NDP lead slips, gap with Liberals closes

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NDP lead slips, gap with Liberals closes

Minority government with Liberal Opposition seen

TORONTO September 2nd, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1384 Canadian voters, more than one third will vote for the NDP in the coming federal election (36%) while just less than a third will vote Liberal (32%). These results represent a four-point slip for the NDP since last week (August 25 - 40%) and a slight increase for the Liberals (from 30% to 32%), which have reduced the gap between the two parties to four points from ten. The Conservatives continue to lag, with one quarter of the vote (24% this week, 23% last week). Few will vote Green or Bloc Quebecois (4%), or for another party (1%).

NDP minority seen, Liberals in Opposition

If these results are projected up to the new 338 seat House of Commons, the NDP would win a minority government of 141 seats, 29 fewer than required for a majority. The Liberals would form the Official Opposition, with 123 seats, and the Conservatives would be relegated to third party status, with 73 seats. The Greens would seat their leader and the Bloc would not seat any members.

NDP lead in Quebec, BC, tied in Atlantic Canada, prairies

In vote-rich Ontario, the Liberals now lead (42%) and the NDP are second (32%). In this critical province, the Conservatives trail (21%). In strategic Quebec, the NDP have a firm lead (43%), while The Conservatives (22%) outstrip the Liberals (18%) and the Bloc (14%). In Atlantic Canada, the NDP and the Liberals are tied (40% and 41%, respectively), and the Conservatives trail (16%). In the prairies, the NDP and, of all parties, the Liberals are tied (34% and 35%, respectively) while the Conservatives trail (27%). In Alberta alone do the Conservatives lead (45%), trailed by the NDP (30%) and the Liberals (20%). In BC, the NDP (37%) have a small lead over the Liberals (31%), but, once again, the Conservatives trail (24%). In fact, the Conservatives trail in every region of the country except Alberta.

One fifth of past Conservatives, one quarter of past Liberals will vote NDP

One fifth of those who voted Conservative in 2011 will vote for the NDP this time around (18%), and one tenth will vote Liberal (11%). Just two thirds will vote the party they voted in the last election (67%). One quarter of past Liberals are voting NDP this time (25%), while one sixth of past New Democrats return the favour (15%). Very few past New Democrats or Liberals will vote Conservative (3% and 4%, respectively). This puts to rest the theory that there are “blue Liberals” who will vote Conservative to prevent an NDP win. In fact, the NDP vote is now the “stickiest” (the most past voters will vote the party again) at three quarters (77%) to two thirds for the Liberals and the Conservatives (68% and 67%, respectively), which is a reversal of results noted as recently as six months ago.

NDP strongly leads as party expected to win

The NDP is well out in front on this anticipatory measure, with well more than a third expecting a New Democratic victory (36%), compared to just one quarter who expect the Liberals (22%) or the Conservatives (24%) to win. Expectations of a Liberal victory have increased sharply (from 17%) since last week. One fifth of those voting Liberal expect the NDP to win (20%).

Mulcair leads as best PM

Three-in-ten voters see Tom Mulcair as the best Prime Minister (31%), compared to just a quarter who view Justin Trudeau or Stephen Harper this way (24% each). Elizabeth May (8%) and Gilles Duceppe (3%) are not considered on this measure. One sixth of those voting Liberal think Tom Mulcair would be the best Prime Minister (14%).

Mulcair favourables down slightly

Tom Mulcair has the approval of one half of voters (50%), down slightly from last week (54%). His net favourable rating (approve minus disapprove) is a positive +20, down slightly from +27. Justin Trudeau’s approval is steady at just less than a half (46%) and his net is +7. Stephen Harper’s approval is steady at just more than a quarter (28%) and his net favourable score is a very negative -38. One tenth of Conservative voters do not approve of the Prime Minister (10%).

Mulcair, Harper tied on best to handle economy

Three-in-ten voters think either Tom Mulcair (30%) or Stephen Harper (29%) is best able to handle the economy, which is very rare for an NDP leader. Fewer see Justin Trudeau in this role (24%).

The end of the Duffy trial (for now) and talk of a recession, whether technical or not, have both reduced the glitter of the NDP for now, but their lead is still solid, and, what’s more, the electorate have come to believe they can win, which is an important psychological hurdle in itself," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at lbozinoff@forumresearch.com or at (416) 960-9603.