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Liberals and Conservative in Dead Heat

[Ottawa – October 9, 2015] We have just ten days to go until Election Day and, while nothing is definitive, there are signs that voters’ intentions are beginning to lock in. After rising steadily for five consecutive days, Liberal support seems to have levelled out and the party remains locked in a tie with the Conservative Party. While ten days is nearly an eternity by election campaign standards, it does not appear that the NDP is still in the race.

The regional results are largely stable from yesterday. For those obsessing with the rank ordering of the parties in the Quebec race, all three federalist parties are in a statistical tie, which is a rather dramatic change from just a few weeks ago when Quebec seemed to be undisputed NDP territory. The province is also very regionally segmented, with the Conservatives doing very well in the Quebec City area and Eastern Quebec, while Montreal remains a two-way Liberal-NDP race.

Finally, it is worth noting how Conservative support is heavily skewed towards seniors. Indeed, nearly one in two senior citizens now plans to vote for the Conservative Party. If voting were limited to those under the age of 65, the Conservative Party would stand virtually no chance of forming government.







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 figures in this report are based on a three-day rolling sample. Each day, a new day’s worth of interviewing is added and the oldest day is dropped. The field dates for this survey are October 6-8, 2015. In total, a random sample of 1,618 Canadian adults aged 18 and over responded to the survey (1,146 by HD-IVR, 472 by live interviewer). The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 2.4 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 9, 2015)

47 comments to Liberals and Conservative in Dead Heat

  • Ian

    Wow, the geezers apparently have common sense! Who knew! Anyways, it shows you how little the 18-34 actually cares about the election, when you see massive swings in who they support. Plus, they are less likely to vote than seniors, so I think the Conservatives have a real solid chance at forming a minority.

    • Gerard

      The massive swings in support stem from the small sample size. That means that variability is much greater. Basic math, basic statistics. Its attitudes like yours that the reason young don’t vote conservative much, but its mostly their regressive policies and them favoring all demographics other than theirs.

    • Jeremy

      @Ian: I see you chose to ignore that the most educated people tend to vote Liberal. And I am somewhat surprised you haven’t sub-referenced Churchill’s famous pithy quote about why the young might vote left and the old right.

      The Conservatives certainly do have a good shot at forming a minority given their vote distribution but it would be disappointing given they are not proponents of a more representative voting system.

    • Mokhash

      Massive swings in who they support doesn’t mean they don’t care about the election. In fact, it’s pretty encouraging to know that young people are open to new options, and don’t blindly follow whichever party they’ve always supported.

    • Ryan

      I hope you are fishing for a response from an 18-34 year old, so here goes. I think you’re wrong in all of your observations.

      The “geezers” are likely voting for an ideology of what Conservatives used to be, not this micro-managing, fear-mongering, win-at-all-costs PM we have burdened ourselves with. Either that, or they are voting for ‘the winner’ ie. the person they think has the best chance of winning ie. a popularity contest.

      Another explanation to the swing in the youth vote is that they are actually following the election and are changing their minds as new ideas, promises and facts come to light. Something that all voters should practice, rather than going to a ballot having known who you were going to vote for for 3 months because that’s who you’ve always voted for.

      Sure, youth might care less about politics than the seniors and can you blame them? I know dozens of capable young people, all with University or College education working minimum wage jobs that they don’t give a shit about. Some of whom have Master’s degrees for christ sake. On top of that they have crippling debt. This government has disenfranchised our youth. But that’s all about to change. Harper is gone on the 19th and I have yet to hear a solid argument of why this will be a bad thing.

      • Ian

        Ryan, I do feel for those people, but to blame that on the government is just wrong. I beg that 9/10 of those peoe with degrees have them in sociology, social justice, arts, whatever. Realistically, nobody with a Masters in science or engineering works a minimum wage job.And as for the PM being a micro managing win at all costs type of guy, that seems to just be the same old rhetoric I hear from people who don’t like him, yet that phrase says quite little of the specifics when you think about it.

        • Warren Courtney

          Ian due to the defunding of science many PhD in Chemistry and Physics cannot find work in Canada above 40K per year. You obviously have no knowledge of higher education when you describe 9/10 have degrees in sociology… So without any knowledge you speculate? BTW I have an MSc in Chemistry and I know many of the people involved. Most of the CON MP’s if they have a higher education have arts degrees, and economics is an “arts degree also”.

