Trudeau Liberals lost Canadians’ support, NDP gained: Poll

Poll shows that the Trudeau Liberals lost the support of Canadians and the NDP made game-changing gains.

by: Obert Madondo  | Published Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

A screenshot of Abacus Data's October 2014 federal poll

A screenshot of Abacus Data’s October 2014 federal poll

poll conducted by Abacus Data last week points to a likely unprecedented three-way horse race during the 2015 federal election. The Trudeau Liberals are not guaranteed a free ride back into the seat of power. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has a slight advantage over Justin Trudeau and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The poll results, released Monday, show a 6-point dip for the Liberals, who polled 38% in Abacus’ September poll. If an election was held now, 32% of Canadians would support the Liberals, 30% would vote Conservative and 25% would elect a New Democrat government. The NDP saw its support jump 2 points from 23% during the September poll. The Conservatives numbers remained unchanged at 30%.

“With a year to go before the scheduled date of the next General Election, our polling suggests that any of the three major parties has a road to victory. But that road for the Liberals may not be as smooth as appeared last month,” said David Coletto, a founding partner and CEO of Abacus Data. “For the first time in our tracking this year, we have seen some movement. Liberal support is down, NDP and Green support has ticked up, while Conservative support is holding at 30%.”

The Liberals have led in almost all public opinion polls since Trudeau took the reins more than 18 months ago. But recent polls have suggested what the Abacus pollsters called a “fall off in Liberal numbers” that’s “best understood as a shift from support to potential support.”

Trudeau’s loss, Mulcair’s gain

Mulcair seems to be gaining from Trudeau’s dwindling numbers. According to the Toronto Star, Trudeau’s approval numbers dropped from 48 percent in August to 44 per cent in September. Over the same period, Mulcair’s number jumped slightly from 37 per cent to 38 per cent. But an EKOS poll released last week shows that Mulcair “has the highest approval ratings at 58 per cent, compared with 46 per cent for Trudeau and only 30 per cent for Harper.”

Last week, the National Post’ John Ivison suggested that Trudeau’s support had slipped after the Liberals opposed the Conservatives motion to condemn Canada to an unwinnable war against the ISIS terrorist group in Iraq. As Toronto Star columnist Chantal Hébert pointed out in her column, Trudeau was his own worst enemy during the brief parliamentary debate on the landmark motion.

“For more than a year, pollsters have reported that a plurality of Canadians see Trudeau as the prime minister-in-waiting. But the Liberal performance they were given to watch this week was more reflective of a third-place opposition party than of an aspiring government,” wrote Hébert. “While the Conservatives and the NDP both made substantive cases for and against Canada taking on a combat role against the Islamic State, the Liberals never really got beyond their leader’s initial contention that the government had failed to make a case for war.”

Poll gives NDP advantage

The Abacus poll shows a three-way race in Ontario where the Liberals hold a slight lead at 33%. The Conservatives and NDP are close behind with 30% and 28% , respectively. The EKOS poll shows that Trudeau has failed to breach the wall around the NDP’s stronghold of vote-rich Quebec. In fact, the poll found, the NDP is “poised to hold ground” in the province during the 2015 federal election. The EKOS poll also suggests that “the New Democrats have the most potential to grow.”

In the meantime, the Harper Conservatives are on their way out. Announcing his poll earlier this month, EKOS president Frank Graves characterized the prevailing Canadian political landscape as one that’s “increasingly unreceptive to another Stephen Harper government.” Graves suggested that the Conservatives would not repeated their undeserved 2011 majority win. They “may not even achieve leader of the opposition” status.

A few more important stats from the Abacus Data survey:

  • 46% believe the country is heading in the right direction, similar to the 44% who said the same thing in our last survey in September. 24% think the country is “off on the wrong track”.
  • 33% say they approve of the job the federal government is doing, unchanged from last month.
  • The poll was conducted during a period of significant weakening in oil prices and stock markets. So far, these events have had little apparent effect on public confidence. 65% of Canadians rate the Canadian economy as good or very good, up four points from September. The percentage who think the Canadian economy will get worse in the next six months is up to 22% from 16% last month (+6)
  • 20% say the government has “governed well enough to deserve re-election” while 38% say “governed poorly enough to be voted out of office”. These numbers are virtually identical to our September results.

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.