Federal Politics: Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP in close three-way race

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According to a new national survey by public opinion firm Abacus Data, the federal Liberal Party, Conservative Party, and NDP remain in a three-way tie for the lead in federal vote intentions.  This three-way race has held constant since earlier in the summer (June 2013) when support for the federal Conservatives was down seven points since April 2013.

Among all Canadians, 23% said they vote for the Liberal Party (no change from June) while 23% would vote Conservative (up two since June).  The NDP is unchanged at 21% of all respondents while 22% said they were undecided.

In Quebec among all respondents, support for the BQ was up seven points, from 19% in June to 26% in the most recent survey compared with 27% for the NDP and 21% for the Liberals.  The Conservatives are at 8% among all respondents in Quebec while 14% of respondents said they were undecided.

Among only committed voters, the Conservative Party and Liberal Party are statistically tied at 30% for the Tories and 29% for the Liberals.  The NDP is not far behind at 27% support among committed voters.


Subgroup Analysis (Committed Voters only)

This survey included an oversample of respondents living in Ontario allowing us to better understand voting intentions within Canada’s largest province.  Province-wide, there is a close three-way race between the Tories, Liberals, and NDP.  The Conservative Party and Liberal Party are statistically tied at 33% and 32% of committed voters respectively with the NDP not far back at 28%.

Within Ontario, the Liberals and the NDP are tied in Metro Toronto (Liberal 36% vs. NDP 34%) while the Tories have a 12-point lead in the region surrounding Toronto (CPC 42%, LPC 30%, NDP 23%).  In Southwestern Ontario, the three main parties are statistically tied with each receiving about a third of committed voter support while in Eastern Ontario, the Tories and Liberals are deadlocked (Liberals 36% vs. Tories 34%).

Most of the movement from our June survey has occurred in Quebec where Bloc Quebecois is up nine points among committed voters from 22% to 31% between June and September.  The NDP had the support of 32% of committed voters in Quebec (up six points from June) while the Liberal Party was at 25% among committed voters (down eight points since June).

Alberta continues to be Conservative country with 65% of committed Albertans saying they would vote for the Conservatives followed by the Liberals at 22% and the NDP at 5%.

In neighbouring British Columbia, the latest Abacus poll has a close three-way race with the Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP all within seven points of each other.  Readers should note the small sample sizes in regions outside of Ontario and Quebec.


Bottom Line

Since the beginning of summer 2013, the political opinion landscape in Canada has largely held steady.

The top three parties remain in a close race, with the Liberal and Conservative parties tied nationally. This shows that while June polling had seen a drop in support for the Conservative Party, there was no further decline in support over the summer.

The Conservatives have been able to mitigate some bad press this summer, keeping a lid on Liberal momentum and maintaining their tie for the lead.

For now, no party has emerged as an obvious front-runner among the three largest national parties coming out of the summer.  The Liberal surge is holding but has stalled, the Tory drop is sticking by has stopped, and the NDP is holding onto to large pockets of support in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia.

The only potential movement may be in Quebec where the BQ’s numbers may be on the rise thanks to the controversy and focus on the PQ government’s social values charter proposal.  However, due to a small sample size in Quebec it’s difficult for us to be confident that the rise in our numbers is a true reflection of a shift in preferences in Quebec.


The survey was conducted online with 1,600 respondents in English and French using an internet survey programmed and collected by Abacus Data. A random sample of panelists was invited to participate in the survey from a representative panel of Canadians.  The survey was completed from Aug 30 to Sept 4, 2013.

Since the online survey was not a random, probability based sample, a margin of error could not be calculated.   The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association prohibits statements about margins of sampling error or population estimates with regard to most online panels.

The margin of error for a probability-based random sample of 1,600 respondents using a probability sample is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

The data was weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, education level, and region.

These questions were posed as part of the Abacus Data monthly Omnibus survey. 

For more information about the poll’s methodology or the results, please contact David Coletto, CEO at david@abacusdata.ca or at 613-232-2806.

David Coletto is CEO of Abacus Data and leads its Public Affairs research practice. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary and is an adjunct professor at Carleton University.  He’s an avid road cyclist.

Contact David Coletto:

T: 613-232-2806 x. 248

E: david@abacusdata.ca

W: http://www.abacusdata.ca

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