Have the Liberals Sunk Past a Point of No Return?
The numbers keep getting worse for the Red Team
The latest numbers from Abacus Data confirmed (and reinforced) several jarring trends going against Justin Trudeau and the Liberals of late. While this is something we at 338 HQ seem to have written countless times since fall began, somehow the numbers have kept getting worse for the Liberals.
Which begs the question: Are the federal Liberals sinking towards a point of no return? (Or are they already past it?)
Published in The Toronto Star earlier this week, Abacus Data’s latest poll measures the Conservatives at 41% of support from coast to coast, sixteen points ahead of the Liberals who now sit at 25%. The NDP stood in third place with 19%.
Abacus’ regional breakdown shows no silver lining for the Liberals: Down by double-digits in Atlantic Canada, 15 points back of the Conservatives in Ontario, and a distant third place (behind both the CPC and NDP) west of the Ontario-Manitoba border. In Quebec, the Liberals (29%) are in statistical tie with the Bloc (28%) just below the 30 percent-mark.
As have all the polls from professional firms indicated since August (see complete list of federal polls here), this would translate into a rout for the Liberals and a comfortable Conservative majority in terms of seats in the House of Commons — if an election were held this month.
Additionally, the horse race alone does not tell the whole story:
Abacus also shows that only 23% of Canadians believe the country is headed in the right direction, the lowest level in recent years. For sake of comparison, that proportion was in the low 40s during the last federal campaign in September 2021. The country’s mood has soured considerably since then.
Government approval is at a measly 26%, the lowest level in years, and disapproval has hiked to 58%, the highest in Abacus polling since 2021.
58% of respondents hold a negative impression of the Prime Minister, a proportion 15 points higher than when the Liberals won re-election in 2021. Justin Trudeau’s net rating (positive impressions minus negative impressions) sank to a minus-33, an all-time low. (Read Abacus’ full poll report here.)
As Éric Grenier and I discussed during the latest episode of The Numbers podcast (listen here on Apple podcasts or watch on YouTube, but be warned: I was sick last week, so look like crap), the Conservatives have reached a level of support where they do not need to win over new voters anymore. Their current numbers — near the 40 percent mark nationwide and leading comfortably in Ontario — would easily translate into a dominant majority in a general election, which means the “recruiting” of voters is pretty much done for Pierre Poilievre.
The Conservative leader now has to protect the lead. In hockey terms, Poilievre could theoretically play the trap until time runs out, which, granted, is not necessarily an easy task. While it’s been hammered left and right that the Liberals still enjoy the benefit of time (no election until October 2025 if the LPC-NDP deal holds), it’s not like the blatant wear-and-tear of this government is likely to go on reverse in the coming years. It’s possible, but not likely if we go by precedents.
Now let’s get to this week’s 338Canada update.
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