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Political Landscape Frozen


[Ottawa – December 12, 2019] The political landscape appears to be as frozen as the land as we move into Canadian winter with a deadlocked and deeply divided citizenry. Vote intention hasn’t budged in the past seven weeks, although the Green Party and People’s Party are both doing better than on Election Day. Everyone else is pretty much mired in place. It is notable that the Liberals do better with middle class and university educated voters. Support for both the Liberal and Conservative parties rises with age, while the NDP does better with young voters.

Young males are overrepresented in the Conservative and People’s Party ranks, a phenomenon we have noted for some time. On the other hand, millennial women tend to be overrepresented among progressive choices. This gender cleavage in the millennial generation is an important new feature of the political landscape.

Confidence in direction of both the country and government are both low by historical standards. The deepest levels of dissatisfaction can be found among Conservatives and those who reside in the Prairie provinces. Middle class respondents, university educated, and seniors are comparatively happier with federal direction.

Tight three-way race in Ontario

The leaderless Ontario Liberal Party has a small (and statistically insignificant) lead, while the Progressive Conservatives are down 11 points from the most recent election. However, the PCs benefit from a split centre-left vote with the NDP now at 24 points, well down from their election performance. PC support is focussed among men and is tightly interwoven with federal Conservative support. Again, PC support is heavily concentrated among young men, while young women have turned almost exclusively to progressive options.

Economic outlook sour but stable

The majority of Canadians – 58 per cent – believe we are in a recession or even a depression, while just 39 per cent say we are in a period of growth. Canadians aren’t terribly optimistic about the future either: just 32 per cent foresee a period of growth two years from now. Outlook is significantly worse in the Prairie provinces. It is much darker for members of the Conservative Party.

The gig is up?

There is evidence that positive views of the sharing/gig economy are going downward, as a majority sees this as driving down wages rather than improving lives. This is sharply divided by age, with millennials holding a much more positive outlook, which we would guess is a combination of greater comfort with new technologies and a greater emphasis on affordability and pocketbook issues for those in the early stages of their careers.

Of particular note, middle- and upper-class Canadians are more impressed with the benefits of the sharing economy.


This survey 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 December 3-10, 2019. In total, a random sample of 2,339 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, 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.

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