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Liberals and Conservatives in Dead Heat

CANADIANS PREFER CHAREST AS CPC LEADER, BUT CONSERVATIVES PREFER POILIEVRE

[Ottawa – May 13, 2022] The Conservative leadership race has done little to break stalemate in the federal horserace. At 32 points, the Liberal Party holds a statistically insignificant, fraction-of-a-point lead over the Conservative Party. At 20 points, the NDP is in a distance third place. Interestingly, the People’s Party is down four points from January, suggesting that the media attention on leadership candidates such as Pierre Poilievre and Leslyn Lewis may be drawing the party’s supporters back into the Conservative fold.

Regionally, the Conservatives dominate Alberta, while the Liberals lead in Ontario and Quebec. British Columbia remains a turbulent three-way race. The Conservative hold a commanding lead with men, while the Liberals do extremely well with women. Liberal support rises progressively with age, while the Conservatives do best with those ages 35 to 49. NDP support is heavily concentrated among those under 35 and the party would be headed to form government if voting were restricted to that age group.


The Conservatives lead handily with the college and high school educated, while university graduates continue to make up the lion’s share of Liberal support. The Liberals do well with middle-class voters, but receive comparatively less support from those who identify as working-class.

The Conservative leadership race

Turning to the Conservative leadership race, a narrow plurality of Canadians – 25 per cent – say they would prefer former Quebec premier Jean Charest as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Slightly fewer (22 per cent) say they would want to see Pierre Poilievre at the Conservative helm. But it is a different story when looking at Conservative voters. Among those who would vote Conservative if an election were held tomorrow, a clear majority – 58 per cent – say that they prefer Poilievre while only 15 per cent say they want Charest.

Interestingly enough, supporters of other parties prefer Charest to Poilievre, with the exception of the populist People’s Party of Canada (49 per cent say they want Poilievre compared to seven per cent who prefer Charest).

Supporters of Charest and Poilievre have entirely different demographic and value profiles. Charest supporters are more likely to be female, over the age of 50, hold a university degree, and are more likely to describe themselves as either middle- or upper-class. Poilievre supporters are more likely to be male, under 50, non-university educated, and tend to describe themselves as poor or working-class.

And as further proof that vaccine status is becoming more of a political divide than ever before, Poilievre supporters are six times more likely to have not vaccinated when compared to Charest voters (18 per cent versus three per cent). Similarly, eight in ten Charest supporters (79 per cent) have received a booster, compared to just 38 per cent among those who prefer Poilievre.

We find significant differences between Charest and Poilievre supporters on social issues. Poilievre supporters are more likely to think that too many immigrants are coming to Canada and that too many of them are visible minorities. Moreover, Charest supporters are far less likely to support the convoy protests, be pro-choice, or oppose a strict gun ban in urban areas. Interestingly enough, when it comes to social issues, Charest supporters tend to look more like Liberal voters, while the profile of Poilievre supporters resembles that of Conservative voters.

In terms of whether the country is going in the right direction or not, Poilievre supporters are almost perfectly in line with CPC voters in overwhelmingly thinking that the country is going in the wrong direction, while Charest supporters and Liberal voters think that the country is headed in the right direction.

If the final Conservative Party membership’s demographic profile and political preferences end up looking somewhat like the Conservative voters in our sample, Poilievre ought to easily win the Conservative Party leadership on September 10th.

Methodology:

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 May 3-9, 2022. In total, a random sample of 2,140 Canadians aged 18 and over responded to the survey. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 2.1 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 this survey.

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

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