          • Rod Kletchko

            Warren, a liberal government, if you have been watching would cost the average “Hard working Canadian” family 5,000.00 more in taxes. Their employers another 3,000.00 per year. Those who don’t wish to work will once again make almost as much as taxpayers. If you feel so learned perhaps you should take an economics course. Helping the middle class. a total lie.

        • actually, stem majors have the highest degrees of unemployment nowadays. what you’re saying was true 30 years ago. but, then we were all told to study stem courses, and we’ve ended up with a giant surplus of people with stem degrees, which has both driven down wages and let to mass underemployment.

          i’ve seen jobs that require biology degrees *and* experience that start at $11/hr. i’ve met people with phds in mathematics that have to rely on their physical appearance to get jobs as servers.

          i’m 34, and probably belong in the 35-50 demographic for cultural reasons [i’d identify as gen x], but there’s a lot of good reasons why young people are going to want to grasp on to the party most likely to defeat the conservatives, which is clearly the liberals at this point. i think what’s more interesting is trying to answer why people in retirement are so keen on voting conservative, and my best guess is they don’t want their stocks taxed.

          if you look at changes in income over the last thirty years, the only people that have benefited are older people. there’s a reason for it: the financial system is designed that way. so, if you ask the question “are you better off…”, the truth is that older people really are – but younger people definitely are not.

          none of the parties are really pushing any kind of wealth redistribution from the older to the younger, but the conservatives have done a few things to prevent that kind of redistribution, and the fear may be that some of it may end up getting undone.

          so, yeah, it’s rational: but only if you’re actually an older person, and are commanding the wealth.

          • Frank

            The reason that you don’t have a job with your education is because the government had let in so many immigrants for you to complete against. Sorry, that’s not politically correct, or culturally sensitive, but it is 110% a fact. Signed, high tech employer.

        • Andre

          Ian, my wife spent 10 years getting her BSC and Master degrees in plant biology. After a 3 year search for work in her filed, she finally took a job at Home Depot. We needed to pay the bills and her degree had become so outdated that she’d have had to spend a couple of more years back in school to be seen as competitive again to prospective employers. She’s happy and enjoys her work but it’s not what she studied for. Most of her lab/class mates ended up the same way, a few are doing work that’s tangentially in their field but only 1 got a job doing what they actually studied for. I’m not saying it’s all the government’s fault but the job market for those with higher education is not as rosy as you might think.

        • Gregg Reddin

          I know an engineering graduate, who is a witness at my curling club. I’m not in the habit of asking others, who work at part-time jobs. I guess I don’t want to hear their reality, so long as I am in a comfortable well paying job.

        • Gregg

          My curling club employs an engineering graduate to waitress. I’m not in the habit of asking other young people about their education or whether they are full-time or part-time, when I order a burger or a coffee. I guess I don’t want to hear their reality, so long as my mortgage is paid off and I am in a comfortable well paying job.

          • Rod Kletchko

            Shows that your only concerned about yourself. You are part of the problem. Only asking what the government can do for you. Our freedom is based on capitalism. We control the government, not the other way around.

  • Ian

    But partisan barbs aside, Frank, is it possible to show the age breakdown of voters from say, 1990, and 1980, 1970, etc, so we can compare them to today.

    If you do this, we can see whether the Conservatives have a real serious demographic problem, or if young people have always been more progressive. I am legitimately interested in seeing the results.

    • Foxer

      Ian – there’s an old saying: If you don’t vote socialist when you’re 20, you have no heart. If you DO vote socialist when you’re 30, you have no brain 🙂

      The youth, who have little to lose, tend to find the idea of left wing ideology appealing. As people grow older and have jobs and families and more to lose from higher taxes and social ‘experiments’, they tend to lean more to the right. It has been that way for at least a century.

    • Steve

      Young people are lefties, as people age and get more experience they become more conservative . Churchill commented on this. With our rapidly aging baby boomers the progressives are the ones on the wrong side of the demographics

  • Tom

    Winston S. Churchill supposedly once observed that anyone who was not a liberal at 20 years of age had no heart, while anyone who was still a liberal at 40 had no head.

