Federal Politics: Liberal Party holds six-point lead over CPC in vote intention

Federal Politics: Liberal Party holds six-point lead over CPC in vote intention

Support for Liberals grows as assessment of how government has handled COVID-19 remains high

June 1, 2020 – As Canadian communities begin to resume many day-to-day activities suspended by the COVID-19 outbreak, a new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds two-thirds of Canadians (67%) saying the federal government has done a good job over the past months in responding to the pandemic, and more than half approving of the Prime Minister (55%) in his work as well.

Sentiment that the federal government has handled the COVID-19 outbreak well is expressed at a majority level in each region of the country. Against this backdrop, the Liberal Party of Canada now holds a six-point advantage in national vote intention. 37 per cent of Canadians say that they would support the Liberal candidate in their riding if an election were held, while 31 per cent say they would support the Conservative Party.

More Key Findings:

  • Half of Canadians (49%) say that Canada is on the right track, while 34 per cent disagree and 17 per cent say that they are not sure
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval rating is highest in Quebec (60%) and Atlantic Canada (60%) and lowest in Alberta (35%) and Saskatchewan (31%)
  • The Liberal Party is currently the vote choice of 26 per cent of those who supported the Green Party in October, and 19 per cent of those who supported the NDP


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: Two-thirds satisfied with pandemic response

  • Half now say Canada is on the right track

  • Trudeau approval remains above majority

  • Favourability of other federal party leaders

Part Two: Vote intention picture

  • Regional look

  • Age and gender

  • Liberals drawing from past NDP, Green supporters


Part One: Two-thirds satisfied with pandemic response

The COVID-19 outbreak in Canada has been regionally uneven. Some provinces, such as Manitoba and New Brunswick, have been disrupted but largely unaffected by illness, with fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 residents. Others, such as Ontario and Quebec, have endured significantly higher levels of illness, and unfathomable tragedy in their long-term care homes.

The federal government has been tasked with supporting the needs of each region of the country, and has offered help through a number of programs including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), an increase in benefits for parents, wage top-ups for low-income workers, a wage subsidy for businesses, and more than $1.7 billion to clean up oil and gas wells in Western Canada, among others.

Asked if they feel the response has been adequate, two-thirds of Canadians (67%) give the federal government a “good” rating, while three-in-ten (30%) say they feel the government has done a poor job:

A majority of residents in every region of the country say that they feel the federal government has done a good job. Alberta and Saskatchewan residents are close to divided, while the rest of the country leans more heavily towards commending government:

Viewed through the prism of politics it becomes clear that the overwhelming majority of those who voted for either the Liberal Party, NDP or Green Party feel the government is doing a good job, while Bloc Quebecois supporters and past Conservatives are more critical:

Half now say Canada is on the right track

Notably, as Canada goes through one of its most difficult financial periods in history and Canadians’ stress levels remain high, the opinion that the country is on the right track has increased significantly since February. Half of Canadians (49%) now hold this view:

Trudeau approval remains above majority

In April, the Angus Reid Institute noted that Justin Trudeau has seen his approval rise to its highest mark since 2017. His approval remains statistically unchanged, with 55 per cent of Canadians now endorsing the PM’s performance.

This view, obviously, is not unanimous. Trudeau’s Liberals, alongside NDP and Green members of Parliament, voted to suspend regular parliamentary sessions for another four months, in favour of continuing with a version of the COVID-19 committee that has been in effect in recent weeks. Conservative and Bloc Quebecois MP’s voted against the decision to not return to full sessions. Overall, 44 per cent of Canadians disapprove of the prime minister.

Regionally, Trudeau’s approval is considerably higher in B.C., Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada than it is in Alberta and Saskatchewan:

Men of all ages are close to evenly divided in their assessment of Trudeau, while women of all ages lean toward approval:

Favourability of other federal party leaders

While serving as Official Opposition leader during the COVID-19 pandemic, interim Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer has been called upon to be a counterweight to the Liberals in power. The CPC for example, pushed back on controversial spending powers in the first draft of coronavirus response legislation, the bill eventually being amended. Scheer will retain his leadership role for longer than planned, with the party now holding its leadership election in August via mail-in vote, instead of the initially planned June convention.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has advocated for expanding several economic COVID-19 relief measures like the CERB, and has been working with the Liberals to pursue a plan for paid sick leave. Singh has also been a vocal proponent of nationalizing long-term care facilities, a proposal that garners the support of two-in-three Canadians. Among the two leaders, Singh’s favourability is now at a level twice that of Scheer:

In Québec, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet is viewed favourably by slightly more than half, a positive rating further illustrated by his high net favourability score. For Andrew Scheer, however, net favourability emphasizes his unpopularity among Canadians:

Both Jagmeet Singh and Yves-François Blanchet garner a favourability score identical to that they received in February. Both are also down from the highs they enjoyed during and after the federal election in October of last year:

Part Two: Vote intention picture

The Prime Minister was asked on May 27 whether he had given consideration to an early election call. The logic behind this thinking proposed by some is that Canadians should be given the opportunity to vote for whichever party they would like to lead them during the economic rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Trudeau stated that he does not believe there is a desire among Canadians to have an election in the near term, though it appears that his party would benefit most if one were called. Asked who they would vote for in an election were held, 37 per cent of Canadians choose the Liberal Party, while 31 per cent choose the Conservatives:

Support for the Liberal Party has been rising since the outbreak began, while Conservative support has been slowly slipping over the last year:

Regional look

In Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, the CPC leads by a considerable margin, but the Liberal Party holds an advantage in B.C., Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, as seen in the table below:

Age and gender

Among men over the age of 35, the Conservative Party remains the top choice, while those 18-34 are divided between the CPC or the Liberals. Women aged 18-34 choose the NDP as their preferred party, while women ages 35 and over lean toward the Liberals:

Liberals drawing from past NDP, Green supporters

Both the Conservative and Liberal Parties maintain considerable support from their 2019 vote bases. In each case, at least 86 per cent of those who supported the party in October of last year say they would do so again. Troublingly for the NDP and the Green Party, a significant portion of each of their supporters say they would now vote for the Liberals. The Green Party, which will elect a new leader in November, is currently maintaining only half of its voters from last year’s election:

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

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

To read the questionnaire, click here.


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

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

Image Credit – Photo 225557669 / Canada © SevenstockStudio | Dreamstime.com

Want advance notice for our latest polls? Sign up here!