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Deadlocked National Race Obscures Seat Advantage for Liberals


[Ottawa – October 16, 2019] The national numbers could not be tighter with the Liberals and Conservatives at 31.2 and 31.8 points, respectively. The NDP has risen, but that rise seems to have plateaued and they now standing at 18.4 points. The Green Party is now at 6.8 per cent and they have seen a lot of their vote cannibalized by the rise in the NDP. At 3.4 per cent, the People’s Party has fallen back somewhat, while the Bloc Québécois is 6.4 per cent nationally, which translates into a statistical tie in Quebec (29 per cent, compared to 28 per cent for the Liberals.

Regionally, the main story remains Ontario. The polling was conducted in the aftermath of the Conservative release of its platform calling for $53 billion in cuts with assurances of no cuts to jobs. In Ontario, where voters are leery from their experiences with similar messaging from Doug Ford, the Liberals have once again opened up a 10-point lead (40 per cent, compared to 30 per cent for the second-place Conservatives). The NDP is also rising significantly in the province at 21 points.

The Atlantic has been looking quite favorable for the Liberals some time. The party stands at 44 points here, with the Conservatives well back at 18 points. It is also notable that the Conservatives have largely fallen out of the picture in Quebec. Indeed, save for Ontario where they continue to have some prospects (though they are well behind the Liberals), the Conservative position in Eastern Canada is not particularly strong. British Columbia remains an unpredictable tight race between the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, and a waning Green Party. Alberta and Saskatchewan remain solidly locked in with the Conservatives, with the party well over 60 points in both provinces. The Conservatives are also doing very well in Manitoba.

The Conservatives do better with men, while the Liberals do better with women. The age patterns are not terribly clear, although NDP support is disproportionately concentrated among youth. However, it remains to see whether those voters will actually show up on Election Day. The other major gap we see is across university-educated versus non-university-educated voters, with university graduates favouring the Liberals and other educational cohorts favouring the Conservatives by a fairly large margin.

Bottom line:

There is still room for further movement, but it applies largely to non-Conservative parts of the vote. The Conservative vote is fairly locked in which is good news for them. On the bad news side, there is very little room for growth with a scant six per cent identifying them as second choice. The Liberals score 12 per cent on second choice so can aspire to grow. The NDP, however, have the greatest growth potential at 22 per cent, followed by the Green Party at 14 per cent and the Bloc Québécois at 11.9 in Quebec. If further movement were to occur for the NDP, it would come from the Liberals and Greens. In fact, the greatest potential circulations are final shifting among promiscuous progressive voters across the three centre-left national parties. The Conservatives are pretty well stuck and must count on a large turnout advantage to win this election.

These findings leave open the question of alliances – formal or otherwise – between the parties in a hung parliament. We will be testing this in the next few days, but the most plausible options right now are a Liberal-NDP or a Conservative-Bloc, with the former being somewhat more likely at the moment. How voters react to these new realities will shape the final outcome of Election 43.


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 11-15, 2019. In total, a random sample of 1,904 Canadian adults aged 18 and over responded to the survey. 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, and region to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population of Canada according to Census data.

Please click here for the full report.

Please click here for a copy of the questionnaire that was used for this survey.

1 comment to Deadlocked National Race Obscures Seat Advantage for Liberals

  • Robert Townsend

    It has been said that the Conservative Party of Canada is still Steve Harper’s party. As an observer, is that true? The Cons, as a whole, are very vindictive. Not only in Ottawa. In the USA Donald Trump has taken numerous steps to reverse legislation on the premis that he was reversing changes instituted by his predecessor, Barrack Obama. Likewise Doug Ford makes changes that were brought in by his predecessor, Kathleen Wynne. And Jason Kenney vis-à-vis Rachel Notley. The early days of the Harper regime they did the same with several measures from the governments of Paul Martin (the Kelowna Accord) and Jean Chrétien. The federal Cons have learned little and changed little since their defeat in 2015. It is the same old, same old.

    But, there again maybe the Cons have changed. In the discussion above, there is mention that the Cons of today could « maybe » form an alliance with the Bloq Québéois. That is a big change from a few years ago when the Regime was looking at loosing a non-confidence vote in the Commons. That led to Steve bullying the GG into granting him prorogation. At the time, Steve could not fathom how the opposition parties could form a coalition with the BQ, a party that had the goal of splitting up the country. Today it looks like the Cons will be very happy to be friends with the BQ, especially if it would lead to the defeat of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada.

    Then again it shows that the Cons really have not changed – they are like camillions and change their colour to suit a situation. The BQ, if they will help defeat the Liberals, are great allies for the cause of the Conservative Agenda. It is not the first time that the Cons have changed their colours.

    In years past the Regime, which included Andrew Scheer, found it was discussing the GG, Stéphane Dion and Thomas Mulcair held duel citizenships. The Regime called for all three to resign their positions. Years ago Harper sneered that Trudeau was « too young » and that he was « just a teacher ». The Conservatives denounce Jagmeet Singh because he is the son of immigrants. Andrew Scheer is a duel citizen, he is even younger than Justin Trudeau and he has no qualifications in the private sector. Scheer is also the son of an immigrant. The issues of the past do not mater today- if and only if one is a Conservative.

    In the 1850s, John Stuart Mill said that the Conservative Party is the party for stupid people. That is true today with the Conservative Party of Canada. Most stupid people are Conservatives.

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