With two weeks remaining in campaign, CPC holds three-point advantage over Liberals

With two weeks remaining in campaign, CPC holds three-point advantage over Liberals

Debate looms as fewer than two-in-five view Trudeau (36%), O’Toole (37%) favourably

September 7, 2021 – The fourth week of Canada’s 44th federal election campaign begins against the backdrop of gravel-throwing protestors targeting one party leader, while another made what may amount to a campaign-saving reversal over his stance on military-style assault rifles.

The leaders now hunker down in Ottawa ahead of French and English televised debates in what could be a pivotal period ahead of voting day on Sept. 20. With advance polls opening on Friday, and mail-in ballots already available, voters are able to lock in early based on their impressions from the debates.

The latest data (fielded September 3 – 6) shows both leading parties picking up slight support, but not enough to change the dynamics of the race. The Conservatives, who overtook the Liberals in vote intention last week, gain another two points (35%) driven by increasing support on both coasts. The Liberals are also up two points (32%), while the NDP is down one point from last week (20%).

None of the major parties gains or losses can be considered statistically significant as they wrestle for more support from voters. On the fringes, the PPC picks up two points (5%) while the Green Party has sunk to its lowest point in at least seven years of tracking, at two per cent.

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More Key Findings:

  • With leaders set to take centre stage this week in the English and French debates, three-in-ten Canadians say their opinion of Erin O’Toole has improved in recent weeks, while 24 per cent say this of Jagmeet Singh, and just six per cent of Justin Trudeau.
  • Health care, climate change, and COVID-19 continue to top the list of issues Canadians see facing the country. The economy and housing affordability form a second tier.
  • Jagmeet Singh leads in favourability at 53 per cent. Just 37 per cent view O’Toole favourably and 36 per cent say the same of Trudeau.


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.



Part One: Issues and Leadership

  • Health care, climate, COVID-19 top priorities for Canadians

  • O’Toole maintains momentum

  • Singh leads on favourability, others struggle

Part Two: Vote intent

  • CPC hold three-point edge

  • B.C., Ontario competitive. Atlantic Canada shifting?

  • Older voters key to Liberal-CPC dynamic


Part One: Issues and Leadership

Health care, climate, COVID-19 top priorities for Canadians

As leaders prepare to take the stage on Thursday evening for the first and only English language debate in the 44th federal election campaign, protests and harassment have taken attention away from the core issues affecting potential voters. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was shielded entering his campaign bus this weekend from rocks, and vocal protesters have hurled profanities at recent events.

Nonetheless, there are key issues that voters will be likely hoping to hear about over the final two weeks. Health care, climate change and COVID-19 response continue to draw the most attention, while the economy and housing affordability round out the top five:

O’Toole maintains momentum

Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole clarified his stance on gun control this week, committing that his party will leave in place a ban on so-called “assault-style weapons”, banned in 2020 by a Liberal government order-in-council in May 2020. O’Toole has reaffirmed that he will repeal the order but leave in place the specific ban, leading to debate among leadership and partisans about the CPC stance on gun control.

O’Toole continues to enjoy momentum in the campaign, with 28 per cent of Canadians saying they have an improving opinion of him. This is the highest mark among the federal party leaders. One-quarter (24%) say the same of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, while just six per cent say this of Trudeau. Each leader will have their opportunity to speak to a large audience on Wednesday and Thursday this week for back-to-back English and French debates, in what could be a defining campaign moment:

Singh leads on favourability, others struggle

While O’Toole has the advantage on momentum, his favourability remains relatively low. Both he and Trudeau fail to reach the two-in-five mark on this measure. O’Toole is viewed unfavourably by 54 per cent, Trudeau by 61 per cent.

Only Singh garners majority favourability, as has been the case for much of the campaign:

O’Toole’s rise in favourability stalls this week, unchanged from last. In fact, little changed over the Labour Day long weekend, as Canadians geared up for back to school:

Part Two: Vote intent

CPC hold three-point edge

The CPC maintains a small advantage in vote intention in what has been a tight race for three straight waves of ARI polling. The rival Liberals trail by three points, while one-fifth of voters say they will vote for Singh and the NDP.

Since the writs dropped three weeks ago, the CPC has steadily gained vote intention, while the Liberals remain below their 33 to 35 per cent range seen prior to the election call in 2021. The Green Party has hit a new low at two per cent, half the support they started the year with.

The Green Party’s decline is even more pronounced when looking back at several years’ worth of data. The most recent polling numbers represent a 10-point decline from a 12-per-cent peak in June 2019:

B.C., Ontario competitive. Atlantic Canada shifting?

The CPC garners a majority of support in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and a plurality of likely voters in Manitoba. The party is also tied for the lead in a tight three-way race in B.C. with Singh and the NDP. The Liberals lead the Bloc by eight points in Quebec, the Conservatives by five points in Ontario. Problematic for Trudeau and his team, the Liberals are now statistically tied in Atlantic Canada, an area of traditionally strong support:

If the current picture holds on Canada’s east coast, it would represent a significant gain for the Conservatives. In 2019, former leader Andrew Scheer led the party to just 29 per cent of the popular vote in Atlantic Canada, winning four out of the 32 seats. The Liberals claimed 26 of the remaining seats with 41 per cent of the popular vote. Notably, the Liberals won five of those seats over Conservative candidates in 2019 by margins of five per cent or less of the popular vote.

Older voters key to Liberal-CPC dynamic

Since Aug. 12, the CPC have also made significant gains among the two largest voting demographics in the 2019 election. Nearly half of men aged 55 and older say they will vote for the Conservatives, a gain of seven points. While the Liberals still lead among women aged 55 and older, the gap between them and the Conservatives has closed by 12 points since before the election was called.

Survey Methodology:

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Sept. 3 – 6, 2021 among a representative randomized sample of 1,709 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 +/- 2.5 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.


Angus Reid, Chairman: 604.505.2229 angus@angusreid.org

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

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