Federal Politics: Liberals lead Tories by 3

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A new national survey (June 25 to July 3, 2014) shows the federal Liberal Party with a 3-point lead among committed voters, at 34% followed by the Conservatives at 31% and the NDP at 23%.  Among all eligible voters 28% said they would vote Liberal, 25% Conservative, 19% NDP and 19% are undecided.  Since March, Liberal support is unchanged while the Tories are up three and the BQ is down three.

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Three Way Race in BC, Liberals ahead in Quebec

This survey oversampled respondents in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec allowing us to make more confident assessments of regional voting intentions.  In British Columbia, the three main parties are locked in a close three-way race with the Conservatives at 32% among committed voters and the NDP and Liberals tied for second at 28%.

In Ontario, the Liberals and Conservatives are statistically tied with the Liberals at 36% and the Conservatives at 34%.  The NDP is well back in third at 22%.

In Quebec, the Liberals have a 12-point lead over the NDP with the Liberals at 36%, the NDP at 24% and the BQ at 19%.  The Conservative Party remains in fourth place in Quebec at 17% of committed voter support.

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Liberals lead among women and those aged 30 to 44.  Tories lead among those aged 60 and over.

The Liberals have a six-point lead over the Tories among women (35% to 29%) while the two parties are tied among male voters (Liberals 34%, Tories 33%).  Among different age groups, the Tories lead by six among those aged 60 and over while the Liberals have a 13-point lead over the Tories among those aged 30 to 44.  The Liberals also do well among those who have some university education, leading the Tories by 10-points (Liberals 39%, Conservative 29%, NDP 23%).

Liberals gain from both Conservative and NDP 2011 voters

The Liberals are doing well at holding their 2011 supporters and drawing from those who voted NDP and Conservative in 2011.  Among those who voted Tory in 2011, 13% intend to vote Liberal.  Among those who voted NDP, 23% intend to support the Liberals.  In contrast, the Liberals have maintained 89% of their former vote, losing 5% of past supporters to the NDP and 3% to the Tories.

Second Choices

When committed voters are asked which party would be their second choice, the NDP and Liberals are tied with 25% selecting the NDP as their second choice and 23% selecting the Liberals.  Thirteen percent selected the Tories as their second choice while 18% said they had no second choice.

Those who support the Conservative Party were most likely to say they had no second choice (35%) while another 30% of CPC supporters picked the Liberals as their second choice.  19% of Conservative Party supporters selected the NDP as their second choice.

Among Liberal supporters, the NDP was most likely to be selected as their second choice with 38% picking the NDP and 25% selecting the Tories.  Nineteen percent of Liberal supporters said they did not have a second choice.

Among NDP supporters, 41% picked the Liberal Party as their second choice while 16% selected either the BQ or Green Party.  Twelve percent of NDP supporters selected the Conservative Party as their second choice.

Impression of Federal Party Leaders

Respondents were also asked for their impression of the main party leaders.  There has been little change in overall impressions since March 2014.  Canadians are more likely to have a positive impression of Justin Trudeau (37%) than any other leader but Tom Mulcair continues to have the most positive net impression.  However, a large number of Canadians (16%) still do know enough about Mr. Mulcair to have an opinion of him.

Stephen Harper remains a polarizing figure with 44% saying they have a negative impression of him while 29% have a positive impression leading to a net impression of -15.

Harper Government Approval Rating

Just over one in three Canadians (35%) approve of the job the Harper Government is doing while 43% say they disapprove.  Another 22% of Canadians surveyed say they neither approve nor disapprove.  This is largely unchanged since March 2014 when 33% of Canadians said they approved of the Harper Government.

Approval of the government is highest in Alberta (50%) and lowest in Quebec (24%).  The Harper Government receives higher marks from men (39%) than from women (32%).

Of note, 71% of those who voted Conservative in 2011 approve of the Harper Government’s job performance, while 16% disapprove.  Among those who disapprove and voted CPC in 2011, 27% would vote Liberal, 27% would vote NDP, while 25% would vote Conservative.  Another 17% say they are currently undecided.

Commentary from Abacus CEO David Coletto

As the summer begins, little has changed in public opinion or federal vote intentions.  The Liberals continue to lead the Conservatives, which they have done in our tracking since January 2014.  This lead is based on the party’s ability to attract a large proportion of former NDP and Conservative Party supporters.  The Liberals are now first or second in every region of the country.  They are tied for second in British Columbia, are second in Alberta, and are tied for first with the Tories in Ontario.  Moreover, east of the Ottawa River, they had a clear lead in Quebec and in Atlantic Canada.

For the Tories, the government’s approval has remained steady at around 33% to 35% for the last year.  The party is strong in the Prairies and competitive in Ontario.  Tory support, however, has slipped in BC since 2011 (down 14-points) and Quebec and Atlantic Canada are going to be difficult regions for the party to hold seats or make gains.

For the NDP, the party continues to poll higher than its historic position thanks largely to its support in Quebec.  However, it has lost some ground in BC and trails the Liberals and Conservatives in Ontario.  Although Tom Mulcair has the highest net positive rating of the three main party leaders, a large number of Canadians still don’t know enough about to form an opinion in regions outside of Quebec.  His challenge remains to introduce himself to many voters outside of Quebec.

Methodology

The survey was conducted online with 2,000 respondents by Abacus Data. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of Canadians, recruited and managed by Research Now, one of the world’s leading provider of online research samples.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys.   The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

For more information please contact David Coletto, CEO at david@abacusdata.ca or at 613-232-2806 or Bruce Anderson at banderson@abacusdata.ca