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Abrupt Late-Summer Shift: Polls Now Put CPC in Majority Territory
Mid-term slump or insurmountable momentum shift for the Liberals? The latest numbers look increasingly dire for Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could potentially play his political career this coming fall, because once December comes, we will be standing a mere 20 months away from the next general election — just enough time for the Liberals to oust their leader and get a leadership race under way.
…If public opinion keeps as sour a mood through the fall as it does now in late summer, that is.
A big “if” for sure, so let’s not get carried away just yet.
Last week, polling from Pallas Data (new firm founded by Joseph Angolano), Abacus Data, and Mainstreet Research (see complete list of federal polls here) added to the downward trend for Liberals, while each survey gave the Poilievre Conservative Party hefty national leads of 9 to 13 points.
These polls came after Léger, Abacus Data, and the Angus Reid Institute measured 7- to 10-point leads for the Conservatives in July and early August. As for the Nanos weekly tracking (details not discussed here to respect Nanos’ paywall), it fell generally within the same ranges all summer long, except for last week’s update which saw a modest tightening of national numbers (CPC 34, LPC 30).
Hence, data collected in the past weeks have caused a rare abrupt shift in the 338Canada polling average:
Although federals polls have trended downwards for the Liberals since the New Year, the slide we witnessed was gradual, oscillating, and reluctant to dive much below the 30%-mark. Observers were quick to point out that Liberal support was still within a reasonable margin of error from — and fluctuating around — the party’s 2021 results of 33%.
Within reach of the 2021 results? Yes, but almost always below that mark, never above. This is not how “fluctuating” works.
Meanwhile the Conservatives have increased their support where they most needed it, with better numbers in Atlantic Canada and Ontario. Below are the current averages in Atlantic Canada. As I have emphasized before however, those can be especially noisy since sample sizes for these provinces are generally low, leading to a much higher uncertainty.
The movement in Ontario has been, on average, modest but consequential (this is not a column on FPTP, but…). Current averages have the CPC reaching the 40%-mark, a climb of 5 points compared to the 2021 election. At the same time, Liberal support has slid to 33%, six points below its 2021 results. Such a swing could be enough to potentially flip 30+ seats in the province alone.
And so, for the first time since the height of the SNC-Lavallin affair in 2019, the Conservatives find themselves in majority territory in the weekly 338Canada projections.
Today’s update has the Conservatives projected leading in 178 electoral districts, against only 105 for the Liberals. The Bloc Québécois (32), the NDP (21), and the Greens (2) remain close to their respective 2021 tally.
The Prime Minister’s personal numbers have rarely been a case for worry in the Trudeau camp since the Liberals took power in 2015, as he has proved to be a fierce campaigner once the writ dropped. In both 2019 and 2021, the Liberals scored back-from-behind victories on the back of their leader. But eventually magic runs out… so is this it for Trudeau?
The latest Abacus Data figures released last week (follow David Coletto’s excellent Twitter feed here) were ominously bad news for the Prime Minister.
“Should Prime Minister Trudeau run again or step down?”
All respondents: 56% say he should step down, 27% believe he should run again.
Among 2021 Liberal voters: 28% answered he should step down, and only 52% say he should run again. (See more details and full results from Abacus Data here.)
It would be ill-advised to make bold predictions based on mid-mandate summer polling, so I won’t.
After eight years in power, a governing party should begin to feel serious voter fatigue and loss of enthusiasm from its supporters, especially given the tumultuous years we have all experienced. The pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and other factors have created a massive amount of economic uncertainty worldwide (not to mention opportunities for corporate profiteering), and those outside factors add up with questionable decisions, mismanagement, and poor communication at home.
So, mid-term slump or insurmountable momentum shift for the Liberals? Let’s revisit later this fall.
On one hand, the Poilievre camp could be peaking on summer polling two years away from a general election.
On the other, such numbers, should they last through the fall, could give many Liberal MPs some serious jitters.
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Details of this federal projection are available on 338Canada.com. To find your home district, use this list of all 338 electoral districts. For all provincial and federal projections, visit the 338Canada home page. And please consider subscribing!