Federal Politics: Liberals gain three as race in Ontario tightens

A new national survey by Ottawa-based Abacus Data finds that the Conservative Party holds an 8-point lead over the Liberal Party but that the margin has decreased since early December.

Nationally, the Conservative Party was the choice of 35% of decided voters while 27% of Canadians said they would vote Liberal.  The NDP was at 18%, followed by the Bloc Quebecois at 10%, and the Green Party at 9%.  Thirteen percent of respondents were undecided.

“Going into the new session of Parliament, nothing has really changed in the political landscape,” said David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.  “The Liberals are up slightly, the NDP are down slightly, and the Conservatives are holding steady.”

Regionally, the race between the Conservatives and Liberals has tightened to the point of a statistical tie.  The Conservatives have the support of 38% of decided Ontario voters while the Liberals have 36% of the vote preference.  The NDP trails both with 16%.

“Ontario is shaping up to become the battleground for the next election,” said Coletto.  “The Liberals seem to be shifting votes away from the NDP into their tent which is having a positive effect on their national numbers.”

The survey also looked at how stable voter preferences are and what voters’ second choice preferences were.

“Our research finds that Conservative supporters are the least likely to say they will switch their vote before the next election while, Liberal and NDP voters are far more fluid,” said Coletto.  “The problem for the Liberal Party is that only 20% of New Democrats say their second choice would be the Liberals while 41% of Liberals cite the NDP as their second choice.”

“Overall, Conservative support is holding steady.  It is those voters unhappy with the Conservative government that need to settle themselves out – do they vote Liberal, NDP, BQ or Green?  The answer to that question has not been finalized yet.”

Read the full report here.

Methodology
Between January 21 and 24, 2011, Abacus Data Inc. conducted an online survey among 1,105  randomly selected Canadian adults from an online panel of over 100,000 Canadians.

The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is comparable to +/- 3.0%, 19 times out of 20.

Results of the survey were statistically weighted by gender, age, region, and language using census data from Statistics Canada and by past vote using Elections Canada results from the 2008 General Election. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.