With the Canadian federal election only 91 short days away, a new seat projection from the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP) has suggested that if the vote were to be held today, many Canadians would be looking to cast their vote outside of the top two federal contenders.
Following the Trudeau SNC-Lavalin scandal, and Doug Ford’s controversial cuts in Ontario, experts believe that the federal election has become a kind of “horse race,” whereby the public are not necessarily fond of either of the front runners.
The new seat projection comes from a blended and weighted sample of 7700 respondants, taken from polls by Nanos, Abacus, Ipsos, and Mainstreet. The LISPOP report notes that their findings are not intended to be a prediction of the future, but rather an estimate of what the parliamentary seat distribution would look like if the election were to be held today.
Barry Kay, who is a member of LISPOP and a political science professor, confirmed that if the federal election were to be held today, the Conservative party would take the edge over the Liberals, but only just. Kay noted that voters had been in favour of a Conservative government for a while following the SNC-Lavalin scandal. However, he said, “little by little” the Liberals have been pulling back support in various areas.
The LISPOP report projected that if the election were to be held today, the Conservatives would win a slim majority of 148 seats versus 145 Liberal seats.
Despite the Liberals managing to claw back support, Kay noted that this is not indicative of a public whose minds are made up. Describing the election as being similar to a horse race, he said, “I must say most people don’t seem to like any of the horses.” Kay continued, “I think that’s why the Bloc [Québecois] is up in Quebec and the Greens are having historic gains, although they’re not very large.”
The LISPOP projection suggests that if the election were to be held today, the Bloc Québecois would manage to pick up as many as 14 seats nationally, while the Greens would win a record four seats. The study also predicted a drop in support for the NDP, who would get 27 seats, down from their current 41.
Quebec is predicted to be a heavily competitive province for both the Conservatives and the Bloc Québecois, but Justin Trudeau is not likely to be a contender for seats in that area. That said, the current Prime Minister is believed to have considerable support in Ontario, where Kay believes support for the Conservatives has dropped off after a difficult few months under Conservative Premier Doug Ford.
The LISPOP report found that provincial party support level for Ford has declined from 41% to 24% since he was elected. Ford was responsible for a number of controversial cuts to education, health care and social programs in Ontario, which is a likely factor in the declining support levels in the province.
Ontario is considered to be a key province to earn seats during the federal election, as it is known to have a large number of “swing ridings,” where support for one particular party is not guaranteed. According to the LISPOP projection, Trudeau would win 48 seats in the province, while Scheer would take 13 and Bloc Quebecois and the NDP would take 14 and 2 retrospectively.
Overall, the report concluded that while the Conservatives would still have the greatest success if an election was held today, Trudeau and the Liberals are managing to take back support in a number of areas, particularly in Ontario.
Despite Liberal gains, polls continue to indicate that support for smaller parties such as the Greens is growing, as experts believe many members of the public are unsatisfied with both the Conservative and Liberal parties.
With just 91 days to go until October’s federal election, it remains to be seen what will happen next!