Centre-Left Scuffle: Conservatives maintain lead as Liberals struggle to lock in vacillating progressives

Centre-Left Scuffle: Conservatives maintain lead as Liberals struggle to lock in vacillating progressives

CPC leads by 7 points as Liberals stand still; NDP emerges as 2nd choice among uncommitted voters

October 1, 2019 – An inability so far in this 43rd election campaign for the incumbent Liberal Party to lock in left of centre voters is giving the Conservatives the widest lead they have seen since the writs were drawn September 11th.

The latest public opinion poll from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute shows the CPC seven points ahead of Justin Trudeau’s party (37% to 30%). But digging deeper beyond these topline findings reveals the Prime Minister’s biggest headache is less likely to be Andrew Scheer than Elizabeth May, Jagmeet Singh and Yves-François Blanchett.

In a week that witnessed climate strikes across the country, the three leaders representing the most significant threats to the Liberal vote have had plenty of ammunition to play to environmental purists and attack Trudeau on his environmental record.

Still, voter uncertainty, especially among identified NDP and Green offers continuing – if not frustrating – flashes of hope for the party seeking re-election. The Liberals could win back progressive voters, especially outside Quebec. But they remain stymied in attempts to turn this jelly-like base into a more solid mould.

More Key Findings:

  • Uncertainty in terms of vote intention on October 21 is highest among NDP and Green voters. Only one-quarter of those who intend to support each party say they are absolutely certain they will do so. This, compared to seven-in-ten (68%) CPC supporters who say their support will not waver
  • The NDP, which has remained stubbornly in a distant third place appears to be emerging as the top second choice on among uncommitted voters. In fact, half of uncommitted Liberals (54%) and Green supporters (53%) say the NDP is their plan B
  • Check of battleground provinces reveals Green Party up slightly up in British Columbia (+3), CPC up in key battleground of Ontario (+3), and Bloc Quebecois making gains in all important Quebec (+4)


About ARI

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.



Indecision among left-of-centre dominates

  • Second choice?

Vote Picture

  • Regional check-in

  • Age and Gender trend

Best Prime Minister

Favourability and momentum


Indecision among left-of-centre dominates

Canadians may be consuming more election coverage than ever as the October 21st vote looms, yet halfway through the campaign only about half of the population is locked in.

What remains particularly notable about this vote certainty – or lack thereof – is how much it favours the Conservative Party. Seven-in-ten CPC voters (68%) say that they have made up their mind, which is nearly double the number of committed Liberals (38%), and more than twice the level of both NDP (27%) and Green (26%) supporters.

The strength of the CPC base is also identifiable by looking at vote retention. That is, how many 2015 supporters of the party are back for the 2019 election. Andrew Scheer retains nearly nine-in-ten (88%) of Stephen Harper’s supporters from four years ago, while Trudeau is evidently retaining six-in-ten (60%) of his voters at this point:

Second choice?

So, while a significant proportion of electorate marches closer to the wire before committing to one party over another, second choices become an important consideration. Among Canadians who are both uncommitted and identify as having a second choice, the New Democrats have the most room for growth.

Three-in-ten soft voters consider them the next in line, include 54 per cent of uncommitted Liberals and 53 per cent of uncommitted Green supporters. Notably, 30 per cent of uncommitted Conservatives would support the People’s Party if they did not support Andrew Scheer:

Vote Picture

This situation paints a picture of fluidity within the former centre-left coalition that coalesced to support Justin Trudeau and the Liberals in 2015. This, plus a firm vote base for the CPC. Currently, 37 per cent of Canadians say they would support the Conservative candidate in their riding, while three-in-ten would support the Liberals. The number for the Liberal Party is unchanged after a post blackface dip, while the Conservative Party remains in the same range it has occupied for most of 2019. The NDP is chosen by 14 per cent of respondents while a similar number choose the Green Party (8%) and the Bloc Quebecois (7%):

Regional check-in

The slight increase in national vote for the CPC appears to be on the strength of an uptick in support among Ontario residents. The CPC now hold a slight five-point advantage in Canada’s most populous province. The Conservatives also hold a seven-point lead in British Columbia, while the Liberals maintain their advantage in Quebec:


Meanwhile, the resurgent Bloc Quebecois has gained four points in Quebec to reach its highest mark of the year. The party is up 11 points since August and appears to be a strong contender for a number of seats currently held by the NDP:

Related: In 2015’s closest ridings CPC makes gains, Liberals decline, NDP deflates

Age and Gender trend

The Conservative Party continues to command significant support from men ages 35 and over, with half of this group supporting the party. Trudeau and the Liberals, meanwhile, see slight gains among men of all ages largely cancelled by declining support among women of all ages. The NDP continues to resonate with voters in the 18 to 34 age group:

Best Prime Minister

There is one question where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to maintain an advantage over Andrew Scheer: the question of who would make the best Prime Minister. Partisanship dominates this question when Liberals and Conservatives are asked to pick between the two leaders, but Trudeau also generates three-quarters of support or better among those who intend to support the NDP or Green Party, suggesting that strategic voting may play in the Liberal Party’s favour in some close ridings:

Favourability and Momentum

For the second week in a row, Jagmeet Singh leads in federal leader favourability. Just under half (46%) of Canadians say that they have a favourable view of the NDP leader, though the same number (45%) say they feel unfavourably about him. An identical number (41%) have a favourable view of Andrew Scheer and Green leader Elizabeth May, while just 35 per cent view the Prime Minister positively:

Momentum also favours Singh. Asked whether their opinion of each leader has improved, worsened or stayed the same since the campaign began three weeks ago, only the NDP leader has more respondents saying it has improved versus worsened. Prime Minister Trudeau scores a -41 compared to Singh’s +12, while Andrew Scheer is also in negative territory:


For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

Click here to read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology.

Click here to read the full questionnaire used in this report.


Shachi Kurl, Executive Director: 604.908.1693 shachi.kurl@angusreid.org @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Associate: 250.899.0821 dave.korzinski@angusreid.org

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