Conservatives Stable, NDP Drops and Liberals Gain in Canada

The governing Conservative Party remains ahead in Canada, as support for the New Democratic Party (NDP) has dropped since the start of the year, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll conducted for the Toronto Star and La Presse has found.

The online survey of a representative national sample of 2,028 Canadian adults also found that a majority of Canadians expect Justin Trudeau to become the next leader of the Liberal Party.

Voting Intention

Across the country, 35 per cent of decided voters and leaners (unchanged since early January) would support the Conservative candidate in their riding if a federal election were held tomorrow.

The New Democrats are in second place with 29 per cent (-4), followed by the Liberal Party with 22 per cent (+3), the Green Party with six per cent (=) and the Bloc Québécois also with six per cent (=).

The Tories remain dominant in their strongholds of Alberta (62%) and Manitoba and Saskatchewan (53%), and hold the upper hand in Ontario (38%). The NDP is first in Quebec (32%), but with the Bloc (25%) and the Liberals (21%) gaining ground. The New Democrats are tied with the Conservatives in British Columbia (35% each).

The Conservatives have extended their lead among male voters (39%, to 28% for the NDP), and the two main parties remain practically even among female voters (31% for the Tories, 30% for the New Democrats). The Conservatives are the top choice for decided voters aged 55 and over (43%) and those aged 35-to-54 (38%), while the NDP is most popular with voters aged 18-to-34 (41%).

The three parties are keeping a good retention rate from the 2011 election, with the Conservatives holding on to 87 per cent of their voters, the Liberals retaining 82 per cent of them, and the New Democrats at 80 per cent.

The NDP is regarded favourably by half of Canadians (50%), while more than a third of respondents hold positive opinions of the Conservative Party (39%), the Liberal Party (38%) and the Green Party (35%). In Quebec, 41 per cent of respondents have a favourable view of the Bloc Québécois.

The approval rating for NDP and Official Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair stands at 41 per cent, while Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper checks in at 40 per cent. A third of Canadians (33%) approve of the way Bob Rae is handling his duties.

Liberal Leadership Race

Justin Trudeau is the best known federal Liberal leadership contender, with 22 per cent of Canadians saying they know his background and ideas “very well” and a further 48 per cent saying they know “a little” about it. Two-five respondents (42%) know something about the background and ideas of Marc Garneau. In contrast, more than three-in-five Canadians do not know enough about the seven remaining leadership contenders.

Two-in-five Canadians (40%) say they are more likely to vote for the Liberals in the next election with Justin Trudeau as leader, while one-in-four (23%) would be more likely to do so under Marc Garneau. The remaining leadership contenders are in single digits on this question.

A Justin Trudeau-led Liberal Party would be essentially tied with the Conservatives among decided voters (33%, to 34% for the Tories), while Marc Garneau would garner one-in-four votes (25%, behind the NDP at 28% and the Conservatives at 34%). Under Martha Hall Findlay and Martin Cauchon, the Liberals are a distant third (19% and 17% respectively).

A majority of Canadians (55%) expect Justin Trudeau to win the Liberal leadership race, while 33 per cent are uncertain. In addition, 27 per cent of respondents would like to see the new Liberal leader draw inspiration from Pierre Trudeau, while smaller proportions would rather see Jean Chrétien (12%) and Lester B. Pearson (11%) as examples to follow.

Only a quarter of Canadians (25%) support a full merger between the Liberals and the NDP, while a slightly higher proportion (29%) is in favour of an agreement between the two parties to only run candidates from one of the two parties in ridings where vote splitting occurs. Two-in-five respondents (41%) support a formal agreement between the two parties to share power in a coalition government, if the opportunity arises, while a majority (58%) would simply keep the status quo, with both parties remaining fully independent of each other.

In the event of a merger between the Liberals and NDP, 23 per cent of respondents would like to see the winner of the Liberal leadership race become the leader of the merged party, while 15 per cent would prefer Thomas Mulcair. Most Canadians are either undecided (38%) or would rather have a different person (24%) leading the merged party.

About two-in-five Canadians (38%) say they are “very likely” or “moderately likely” to vote for the Liberal Party in the next federal election. Those who are unlikely to vote Liberal cite that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are doing a good job (30%), that the Liberal Party has lost its way (26%) and that they have never voted Liberal (25%) as reasons for their decision.

Across Canada, only 23 per cent of respondents are aware that Daniel Paillé is the leader of the Bloc Québécois.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From January 16 to January 17, 2013, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 2,028 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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