  • Larry Maheu

    Way too much attention has been purposely given to the refugees and head dress. It’s the bureaucrats that have the responsibility for refugees, even though the Prime Minster reserves the right to protect Canadians with security. The misinformation put out blaming PM Harper is to take away from discussing the economy and the 800 million new customers that can be had if the Opposition agrees to pass the agreement in Parliament. We need to know now what the Opposition will do. I’m glad the conservative platform is ready for Canadians to read, without being blocked.

    • Helen


      I speak Dutch and understand German. I went on a number of Dutch Newspaper websites yesterday and found that the situation on the ground in Europe is desperate. They are being purposely overwhelmed. It’s more like an invasion than a refugee situation. These men have cellphones and tablets and most are wearing skinny jeans. Are they genuine refugees?

      This is one example. In the Dutch village of Oranje, which has a population of 140, the Dutch government placed 700, so-called, refugees into the villages’ park (presumably in tents). Then after a couple of weeks the gov’t announced to the villagers that another 700 would be arriving by bus last Monday at 4 pm. That’s 1400 men and only 140 villagers. The townspeople called for a meeting with the Dutch Governments Refugee Minister. He came, but said the men were coming regardless of their wishes. The townspeople forced the bus to turn around when it came. But then, in the middle of the night, while everyone was sleeping, the bus came back and deposited the men in in the park.

      There are no restaurants or food facilities, public toilets, public showers, beds in these small communities. These men are defecating on sidewalks or anywhere they please, as they do in their countries of origin. Girls are being threatened. The men consider the villagers “infidels” so, manners and gratitude are zero. The Dutch population is, as everyone knows, very tolerant but that tolerance is fading fast in the light of reality. It’s turning out that the young men were, for the most part, not being threatened in their own country but, want to get the lifestyle westerners enjoy. It is likely Let’s be honest. There are millions of people, from all over the world who would love to come to Canada, but it’s obvious that is impossible. What we do need is a realistic and sustainable refugee policy which is what the Harper government has done. if we don’t react intelligently, both we, and the refugees will be pulled down.

      May I ask any of you if you would like to give up your home or your job for a refugee family. That’s what would have to happen. There are repercussions to every policy adopted by any government.

      Exactly what the Europeans plan to do with these mainly men is unclear. What can they do?.

      This past Friday reports surfaced that about 20 men dressed all in black, including face covering, attacked a refugee centre in the town of Woerden. These men had no guns, but, just fought. Now you may say that’s appalling but, given the provocation, and with no foreseeable end to this situation the native population is getting fairly desperate. The same fiasco is happening in Germany.

      Both Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau are calling for more refugees in a hurry and with less scrutiny of backgrounds. Only on person is being mature and realistic. I have no problem with bringing in real refugees who’s lives are threatened, but, even then, they must undergo background checks. Only PM Harper is firmly addressing this. There is no room for political correctness.

      The above reason is why I will be supporting Stephen Harper who, in spite of the fact that the media pundits, are vilifying him on this issue, and, he may lose votes on this. speaks the truth even if it’s not popular. Wake up Canadians. Do you want to go through the situation described above?

      I don’t! Vote Conservative.

  • Ang

    Does this poll subtract responses from those under age 40 and double those from over age 50? Because that methodology would reflect those who actually show up to vote.

  • I see the university vote has returned to the Liberals after its summer holiday with the NDP.

  • Larry N

    I don’t put much faith in Interactive Voice Response polls, as there is no way to validate the caller. I believe older people in general have more free time on their hands, and have grown up in a culture, where they are more polite on the phone. These older conservative voters are more likely to answer a IVR poll. Us younger generation is fed up with computers calling us up and are more likely to quickly hang up, after a few choice swear words. Sure IVR polls generate a larger sample size; but garbage in is garbage out.

