Liberals and Conservatives neck and neck again

Liberals and Conservatives neck and neck again
Posted on May 18, 2021 | Abacus Data | Written on May 17, 2021


Abacus Data

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

Abacus Data on the Canadian political landscape

We are out with a new poll this week on the federal political landscape in Canada.


1 - The federal Liberals hold a 2-point lead over the Conservatives: Liberal 34, Conservative 32, NDP 17, Greens 7. Over the past month, Liberal support is down 5 while Conservative support is up 4 points.

2 - In BC, the Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP are in a three-way tie while the Conservatives continue to dominate in the Prairies. The Liberals continue to hold sizeable leads in Ontario (13-points), Quebec (8-points), and Atlantic Canada (20-points).

3 -Today, 41% approve of the performance of the federal government, 41% disapprove, and 18% are mixed or undecided on the performance of the government. There has been no clear trend on this indicator for several months.

Approval of the government has a strong relationship with voting intentions. Among those who approve, 65% say they would vote Liberal today. Among those who disapprove of the Trudeau government's performance, only 3% would vote Liberal, and 60% would vote Conservative.

4 - We asked respondents to assess the federal government’s performance on a range of items. Among the more notable findings:

  • On 14 items tested 50% or more gave the government acceptable or good ratings. The best-rated item for Ottawa is for helping those who are in trouble because of Covid.
  • The four worst items for the government were for handling the economy, ensuring timely vaccines, controlling infections at the borders, and debt and deficit. On vaccine timeliness, today 60% give Ottawa an acceptable or good rating.

5 - Today, 41% of voters say it is definitely time for a change in government. Another 27% say “it would be good to have change but doesn’t matter to me that much”. The intense desire for change is up 4 points in less than a month but still well below what it was at the end of the 2019 campaign.

A total of 68% who would prefer to see a change in government is about equal to what it was at the end of the 2019 campaign. Worth noting as it can relate to motivation and turnout – the number who are adamant about the need for change is 11 points below the 2019 threshold, although it has risen by four points in recent weeks.

Here's our take on the results:

“The political landscape has become more competitive over the past few weeks. Although the government’s approval rating and the Prime Minister’s image have not changed, a Liberal lead of 11-points four weeks ago is down to 2-points today. It is unclear whether this is a response to the budget, fatigue over the third wave gripping much of the country, or other factors is unclear. But the increase in those definitely wanting a change in government suggests that decisions the Liberal government has made over the past few weeks have angered and animated many of those predisposed to oppose the Liberals, which likely explains the tightening horserace.”

Click the link below to review the full analysis.


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Having conducted research for some of North America’s leading corporations and advocacy groups, we deliver global research capacities with the attention to detail and focus of a boutique firm. We have the capacity to... More