Liberals open up lead, Conservatives lag

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Liberals open up lead, Conservatives lag

NDP in 3rd nationwide, 1st in Quebec

TORONTO October 7th, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1447 Canadian voters two weeks before the October 19 Federal election, more than one third will vote for the Liberals (35%), while about 3-in-10 will vote Conservative (31%). About one quarter will vote NDP (26%), and few will vote either Green (3%) or Bloc Quebecois (4%). These findings represent an eight point jump for the Liberals since last week (September 29, Liberals - 27%) and a three point drop for the Conservatives (from 34%). The NDP vote may have shrunk slightly (from 28% on September 29).

Liberals lead in Ontario, Prairies

In the Liberal fortress of Atlantic Canada, they are dominant (62%), while in Quebec, the NDP still holds first place (34%), while the Liberals (24%) and Conservatives strive for second (23%). The Bloc is third (16%). In Ontario, the Liberals hold a slight lead (38%), while the Conservatives are close in second (33%), and the NDP have fallen back (23%) where they once led. The Liberals lead in the prairies (40%), with the Conservatives second (35%) and the NDP, once again, trailing (24%). The Conservatives dominate Alberta (52%), the Liberals have half their vote (26%) and the NDP fewer (19%). The parties are very close in BC (Liberals - 33%, Conservatives - 30%, NDP - 31%).

Tied parliament seen

If these results are projected up to the newly expanded House of Commons, the Conservatives, despite trailing in the popular vote, will take 122 seats, to an almost identical 120 seats for the Liberals. The NDP would have the balance of power with 94 seats and the Greens and Bloc would each take a single seat.

Age/gender gap in Conservative vote, less so in NDP vote

The Conservative vote is especially likely to be male (35%) and the oldest voters (39%), while the NDP vote is common to the youngest (39%) and females (29%). The Liberal vote is relatively balanced across age and gender.

One fifth of past Conservatives now voting Liberal

One fifth of those who voted Conservative in 2011 will vote Liberal this time (18%), while one quarter of 2011 New Democrats will also vote Liberal (25%). One-in-six past Liberals will vote NDP (15%). This represents a shift from previous polls, where past Liberals voting NDP exceeded those voting the other way. Very few past Liberals or New Democrats will vote for the Conservatives this time.

Core Conservatives most committed, switching Liberals and New Democrats less so

Close to 8-in-10 Conservative voters say they are strong supporters of their party (78%), but this is only characteristic of about 6-in-10 Liberals (58%) or New Democrats (60%). This is because many of these voters come from each other’s parties.

3-in-10 says vote could change before election

Three-in-ten voters have not yet made their choice final (29%) and these are much more likely to be Liberals (33%) and New Democrats (34%) than Conservatives (14%). This confirms the remaining core of Conservative voters is a very committed group, while Liberal and New Democratic voters are open to voting strategically.

4-in-10 Liberals, New Democrats are voting strategically

In total, just more than a quarter of voters say they are voting for “the party that can defeat the government” (28%), rather than voting for “the party they believe in” (64%), but this increases to 4-in-10 among Liberals (39%) and New Democrats (41%).

Liberals, Conservatives equally likely to be seen as victors

Both the Liberals and the Conservatives are expected to win the election (35% each) while the NDP is no longer a contender (15%). While this tends to be a trailing measure, it may be an indication of potential growth in the Liberal vote.

Trudeau, Harper tied for best PM

Justin Trudeau (28%) and Stephen Harper (27%) are in a tie for best Prime Minister, but it is interesting that Tom Mulcair, who used to lead this measure, now scores in third place (22%). This stands in contrast to last week, when Stephen Harper was seen as best Prime Minister (29%).

Harper’s approvals down, Trudeau’s up

Stephen Harper has the approval of 3-in-10 voters (30%), equal to his vote share, and down slightly from last week (33%). His net favourable score (approve minus disapprove) is also down, from -28 to -33. Tom Mulcair’s approval is steady since last week (49%), and his net hasn’t changed either (+15). Justin Trudeau has seen his approval improve (from 46% to 49%), as has his net favourability (+7 to +14%).

Niqab issue will influence one fifth of votes: claim

One fifth of voters say the niqab issue will influence their vote (20%), and one half of these voters say the issue will influence their vote “a great deal” (11% in total). Claiming this level of engagement in the controversy is characteristic of the least wealthy (16%), in Quebec (16%), among Conservatives (17%), Bloquistes (22%), Francophones (16%), moms (14%) and the least educated (14%). In total, three quarters say the issue will not influence their vote (73%) and more than half say it will not influence it “at all” (57%).

While it appears the Conservatives' niqab ploy has been successful in Quebec, it may be that it has backfired elsewhere in Canada, especially in the larger cities, and the TPP agreement hasn’t been a game changer either coupled with what we see as the undecided vote coalescing around the Liberal flag, this spells increasing trouble for the New Democrats, who were once seen as the best antidote to the Conservatives, but are no longer," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

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