Conservatives Close Gap in Canada as Liberal Lead Disappears

Justin Trudeau’s approval rating fell to 45% (-5 since June), but he is still ahead of Erin O’Toole in the “Preferred PM” question.
Vancouver, BC [August 31, 2021] – The federal election in Canada is currently a dead heat between the two most prominent parties in the country, a new Research Co. poll has found.
In the online survey of a representative national sample, 33% of Canadian decided voters would cast a ballot for the candidate of the Liberal Party in their riding, down five points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in June.
The Conservative Party remains in second place with 32% (+2), followed by the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 22% (+2), the Bloc Québécois with 6% (+1), the Green Party with 4% (-1) and the People’s Party with 3% (+2). Fewer than 1% of decided voters would vote for the Maverick Party, for another party or for an independent candidate.
In June, the Liberals were ahead of the Conservatives by 15 points among female decided voters in Canada. This month, the advantage has narrowed to just eight points (36% to 28%). The Tories are now in first place among male decided voters (36% to 31%).
The Liberals are still popular among decided voters aged 18-to-34 (34%, followed by the NDP with 29%) and among decided voters aged 35-to-54 (38%, with the Conservatives at 32%). The Tories hold a seven-point advantage over the Liberals among decided voters aged 55 and over (37% to 30%).
The Liberals are in first place among decided voters in Atlantic Canada (40%) and Quebec (also 40%). The Conservatives have outright leads in Alberta (49%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (46%).
There are close races developing in two Canadian provinces. In Ontario, the Conservatives and the Liberals are essentially tied (36% and 35% respectively). In British Columbia, the Liberals—who were leading in a Research Co. survey conducted in early August—have fallen to third place (28%), with both the Conservatives and the New Democrats at 32%.
There is some movement when Canadians are asked about the most important issue facing the country. Health care is first with 26% (-3), followed by the economy and jobs with 20% (-3) and housing, homelessness and poverty with 15% (+1). The environment is fourth on the list with 13% (+6).
“While health care remains the dominant issue for Atlantic Canadians and Quebecers, financial matters are crucial for those who reside in Alberta,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “One-in-five Ontarians and British Columbians are worried about housing, but the issue that has seen the biggest gains since June is the environment.”
The approval rating for Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau stands at 45% at the end of the month. This is higher than the numbers posted by Official Opposition and Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole (41%, +7) and lower than NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (51%, +1).
Just over one-in-five Canadians (21%, -11) approve of the way Green Party leader Annamie Paul is handling her duties, while there was no significant movement for People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier (15%, +1).
When Canadians are asked which one of the five leaders who are running nationwide campaigns would make the best head of government, the incumbent prime minister also lost some ground. Trudeau is in first place with 32% (-5), followed by O’Toole (26%, +11), Singh (20%, +4), Bernier (3%, =) and Paul (1%, -1).
Since the start of the campaign, Trudeau posts a negative momentum score (-24, with 39% of Canadians saying their opinion of him has worsened). Paul and Bernier are also in negative territory (-18 and -19 respectively), while O’Toole is even and Singh is at +10 (with 27% of Canadians reporting a better assessment of the current NDP leader).
Results are based on an online study conducted from August 28 to August 30, 2021, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error – which measures sample variability – is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.