doctors. What other professions and vocations are on his hit list? I bet it’s not the Bay Street folks!

    • Prescient

      Wow, Jaled – Trudeau did not single out doctors nor say he would increase taxes on professional corps. There is also a doctor in my household and we have a medical corp so I have followed what has been said closely. The question arose with respect to CUTTING small business taxes. Cutting taxes on small businesses with employees, etc. is potentially good but on professional corps it is not going to make any difference to employment or economic growth. There was NO mention of increasing taxes – it all comes down to maximizing the benefit of tax cuts and cutting taxes on your or my professional corporation will achieve little benefit for the overall economy.

    • Glen

      Good for you for voting.
      But, to be clear, you have not quit explained your predicament clearly, and have posited some falsities, too.
      1. Your income must be over 200k to be in the new tax bracket.
      2. This tax bracket (for the 1% of top earners in Canada) is being increased by @14%
      3. It will cost you an additional 5% of you income, as a top 1% earner, not 14%.
      4. This will apply to all with personal incomes above 200k/yr, employment irrelevant.

      • Glen

        To be MORE clear. This additional 5% is ONLY on your income ABOVE 200k, not your entire income.
        So, in a nutshell, you are saying that increasing your taxes being paid, by 5%, on income earned ABOVE 200k, is what is forcing you to abandon your principles, and vote Conservative.
        Oh to have Rich Peoples Problems.

    • Kevin R Smith

      I agree with you completely. Young Mr. Trudeau’s experience as a high school drama teacher does not give him the right to call small business owners and professionals tax cheats. Although his past may explain where her gets his views from. You and other professionals and small business owners take real risks, build real wealth, not just for yourselves but for those you employ and are paying your fair share of tax. I am disgusted with his beliefs on this topic and insulted as a professional trying to employ others in the process of building my business and adding value to others.

  • JD

    The Conservatives leading in Quebec. Now, I have seen everything! WOW! Now, if only Ontarians, Maritimers and British Columbians would now come to their senses. 🙂

  • Ian

    If you have any grasp of Austrian Economics and the brutal, inhumane methodology and logic they apply towards economic well being which is the school of economic thought that Harper is from, then you should very much fear for your well being unless you are already rich. Much of it has already been debunked and it boils down to class warfare. Voting for Harper is unethical, immoral and bad economics.

    • Michael

      It is pretty clear that you do not have much of a grasp on Austrian Economics, or any economics for that matter. Far from being “debunked”, it is the predominant school of thought in economics. It is only the political and the chattering classes that have virtually no background in economics who prefer Neo Keynesian and Modern Monetary Theory economics.

      You conflate politics with economics. Economics is mathematically based. 2+2=4, no matter what you would chose or prefer. There are different economic models, the best ones are the ones that most closely approximate how the economy actually functions. Choosing an economic model that does not reflect the underlying reality just because it produces results you would prefer is foolish.

      Economics does not make choices, it merely tells what the choices actually are. If choice 1 is made the results will be A, if choice 2 is made the result will be B, if choice 3 is made the result will be C. The choice that is selected is a political one. A good economic model will see that the choice is an informed one, a bad model will result in the choice being made based on misinformation.

      A wonky model that produces nonsensical result D, can have disastrous consequences if selected, as the hoped for result will not occur. For example, a bad model that insists that wealth is created on a printing press (as opposed to being a result of labour and capital) will offer the choice that the government can create an enormous amount of wealth merely by printing off $35 trillion and giving each Canadian a million dollars, so everyone can quit their job, buy a mansion and retire in luxury. A proper model would show that all existing wealth would become as worthless as the new paper money, and the results would be catastrophic. You may consider this “brutal” and “inhumane”, but that is reality.

      Talking to some people about economics is like talking to a “flat earther”. In public policy, many political choices are about trade offs between efficiency and equity. Many times I have argued with people who ignore economics and insist think I am a big meanie because I disagree with them. No, I disagree with them because what they are proposing will not work. It would have little effect on equity, and the resulting loss of efficiency would leave society poorer, leaving us less able to care for the vulnerable. I have no problem with people who would choose a lesser or greater trade off than what I would prefer, as long as it is based in sound economics. Using flat earth economics does not mean you a good person, it means you are foolish.

  • Margaret Brady

    The Liberal economic plan has strong support from many well-known and well respected economists. It is an appropriate response to the current economic environment. Kevin Page supported the plan, as did others who are experienced economists. Trudeau has an strong team around him.
    Voting for the Conservatives is voting for a Canada that you won’t want to live in.

  • John Smith

    Agree with you 100% on May and the Greens. They are definitely in contention in much of BC, pockets elsewhere, and are a great option in safe Conservative ridings(of which there are many). I must ask though how could you possibly vote Conservative if you believe what you said about the Greens? Harper stands for virtually everything May doesn’t. From democratic reform and good governance, to sustainable economic models, to meaningful action on climate change, the two couldn’t be more different.

  • Raunch

    New poll by Forum this morning
    Libs 35
    Cons 31
    NDP 26
    The Libs have gained 8 points since last week’s poll. It is the first time they have led this poll since June.

  • Glen

    My riding is solid Conservative. This, by default, renders any non conservative vote voiceless. Many other ridings are similar, no matter the party in the lead, rendering those who oppose the “walk on” candidate voiceless, be they Con, Lib, Dip, Green or BQ.
    This is not representative.
    The Conservatives are, effectively, robbing their own supporters of fair influence in ridings that are not Conservative competitive. This is fine to the Conservatives not because they believe it is “fair” but because they know they have no chance at a pluralistic majority, so are more than happy to attempt to govern with extremely weak national support.
    I say to those who support this; when you are on the wrong side of this system, and you will be, someday, please do not bring up election reform.

  • i don’t understand those quebec numbers, but alright. i guess it’s joined bc in the “more noise than signal” category. i’d love to see undecideds in quebec, specifically; i suspect it’s high…

  • paul

    I have voted in every election,federal,provincial,municipal,school boards etc.Some times or the other ,I have voted for each of 3 major parties, including first time for mr.Harper when he ran first.
    It was contrary to my other members of the family.What I know of mr.Harpers character and how he has been governing,I have never voted pc again neither I would as long as he is around.I ,and members of the family will rather pay higher taxes to uplift the poor than vote for him.
    i prefer honesty, integrity and truthfulness in our leaders not causing divisions in our country based not race and religion..It is nice to have money but when you die you can’t take with you.but honour has more value than dollars.Mr.Harper will do any thing to get elected—so sad!I thought he was a better person than that.His ads are so false,he can’t fool even my 12 year old grand son.By the way ,I am senior-senior way up in my age.

    i am surprised what a doctor said

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