  • paul

    You are all wrong.I am a senior.I have children and grand children like many seniors.For me ,rights and freedom,honesty and truthfulness,inspiring youths,unity of the country,equality, take priority than saving few dollars propagated by conservatives in extra tax free savings.If you can earn extra 3% 0n your S5000 with 50% taxes,you save $75.Any senior who votes for Mr Harper has not been well informed how autocratic Mr. Harpers, attitude is.In the parliament. He would pass laws when most well informed Canadians are against it. He has lost many battles in supreme court and recently on niqab affairs.Wake up people.If mr. Harper rules another 4 years, I wont recognize our beloved Canada respected in the past, by the world. I forgot to mention, if you do earn extra ,you loose your pension by claw back of 15% for each dollar .Amaricans admit that they are loosing fight in Syria.We are wasting our tax dollars and putting our pilots and plains in risk more so now that Russia has joined the fight.

    mr. harper

  • Graham

    Paul, our bombig operations are mostly in Iraq. They will normally cross into Syria only when, for example, an ISIS convoy they are planning to hit crosses the border. And even when they do, our planes are operating in a different region of Syria than the Russians.

  • Jim

    The saving grace in all of this is that it is highly unlikely that Harper will win a majority. As a result there will be a vote of non-confidence at the Throne Speech and we will be done with him and his devisive policies. The Govorner General will have no option but to allow the opposition an opportunity to form the government, especially if the Tories get more seats while having less of the popular support tban the Liberals. There will be no appetite for nor reason to waste $50 million on another election.

  • Ralph Babbitt

    Are you guys going to publish new polls thru the weekend at 4pm as well?

  • Raunch

    Overnight Nanos
    Libs 34. 8
    Cons 28.6
    NDP 24.9

    • Not a statician

      I don’t like the nanos poll because of its small sample size of 400 people. This means that the polling can be influenced greatly by any one or number of factors.

      • Julian

        Nanos has the best rack record in the business. When there was a divergence in the polls, it was Nanos that had it correct. EKOS, Innovative, Mainstreet, Ipsos Reid, Abacus, Leger, Forum and Angus Reid have all now converged.
        It is clear who is doing better in the polls, based on quantitative analysis. Liberals have been strengthening, while Conservatives are weakening.
        Look at any metric. Preferred PM, Party Power Index, Vote Consideration, Strategic voting potential or Has the best qualities for a PM.
        It is very clear that people are turning off the Conservatives.
        It appears that Liberals will win, but to hang hopes on any qualitative is foolish and you may just set yourself up for disappointment.
        Conservatives certainly have a chance, but that has been slimming as we enter the home stretch.

      • Steve

        Right, you’re not a statistician. But then you also didn’t even read the methodology with a common sense understanding. Nanos isn’t based on a sample of 400. It’s a three day rolling average of 1,200, making the MOE pretty low. It really isn’t any different than a poll that was in the field for three days to randomly select 1,200 respondents.

    • shob

      Thanksgiving weekend Raunch. Don’t pop any corks yet. Take a look at Labour Day weekend polls before you do that. I take it EKOS isn’t even releasing their “daily” polls this weekend.

  • Larry Maheu

    The difference between Liberals and Conservatives is that Conservatives keep their promises. Liberals tell people what they want to hear, and then implement their hidden agendas.
    Prime Minister Harper has focused on the economy and families saved on taxes and received other benefits while balancing the budget. For the past two years Canada had a surplus. Now just when he can add new manufacturing jobs and produce another 1.3 million new jobs, with the help of 800 million new customers, we will risk it all? I thought voters would know better than that.
    If PM Harper is voted out of office, people will realize what a huge mistake they have made.

  • André

    Everybody must understand that the first job. of a Prime Minister is to protect and secure his people .
    That, Mr. Harper do it perfect

  • Linda Conlin

    Larry Maheu, Conservatives keep their promises ? !!! lol, lol,
    didn’t they promise to abolish the senate ???
    didn’t they promise to get Canadians jobs (look at our recession & the provinces of Alberta and Ontario)
    “””” your version of 1.3 million jobs ……… well there was only 14,000 PART TIME jobs increase last month……
    …..YOU are PROUD OF THAT ??????

    didn’t they promise to bring Canadians together ? lol (more divided now than ever before)
    didn’t they promise that Harper being an “economist” knows how to bring prosperity ? lol, our Canadian $ is worth nothing, he has blown away a 16 Billion $ surplus he inherited from the Liberals 10 yrs ago)
    It is a pitiful state when Conservatives are “proud” of those type of facts, and keep the fear mongering very active !!!

