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Update on the Political Landscape and the Issues of Race, Policing, and the Three Ms in the Canada-China Affair

[Ottawa – June 26, 2020] As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Liberal Party is in full majority mode. At just under 41 points, the Liberals enjoy a wider lead today than on election night 2015, which saw the party win a decisive majority mandate. The Conservatives trail at 30 points and the NDP remains in a distant third place at just 13 points.

The Liberals lead in every region in the country outside Alberta and Saskatchewan, which remain solidly in Conservative hands. However, the Conservative Party’s overconcentration of support in these two provinces will translate poorly in terms of seat efficiency.

Delving into the demographic breaks, we see a breathtaking gender split. Conservatives enjoy a narrow, two-point lead with men, but trail by an incredible 24 points with women. The Conservatives are competitive with non-university-educated respondents, but they are nearly 20 points behind with the university-educated cohort.

So could we see a summer election? Doubtful. Ironically, the very thing underlying the surge in Liberal support – the COVID-19 pandemic – is also preventing them from triggering an election and trying to regain their majority foothold. We suspect that a pandemic is not the right environment for sending Canadians to the polls and any election call would be seen as opportunistic and cynical.

We also took the opportunity to examine a couple of that have been in the news lately. First up is the conversation on racism and defunding the police that started in the wake of the horrific death of George Floyd. The vast majority of Canadians recognize racism as an ongoing problem; indeed, just 23 per cent say it is not a serious matter. The view that racism is not a serious problem is this country is more prevalent among Conservative Party supporters and residents of Alberta though, in both cases, a majority of respondents say it is as least somewhat serious. Indigenous respondents are significantly more likely than other groups to say that racism is a very serious issue.

Though relatively few question the seriousness of racism in Canada, Canadians are divided on whether the problem is getting better or worse. Twenty-eight per cent say racism is growing worse, while roughly the same proportion – 27 per cent – believe it is becoming less common. The plurality – 44 per cent – say the state of racism has stayed the same. Disturbingly, visible minorities and Indigenous respondents are significantly more likely to say the problem is growing worse.

Regarding the matter of defunding police, Canadians are split and there is no clear consensus as to whether police departments in this country receive too much or too little funding. Conservative Party supporters are more likely to say the police deserve more funding, while NDP and Green voters lean much more heavily to the view that police are overfunded as is.

Finally, we took a look at the idea of a prisoner exchange with China – Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou for the Michaels. Canadians are pretty divided, but a bare majority – 51 per cent – would oppose such a deal. Conservative voters are more firmly opposed to the idea, while the Bloc Québécois is the only political camp where a majority would support a prisoner exchange.


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 June 11-16, 2020. In total, a random sample of 3,006 Canadians aged 18 and over responded to the survey. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 1.8 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 the data tables.

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

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