Outcome remains uncertain as campaign enters home stretch

Andrew Scheer and Justin Trudeau.

Key battlegrounds of Ontario, Quebec still up for grabs

AS the campaign enters the home stretch the outcome remains uncertain, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News. The two front-runners remain in a statistical tie nationally as they both have lost support to other parties: the Bloc maintains its strength in Quebec, and the NDP is rallying across the country – all of which points to an election night which could be full of surprises and close calls.

If the election were held tomorrow, the Conservatives and Andrew Scheer would receive 32% of the decided popular vote, down 2 points since last week.

The incumbent Liberals, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have stumbled in the last week and would receive 30% of the vote, down 5 points nationally.

The primary beneficiary is Jagmeet Singh’s NDP, riding a surge following strong debate performances in both languages. The NDP would receive 20% of the decided national popular vote, up a significant 5 points since last week, intensifying the prospect of vote-splitting among progressives.

The Green Party, led by Elizabeth May, is stable at 8% nationally, while Maxime Bernier and the People’s Party continue to hover around 2%, unchanged.

The Bloc Québécois continues to show newfound strength, garnering 30% of the vote within Quebec, which translates to 7% nationally (unchanged).

Just 1% of Canadians would vote for some other party / candidate (unchanged). More than one in 10 (14%) either do not know who they would vote for (8%) or would spoil their ballot/not vote (6%).

As ever, the key to the election is winning in Canada’s most-populous provinces. In each, there is no clear winner:

  • In Ontario, the Liberals are clinging to a tenuous three-point lead over the Tories.
  • In Quebec, the Liberals are just two points ahead of the Bloc, a statistical tie.
  • In British Columbia, a three-way race ensues among the Liberals, NDP and Conservatives, with the Green party also polling in the double-digits.
  • Across the Prairies (Alberta, Saskatchewan/Manitoba), the Conservatives have a commanding lead.
  • In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals have a double-digit lead, but the Green Party is also showing relative strength in this region at 15% of the decided vote.

Examining some key demographic differences reveals the following:

  • Gender is not a primary determinant of vote choice. While there are some modest differences, they are not pronounced:
    • Among men, the Tories (34%) have a small lead over the Liberals (29%), followed by the NDP (17%), Greens (9%), Bloc (7%), People’s Party (2%) or someone else (1%).
    • Among women, the Liberals (31%) and Tories (30%) are tied, while the NDP (23%) is very much in the running. The Greens (7%), Bloc (6%), PPC (2%) and others (1%) trail.
  • Examining the results by age shows large differences in vote intent by generation:
    • Among those aged 55+, Conservatives (36%) and Liberals (33%) are in a tight race, while the NDP (12%), Greens (6%), PPC (1%) all lag considerably. Interestingly, the Bloc receives 11% of the vote nationally, which translates into about 40% of the vote within Quebec, demonstrating from where its support is disproportionately coming.
    • Among those aged 35-54, the Tories (35%) enjoy their biggest lead over the Liberals (27%), while the NDP (21%), Greens (9%), Bloc (5%), PPC (3%) and others (1%) fall behind.
    • Among those aged 18-34, who delivered Trudeau his majority government in 2015 when they were motivated to show up and vote, the NDP (31%) is now narrowly leading the Liberals (29%), while the Conservatives (23%), Greens (10%), Bloc (3%), PPC (2%) and others (1%) receive less support.

OVERALL, 70% of Canadians say they are absolutely certain to vote on Election Day, which is up 8 points since last week, suggesting that Canadians are becoming more engaged in the campaign as it enters the final stretch – and perhaps also realizing that in such a close race, every vote counts.

Bloc (87%) voters are the most inclined to say that they’re absolutely certain to vote, followed by Conservative voters (81%) – not surprising given that both parties have strength among older voters, who are most likely to show up on E-Day. Motivation among Liberal (75%), NDP (71%), Green (65%) and People’s Party (62%) voters is considerably less.

Moreover, a similar trend is observed when it comes to certainty of choice, those people who are certain that they won’t change their mind before E-Day, or those who have already voted. Six in ten (57%) Canadians say they are certain of their vote choice, or have already voted. This is up 7 points since last week as Canadians begin to lock in their choice or vote in advance polls. Even so, nearly four in ten (43%) aren’t locked in, saying they are only fairly certain (34%), not very certain (7%) or not at all certain (2%).

Once again, Bloc (70%) and Conservative (64%) voters are most committed to their choice, followed by less certainty among supporters of the Liberals (59%), Greens (48%), NDP (45%) and PPC (44%) voters.

PRESENTLY, 37% of Canadians believe that the Liberal government under Trudeau deserves to be re-elected, stable since last week. By comparison, the Liberal popular-vote declined by 5 points since last week, showing that these two figures – which historically track quite closely to each other – are now out of lockstep. Conversely, 61% say it’s time for another party to take over, while 3% don’t know either way.

Four in 10 (42%) Canadians approve (8% strongly / 33% somewhat) of the performance of the Liberal government under Trudeau, also stable since last week. Conversely, 57% disapprove (35% strongly / 23% somewhat), while 1% aren’t sure.

And so, while Liberal popular vote sags, their underlying fundamentals remain relatively stronger, which suggests that some of the NDP or Green vote in particular, both of which shows softness, could come back to the Liberals in the final days of the campaign.

The Ipsos poll was conducted between October 11 and 13, and is accurate to within ± 2.4 percentage points.