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Three-Way Federal Horserace Frozen


[Ottawa – November 27, 2021] Canada is two months out from its most recent federal election and the latest poll results suggest little would change if another one were held tomorrow. The voter landscape shows little movement, which reflects a broadly sour national mood. The polarization and fragmentation that have become an entrenched feature of our political landscape have not gone away and may have gotten worse. No party summons even 31% of voter intention and there appears to be no path to a majority in the near future. This finding comes against a background where the recent election produced historically low levels of public satisfaction. It is linked to a view that while the pandemic may be drawing to a slow conclusion, a return to normalcy and a full economic recovery are years away.

At 30 points, the Liberals hold a narrow lead over the second-place Conservatives. They lead handily with women, those over 50, and university graduates while, regionally, they trail everywhere west of Ontario. The Conservatives are at 27 point and do very well with men and residents of Alberta and Saskatchewan. We have a parallel survey that looks at where Erin O’Toole stands with voters that we will be releasing next week. At 19 points, the NDP is in a distant third place, with those under 35 forming the bulk of their support. The People’s Party is at 11 points nationally, which shows that their strong performance in the polls leading into the September 20 election was not a mirage and their support was masked by a combination of low turnout and an eleventh-hour switch to the Conservatives.

Liberal-NDP working agreement

In our latest poll, we took a look at public attitudes towards an informal deal between the Liberals and NDP to prop up Parliament for next few years. The idea enjoys broad support among both Liberal and NDP supporters (and, to a lesser extent, Green Party voters) but it is viewed with horror by Conservative and People’s Party supporters. The Bloc Québécois is decidedly agnostic on the issue. Residents of Atlantic Canada are more favourably disposed to the idea, as are women and university graduates.

We also tested several arguments both for and against a Liberal-NDP working agreement. Nothing in particular really leaps out and the results are largely drawn along party lines. A plurality of Canadians agree that a working arrangement would lead to a more stable government and fears that it would lead to less fiscal rectitude are surprisingly low (outside of Conservative and People’s Party supporters, that is). The notion that such an agreement would allow the federal government to invest more strongly in Canada’s economy doesn’t seem to carry much traction with Canadians. However, the notion that an agreement would represent the values and interests of a broader range of Canadians seems to be quite resonant and gets more support than the proposal itself.

National and federal direction

The trajectory of national mood shows a clear, progressive decline from a year ago, which we suspect is a product of the continued pandemic and a poorly received federal election. Outlook on national direction has moved from a 40-point margin in favour of right direction to a dead split. Confidence in the Government of Canada, meanwhile, has plummeted from 78 per cent in March 2020 to just 43 per cent today. Both measures are sharply linked to partisan outlook. Confidence in the direction of the federal government is somewhat lower and also closely linked to partisanship. For Liberal supporters, national direction is overwhelmingly positive. For Conservative and People’s Party supporters, the country is headed to hell in a handbasket.

Ontario vote intention

Finally, we offer an update on the Ontario voter landscape. The Doug Ford-led Progressive Conservatives are hanging on to a narrow, four-point lead. However, the party will benefit immensely from vote splitting across the Liberals and the NDP. Ford’s strength lies with men, non-university educated, and those who reside outside urban cores. The vast majority of Progressive Conservatives vote Conservative at the federal level.

The Liberal leader, Steven Del Duca has low visibility (not to mention no seat in the Ontario Legislature) but, at 28 points, his party is in a close place and is very much in a competitive position to win the next election. The party does very well with women and seniors, but lags badly with working-class voters. Much like the Progressive Conservatives, Ontario Liberals are made up predominantly of federal Liberals.

At 23 points, the Ontario NDP is in a strong third place. However, Andrea Horwath – Leader of the official Opposition and three-time election veteran – cannot be happy to find her party trailing behind the Ontario Liberals who are led by a much less well-known figure. To be this far back behind a government that has not received sterling marks on its handling of the pandemic should be source of concern. Much like their federal counterparts, the Ontario NDP’s support declines with age.

Finally, it is worth noting the surprising number of number of respondents who opted for an “other” option. Normally, we would not discuss the other category, as it is usually more of a noise category rather than a reflection of respondents who intend to vote for a lesser-known party or an independent. However, 11 per cent of Ontarians told us they intend to vote outside the four main party choices and a clear majority of these respondents support the People’s Party at the federal level. These findings ought to be a source of concern for Doug Ford, as they suggest the People’s Party could be a major rallying point for disillusioned Progressive Conservatives next June should they run provincially.


This report draws on results from two separate surveys. Both surveys were 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 the first survey are November 16-21, 2021. In total, a random sample of 1,006 Canadians aged 18 and over responded to the survey. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The field dates for the second survey are November 16-25, 2021. In total, a random sample of 569 Ontario residents aged 18 and over responded to the survey. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 4.1 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 from the first survey.

Please click here for a copy of the data tables from the second survey.

Please click here for a copy of the questionnaire that was used for these surveys.

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