Abacus Data | Deadlocked: Liberals and Conservatives head into fall session one point apart

By Bruce Anderson and David Coletto

We just completed a national survey of 1,500 Canadian adults from August 26-30, 2022.

If an election were held today, 33% would vote for the Conservative Party, 32% for the Liberal Party, 19% for the NDP and 7% for the BQ.

These numbers are all within the margin of error of last year’s federal election results.

The latest figures send unclear signals to both major parties: Conservatives will wonder if what seemed like positive momentum is fading, and Liberals will wonder if what seemed like declining support has stalled. Only time, events, and more data over time will tell which scenario is accurate.


In the three provinces that elect the largest proportion of seats in the House of Commons, the result indicates a three-way race in British Columbia, a tie race between the Conservatives and the Liberals in Ontario, and the Liberals with a narrow lead (4 points) on the BQ in Quebec. The Liberals have a big lead in Atlantic Canada and the Conservatives have a huge advantage in the Prairies.


While more people are dissatisfied with Ottawa’s performance, our latest numbers show modest improvement for the government, after seeing satisfaction levels deteriorate in recent months. Today, 36% are satisfied, and 49% are dissatisfied.


Public sentiment towards Prime Minister Trudeau has deteriorated thanks to our survey over the summer, but the latest results show no further decline. The shift is small enough to be careful not to overinterpret a single data point. The Prime Minister’s negatives still stand at 50% – the second highest negative reading we’ve seen during his tenure in politics.


For the past two years, Jagmeet Singh has been the most popular Federal Leader, at one point his net rating was +21 (46% positive/25% negative). Since then, his positives have slipped to 34% and his negatives have risen to 31%, leaving him with a net rating of +3.


At the start of the Conservative leadership race, 42% had an opinion of Mr. Poilievre. Today, as the race draws to a close, only 49% have an opinion. During that time, his positives have always been in the range of 20% to 22%, and his negatives have gone from 22% to 27%.


According to Bruce Anderson“As the Trudeau government heads toward a Cabinet and full caucus retreat, the public opinion data will provide some encouragement that the deterioration we are seeing may have stalled. At the same time, there is not much evidence of enthusiasm for the Liberals, with dissatisfaction figures near all-time highs, including for the Prime Minister. About 7 million voters are looking for something they are not currently finding from the Trudeau government. For the Conservatives, the numbers are also mixed – this leadership race has failed to build momentum for the Party, and perceptions of the likely winner have moved in the wrong direction, albeit modestly. As it stands, they’re very competitive, but not winning many new hearts and minds, despite the Liberals’ obvious vulnerability.

According to David Coletto:The Canadian political environment continues to be deeply fragmented. The Liberals and Conservatives are deadlocked in voting intentions, disapproval with the federal government and Mr. Trudeau is higher than it has been. But at the same time, Mr Singh’s negatives rose while his positives fell. Mr. Poilievre is seen more negatively than positively, but he is a blank canvas for many. The reaction of Canadians who do not know Mr. Poilievre to him will be what I will be watching more closely in the coming months.

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The survey was conducted among 1,500 Canadian adults from August 26-30, 2022. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the exchange platform Lucid. These partners are typically double-opt-in survey panels, combined to manage potential biases in data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability random sample of the same size is +/- 2.6% 19 times out of 20.

The data was weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample corresponded to the population of Canada by age, gender, education level and region. Totals may not add to 100 due to rounding.

This survey was funded by Abacus Data Inc.

Abacus Data follows CRIC’s Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements which can be found here: https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/


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