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Liberals up five points since April, Conservatives down slightly: public opinion poll

By Peter Mazereeuw      

The Grits lead in every region but the Prairies.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured in this file photo at the National Press Theatre with Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, has a far higher approval rating than his interim rivals in the Conservative and New Democratic parties, an online poll conducted last week indicates. The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright
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OTTAWA—The federal Liberals widened their lead over the opposition Conservatives to 16 percentage points as of last week, winning the support of 43 per cent of those who participated in an online poll and were not undecided.

Twenty-seven per cent said they would vote Conservative if an election were held the next day, while 19 per cent said they would vote for the NDP. Seven per cent said they would vote Green, three per cent for the Bloc Québécois, and about one per cent for another party. The poll was conducted between May 9 and 13.

The Grits appear to have weathered a dip in support from voters in April, when 38 per cent of those polled indicated they favoured the party.

The Conservatives dropped two percentage points this month compared to April, when 29 per cent of those polled said they would vote Conservative. The NDP held steady at 19 per cent compared to last month.

The numbers for May are similar to those in March: 43 per cent support for the Liberals, 27 per cent for the Conservatives, and 16 per cent for the NDP.

Each of those polls were conducted by Toronto’s Campaign Research, a polling firm led by CEO Eli Yufest, principal Richard Ciano, a former national vice-president of the Conservative Party of Canada, and principal Nick Kouvalis, a former campaign manager for Conservative MP and leadership candidate Kellie Leitch (Simcoe-Grey, Ont.)

The Liberal lead has grown as the party has rebounded from a series of controversies involving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) several months ago, and leadership contests for the NDP and Conservatives have allowed the Liberals to set the political agenda, Mr. Yufest told The Hill Times.

The Liberals took heat over the winter months for hosting so-called “cash for access” private fundraisers involving Mr. Trudeau and other ministers, and for Mr. Trudeau’s vacation on the private island of the Aga Khan.

The pollster also noted that the Conservatives had the most people who voted for them in 2015 say they would do so again if an election were held the next day. They would retain 90 per cent of their 2015 voters, while the Liberals would keep 79 per cent and the NDP 77 per cent, the poll suggested. Ten per cent of Liberals would vote NDP this time, with a similar proportion, 13 per cent, of 2015 NDP voters choosing the Liberals now.

Liberal lead spread across age groups, much of Canada

The Liberals got the most support of any party in Atlantic Canada (57 per cent), Quebec (45 per cent), Ontario (47 per cent), B.C. (39 per cent), and in the sub-regions of Toronto (51 per cent) and the rest of the greater Toronto area (50 per cent). The Conservatives won the most support in Alberta (53 per cent) and the Prairies (42 per cent). The NDP’s strongest showings were in B.C. (26 per cent) and Quebec (25 per cent), where they led the Conservatives but trailed the Liberals.

The Liberals got more support than their rivals in every age group included in the poll. The Tories came closest among respondents aged 65 and over, getting support from 35 per cent of respondents compared to 38 per cent for the Liberals. The Liberals led the runner-up Conservatives in every other age category by between 12 and 27 percentage points.

The Liberals also led in every income bracket. Despite their focus on pitching themselves to the middle class, the Liberals did best among those who fall at the extremes of the income scale, with support strongest among those earning less than $20,000 per year, at 46 per cent, and those earning between $100,000 and $250,000 per year, at 48 per cent.

The strongest Conservative support came from those earning between $60,000 and $80,000, at 30 per cent, and those earning between $100,000 and $250,000, also at 30 per cent. The strongest NDP support came among those earning less than $20,000, and between $40,000 and $60,000, both at 23 per cent.

The poll sampled 1,969 adult Canadians, 1,737 of which indicated that they had decided which party they supported at that moment.

Online polls are not considered to be truly random, but a random poll with the same sample size would have a margin of error of plus or minus two per cent, 19 times out of 20. Online polls randomly pull participants from large groups of people who have signed up to participate in polling research for compensation.

Majority approve of Trudeau

Fifty-three per cent of respondents said they approved of the job Mr. Trudeau was doing as prime minister, while 33 per cent said they did not approve, and 14 per cent said they did not know.

Outgoing interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose (Sturgeon River-Parkland, Alta.) and NDP interim leader Thomas Mulcair (Outremont, Que.) both received more votes of approval than disapproval from those polled, but in both cases even more respondents—51 and 43 per cent, respectively—signalled that they did not know whether those leaders were doing a good job.

The approval rate for all three leaders rose slightly since April: up five points for Mr. Trudeau, up three points, to 28 per cent, for Ms. Ambrose, and up one point, to 33 per cent, for Mr. Mulcair.

peter@hilltimes.com

@PJMazereeuw

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