OTTAWA – The gulf in public support between liberals and conservatives has narrowed considerably, jeopardizing Justin Trudeau’s bid to regain majority rule, suggests a new analysis of publicly available polls from Vox Pop Labs.
Liberals currently have 33.4 percent support, while Conservatives would get 32.1 percent of the vote if elections were held today, according to an aggregate analysis by The signal, Vox Pop Labs election forecast made for the Star.
The New Democrats have 20.1 percent of voter support, and the Green Party has 5.8 percent.
The forecast is generated by a model that takes a survey of polls dating back to 2009 and looks at how its predictions compare to actual election results.
The model also takes into account the “internal bias” of each political polling company and takes it into account in the projections.
“We are at the beginning of a campaign and the general feeling is that Canadians are not excited about the call for elections right now,” said Clifton van der Linden, founder and CEO of Vox Pop Labs.
“My inclination would be that there is some kind of punitive effect to the decision to call an election at this time, (but) that effect may not last.”
The Grits still hold an advantage in Ontario, with 36 percent supporting 32.9 percent of the Conservatives. But Vox Pop’s analysis suggests that conservative leader Erin O’Toole is doing better in Canada’s most populous and electorally important province than public polls suggest.
Based on that analysis, Liberals are projected to win 62 seats in Ontario compared to 39 for Conservatives and 20 for New Democrats.
British Columbia, another important political battleground, is a virtual link between the three main parties: the Liberals with 31.1% support, the Conservatives with 30.1% and the New Democrats with 28.4%. The Greens, who hope to maintain their position in parliament after months of internal turmoil, registered 8.7 percent support.
Canada’s 44th general election campaign is unprecedented, taking place in the context of a global pandemic that is now entering its fourth wave in some Canadian communities. The campaign has had uneven starts for the leaders of the main federal parties, with questions about childcare, mandatory COVID-19 vaccines and the crisis in Afghanistan dominating the opening speech.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh approached the campaign with a higher approval rating than his rivals. The new Democratic strategists told the Star’s Alex Ballingall that they believe they are ready to retake the seats lost in the 2019 election.
O’Toole got off to a shaky start over questions about his stance on mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, but the campaign now projects a confidence that was further boosted by a victory for progressive conservatives in Nova Scotia’s provincial elections on Tuesday. . While the leader of the Nova Scotia CP, Tim Houston, has distanced himself from the federal party, several of the highest Conservative officials come from the province and closely follow the province’s policy.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has started the campaign with a focus on the issue of mandatory COVID-19 vaccines, suggesting that his party expected it to be a major problem in the campaign.
“Liberal voters are generally very much in favor, so I’m curious about this drop in vote participation,” said van der Linden, who is also a professor of political science at McMaster University.
“I don’t generally see these policy proposals as disenfranchising liberal voters, so I’m not immediately convinced that’s the (cause).”
Van der Linden also predicted that the Nova Scotia election, in which progressive conservatives pissed off ruling liberals, will worry Trudeau’s campaign.
“I’m sure the result is worrying for liberals and I’m sure pollsters will be paying close attention,” he said.
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