    • Bcando

      PM is not fear mongering. He’s telling the truth about what’s happening around the globe but Canadians are so insulated from it that you don’t m is what the reality is Thanks to the Go Dr me t we can close our eyes and sleep at night. The government cannot control what is going on in the world economy and compares to the other nations we are still fairing well. As for the TPP, it is inevitable for future generations. You left wingers are running on emotion instead of reality.

    • Lance

      For a minute there I thought you were talking about the Ontario Liberal government

  • Pat Ryot

    I’m not sure who will win but I’ve certainly noticed for the millennial voters, they are angry, paranoid and basically just a grumpy bitter lot. Feel sorry for their kids, who will likely be totally turned off by their voting preferences. Guess thats why they love the angry bearded lumberjack so much.

  • Julian

    What I find particularly revealing about Conservatives is their insults. There is no real policy strength to tout. They are obviously getting depressed with the prospects of a change of government and that leads to anger.
    People have the right to reject or choose any ideology. There is no right and wrong in this situation.
    Harper has had no positive impact on Canada that a reasonable man can see. Economy worst growth since WWII is a fact, if you read the data. Jobs growth is poor. Just compare with out southern border. I won’t even touch on all the fear mongering etc.
    I live in the most Conservative region of Canada, so I am all too well aware of the ideology and it is flawed, because it does not benefit all Canadians equally.
    It must be religion and greed that really determines many voters choice. Anyone still hyping Harper is either completely uninformed or it simply does not matter who is at the helm. I have met many Conservatives who “always” vote for them, regardless.
    This is how the far right can exploit the system.
    All Canadians are worse off under Harper.
    Terrorists, Nijab etc. are all clearly distractions to the real issues. Sensible people can see this and it is reflected in the vote.
    Any hard right push in Canada or US is always rejected and this will be no different.
    Canada is centrist, no matter what Haprer and his colleagues may dream.
    67% of Canadians reject this.
    How a Conservative can find good news…

  • Bcando

    Well. In response that the most well educated are most likely left wing because they are most likely want to keep their jobs because they are employed by the Government . The Elderly and the Small business owners are no dummies either. The business community do not want to be overtaxed because of the direction that the Liberals want to take the economy The less the government is involved the better so that the tax payers can spend and invest their own money. They say that one in two of the elderly will vote Conservative and they are voting in droves The Liberals are taking the same stance that Wynne did. Tell everyone what hey want to hear but once they get in they can’t live up to their promises or put our economy in a tailspin. Remember on Election Day who is going to pay for reckless spending ? Our Grandchildren???

  • Cascadia

    A question for Frank Graves. Is the poll designed to represents all of the electorate? Or is it “adjusted” to reflect what the pollster believes will be the makeup of voters on election day?
    The latter, if it follows the traditional skew favoring older voters (who turn out in higher proportion than young ones) is the “usual” explanation why election day outcomes tend to accentuate more the party that older voters favor (albeit by a point or two or three — or in the case of the UK last spring, four or five percent).

  • Alfred E Newman

    As we have seen with the global collapse of oil and commodity prices there are huge impacts on the economy that no Prime Minister can impact, much less control. Worse yet, the world’s central banks have done nothing but add to the colossal debt that nearly brought down the global economy in 2008. Unless and until there is an American President and Congress with the will to cut spending, repeal crippling regulations (EPA, Obamacare) reform the tax system and more, there will be no economic revival and no jobs, there or here. The thought of turning over our economy to Justin “the budget will balance itself” Trudeau would be terrifying in the best of times. He’s promised that his day 1 action item is climate change. In other words, wind turbines and solar panels from sea to sea. Exactly the Liberal ‘Green Energy’ approach that has harmed the environment, driven out thousands of jobs, destroyed farmlands and dug Ontario into a 340 billion dollar debt hole. And to accomplish that, Justin will borrow billions because today’s ridiculous interest rates make it so easy to repay. If these are the ‘new’ ideas attracting the young demo, we’re doomed. University grads the most indoctrinated in leftist ideology, absolutely; the most educated, no way.

  • Why are these poll results so dramatically different from all the other polls that show the Liberals leading? hummmmmm what do you think the statistical odds are that all the others are wrong you this one is bang on?

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