Tories lead by 8 as the campaign enters final two weeks

A new national survey by Ottawa-based Abacus Data finds that the Conservative Party holds an 8-point lead over the Liberal Party with two weeks left to go in the campaign

Nationally, the Conservative Party was the choice of 37% of decided voters while 29% of Canadians said they would vote Liberal.  The NDP was at 20%, followed by the Bloc Quebecois at 8%, and the Green Party at 5%.  Six percent of respondents were undecided after being asked if they are leaning towards any one party.

“All the change we see nationally is within the margin of error for a poll of this size,” said David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.  “However, regionally, we see some interesting shifts.”

In Ontario, the Conservatives and Liberals continue to be statistically tied.  The Conservatives have the support of 40% of decided Ontario voters while the Liberals have 37% of the vote preference.  The NDP trails both with 19%.

In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois has seen its support drop since the start of the campaign, down six points to 31%.  The three federalist parties continue to split the vote with all three within 2-points of each other.

“The BQ’s numbers have taken a hit since the start of the campaign largely to the benefit of the Liberals who are up 5 points in Quebec since late March,” said Coletto.  “

The Conservative Party leads in voting intentions among men and women, and all age groups.  Among Canadians who said they were born outside of Canada, the Conservatives lead the Liberals by 14-points, a significant shift since the start of the campaign.  The Conservatives have the support of 47% of decided immigrant Canadians (+15), followed by the Liberals at 33% (-4), and the NDP at 12% (-10).

The Abacus Data survey also asked voters why they intended to vote the way they said.  Respondents were free to respond in any way they wanted (see page 6 of report).

Competent economic management and good government were the reasons most identified by Conservative Party supporters, while Liberal voting intention was driven less by a fondness for the Liberal Party and more as a reaction to disliking the other parties.  New Democratic voters were more likely to be attracted to the NDP, such as liking the party’s platform.

“The Conservative and New Democratic parties have built a base of support that supports their policies and leaders while the Liberal Party brand is driven mainly by distrust in other parties,” said Coletto.  “For good or bad, the Liberal Party is seen as the least objectionable choice by many voters and that position is sustaining its second place standing in the polls.”

The survey also looked at how stable voter preferences are and what voters’ second choice preferences were.

“The Conservative vote remains rock solid with 79% of Conservative supporters saying they are very unlikely to switch their vote before election day,” said Coletto.  “The Liberal and NDP vote remains more fluid and there may be some potential for movement between the two as the campaign heads into the home stretch.”

Download the report here.

Between April 11 and 15, 2011, Abacus Data Inc. conducted an online survey among 1,005 randomly selected Canadian adults from an online panel of over 75,000 Canadians. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is comparable to +/- 3.2%, 19 times out of 20.

Results of the survey were statistically weighted by gender, age, region, immigrant status, and education using census data from Statistics Canada and by past vote using Elections Canada results from the 2008 General Election. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.