Déjà vu all over again? CPC, Liberals locked in tight battle with smaller parties poised to make the difference

Déjà vu all over again? CPC, Liberals locked in tight battle with smaller parties poised to make the difference

NDP nibbles Liberal support while PPC does the same to CPC

September 18, 2021 – Canada’s 44th election campaign is rounding the final turn. With what little time they have left to sway voters, the two leading parties find themselves largely where they left off at the end of the last election.

The Liberals and the Conservatives are separated by very little daylight, fighting for advantage in a race that may now depend on factors not entirely in their control: voter turnout, and the performance of other parties.

New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds both leading parties in a statistical tie (32% CPC, 30% Liberal). For the Liberals, it represents a decline from 36 per cent voter support at the beginning of the campaign, though the party maintains a position of strength in battleground Ontario.

The CPC’s traditional bastions of support in the Prairies have remained strong, and burgeoning support in British Columbia has further boosted its fortunes.

That said, both Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are feeling the squeeze – driven by an increase in support for the New Democratic Party and the emergence of the People’s Party of Canada.

More Key Findings:

  • The Liberal Party has lost double-digit support among both men older than 54 (-14) and women over 54 (-11) since the campaign began in early August. The CPC has lost vote intention share among men younger than 55 but has increased it among those aged 55 and older.
  • The Green Party appears poised to regress considerably from 2019, garnering just three per cent support currently after receiving 6.5 per cent in the last election. Meanwhile, the People’s Party appears set to improve.
  • For more information on where and how to vote, visit the Elections Canada website here.


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.


Liberals, Conservatives in statistical tie

What has been a tight election campaign for weeks heads into voting day in a statistical tie between the two parties contending to form government. The Conservatives (32%) and Liberals (30%) both garner the support of three-in-ten of decided voters, while one-in-five say they will vote for the NDP.

Despite beginning from a position of strength, the Liberal Party’s fortunes have fallen since reaching a peak of 36 per cent in mid-August earlier this year. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has, in particular, struggled to answer the question of why the election was held in the first place and may be more vulnerable in the face of what might be a stronger outcome for the NDP, which finished the 2019 campaign with 16 per cent of the popular vote.

The Conservative Party, on the other hand, ends its campaign close to where it began, with the vote intention of 32 per cent of Canadians. Leader Erin O’Toole has gained in the estimation of his own party supporters over recent weeks but has had difficulty garnering the favour of others and expanding the party’s appeal beyond its traditional base. The Conservative situation in Ontario is notable, where it trails the Liberals by six points, but has seen popular support in that province for the PPC rise to five per cent.

While the NDP have made inroads in the Alberta, Manitoba, and Atlantic Canada, their share of the popular vote remains relatively stable at one-in-five Canadians (20%). As previously noted, this would be a better result than the party enjoyed in 2019.

The Bloc Québécois, for its part, have also remained stable and currently sit at seven per cent of the national vote intent, and one-third (31%) in Quebec. This in spite of an English debate which some suggested may have galvanized those sympathetic to the Bloc’s cause.

Among the smaller parties, the Greens never managed to regain the momentum they found in the previous election and finish this campaign at three per cent. While excluded from the federal leaders’ debates, Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada has gained momentum in these last legs of the campaign and now sits at five per cent driven by important gains across the Prairies.

The ground has shifted in key battleground provinces after a month of campaigning. The Liberals have dropped out of what was a narrow three-way race in B.C., while the Conservatives found some separation from Singh and the NDP. In Quebec, the Bloc closed a six-point gap over the course of the campaign to pull into a tie with the Liberals. Still, Trudeau’s party enjoys a plurality of support in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, while the Conservatives hold strong in Alberta and Saskatchewan:

The Conservatives’ campaign gained them ground among key voting demographics. O’Toole’s support among men aged 55 and older has risen to a majority level since the start of the election. Only one-in-five of that demographic say they will vote for Trudeau, a decline from one-in-three at the beginning of the campaign. The Liberals also lost ground among women aged 55 and over, though they still enjoy the support of a plurality of that age-gender group:

Survey Methodology:

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Sept. 15 – 18, 2021 among a representative randomized sample of 2,042 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.

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

To read the full report including detailed tables and methodology, click here.

To read the questionnaire, click here.


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

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

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