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Liberals Headed to Form Government


[Ottawa – September 19, 2021] In our final poll for the 44th federal election campaign, we are predicting that the Liberals will capture the most seats on Monday. Given the trends over the past week and the regional patterns, we feel comfortable that the Liberals are going to win with a minority of seats, though it is unclear whether this will be a strengthened or diminished minority. Given the seat-efficient distribution of Liberal support, combined with recent movements in Ontario, the party has a plausible path to a majority, though a minority is still the most likely outcome.

In our final press release, we offer two sets of numbers – our likely voter model (which is our best guess at what the final ballot tally will look like) and the final results of what all eligible voters would have preferred. We do this not to double our chances of accurately predicting the final election outcome, but rather to account for the fact that stated vote intentions don’t always match up with vote behaviour. In a more perfect world, most voters would vote and those who didn’t would look very similar to those who did. The reality, however, is that there are many non-voters and, sometimes, more non-voters than voters. Moreover, not only are voters and non-voters systematically different, but the campaigns actively try and target those segments in order to get out (or keep home) those who are seen as helpful or harmful to their prospects for success. Therefore, good polling must both model the known population of all voters and be able to make a reasoned conjecture at the portion who will show up and our final likely voter model is unabashedly focused on one task – guessing at turnout in order to minimise the gap between predicted results and observed reality.

To be clear, it is our likely voter model – and not our unadjusted figures – that we wish to be judged by when evaluating the accuracy of our polling.

Both sets of figures are largely similar, though the Conservative Party has a somewhat stronger position under the likely voter model. Either way, it appears certain that the Liberal Party is headed towards victory tomorrow. Momentum seems to be favouring the Liberals, who have been edging steadily upward over the past few days, particularly in Ontario. The Conservative Party has seen a decline and are five points behind the Liberals. The Conservatives stumbled in the later stages of the campaign over issues such as guns and vaccines which, when combined with the rise in People’s Party support, appears to have thwarted the Conservatives’ aspirations for victory.

The Bloc Québécois, which faltered early in the campaign, has recovered and appears to be on track to repeat their 2019 performance. The NDP has been mired at or slightly below 20 points for the entirety of the campaign. However, the party does extremely well in British Columbia and among young people (particularly young women) and they are on track to expand their seat count slightly. The Green Party, despite their organizational meltdown earlier this year, is likely to hold on to its two seats and may very well pick up a third. The People’s Party has surged into a clear fourth place in recent weeks; however, their support is spread thinly across the country and, given the nature of Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, they are unlikely to capture any seats on Monday.

Our final projected seat tallies are as follows (note that we will be putting a seat-by-seat forecast based on internal polling, historical patterns, and other manual adjustments that may not line up with these figures):















The results look very similar to the previous Parliament. There remain, however, a few key areas of uncertainty that could affect the final outcome. The critical factors will be Ontario and Quebec. In particular, the movements in Ontario over the past week have been quite profound and, if they hold, the Liberals will improve slightly on their last showing and may very well be on the cusp of a majority.

Another major wild card is the emergence of the People’s Party. While the party is unlikely to win any seats, they will nevertheless play a major role in shaping the final outcome. If the party’s supporters stay true to their stated vote intentions, the Liberals are headed towards a decisive minority win, if not a majority. Most notably, the People’s Party is at 19 points in Alberta, eating into what would otherwise be an insurmountable Conservative lead, which could see the Liberals eke out a few seats in the province.

If People’s Party supporters turn to the Conservative Party at the eleventh hour, deciding an O’Toole-led government would be the lesser of two evils, the picture becomes murkier. There are several conflicting factors telling us what is going to happen to People’s Party support come Monday. First, their support is disproportionately concentrated among young people, a group that routinely disappoints on Election Day (the party is at 17% among those under 35, but just 4% among seniors). People’s Party supporters are also the least likely to have already voted, meaning they have the most room to change their minds. However, the party’s supporters are also the most enthusiastic. Indeed, when we asked decided voters about their enthusiasm regarding their current choice, People’s Party voters are by far the most enthusiastic (65% say enthusiastic), beating out the Conservative Party (57%) and utterly eclipsing the Liberal Party and NDP (39% and 47%, respectively).

All in all, the 44th Canadian general election is shaping up to be one of the most uncertain elections in recent political history.

A note on likely voters:

For our likely voter index, each respondent is assigned a score from 0 to 5. If the respondent has already voted, they are automatically assigned a perfect score of 5. Otherwise, the index is calculated as follows:

  • Past vote behaviour (maximum score of 2 points). The respondent receives one point if they voted in the 2019 federal election and one point if they intend on voting the same way as they did in 2019.
  • Emotional engagement (maximum score of 1 point). The respondent receives one point for indicating that they are enthusiastic regarding the party they intend to vote for. Conversely, the respondent loses one point if they are discouraged.
  • Intention (maximum score of 2 points). A respondent receives one point if they are a ‘decided’ voter – in other words, they indicate their choice without being asked if they are ‘leaning’ towards a party. Additionally, they receive one point if they indicate they are extremely likely to vote on Election Day.

Finally, we tally the scores and weight the data such that those with a perfect score of 5 are weighted up to 70%, those with a score of 4 are weighted to 20%, and those with a score of 3 or less are weighted to 10%.


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 September 16-19, 2021. In total, a random sample of 1,662 Canadians aged 18 and over responded to the survey. 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, and region to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population of Canada according to Census data.

EKOS follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements.

Please click here for a copy of the data tables.

Please click here for a copy of the data tables constructed using our likely voter index.

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

2 comments to Liberals Headed to Form Government

  • Gloria

    Very sad Canadians accept Liberal Party corruption and vote Liberal.
    To vote for a Party that proves so corrupt shows how society has declined in principles.

  • Bruce Gajerski

    This final poll is completely off the wall for the election results in BC, Alberta and Ontario.
    There is also no data reported for Sask/Manitoba.
    Ekos has severely understated support for the CPC,
    and overstated supported for the PPC nationally.
    19% for the PPC in Alberta, and 14% for the NDP?
    A 16% advantage for the Liberals over the CPC in Ontario, and it
    ended at 39% to 35%?
    20% support for the Liberals in BC, and they won the most seats?
    Ekos needs to seriously address its polling methodology.
    Margin of error? Well outside the boundaries.

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