Independent Plus Listowel Banner Local News News Walkerton Herald-Times Wingham Advance Times

Election speculation season begins with top contenders in dead heat

VANCOUVER – Less than two weeks from a scheduled re-opening of Parliament with a Speech from the Throne that could potentially trigger a fall election, the latest public opinion data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds the Liberal and Conservative Parties of Canada in a tie.

The poll indicates 35 per cent of decided voters would cast a ballot for the incumbents, while the same number would support the official opposition.

Pollsters note this represents a small but perceptible four-point rise in fortunes for the CPC since May.

“The Liberals have largely survived the WE Scandal – for now – emerging over the same period of time two points lower than where they stood with the electorate in the spring,” Angus Reid officials state in a Sept. 2 press release.

The results of this poll of more than 5,000 Canadian adults suggests two strong undercurrents continue to pull and push against the other.

The first: a committed and motivated Conservative base united in its desire to consign the Trudeau government to the annals of Canadian politics.

The second: Liberal dominance in vote-rich Ontario and Canada’s big cities, places the CPC must be able to make inroads in order to win a general election.

Into this environment comes new CPC leader Erin O’Toole, tasked with convincing the centre-left he is an appealing choice – something his predecessor Andrew Scheer failed to do.

The poll indicates O’Toole has room to grow, as significant numbers of non-CPC voters say they have yet to make up their mind about him.

Key findings in the poll include:

– O’Toole – for now – is not yet defined in the minds of voters who did not choose his party in 2019. Significant numbers of past Bloc (45 per cent), Liberal (43 per cent) and NDP (38 per cent) voters have not yet formed an opinion of the new CPC leader;

– the Liberals still hold the high ground in Canada’s biggest cities – with double-digit leads over all other parties in and around Montreal, the Greater Toronto Area, and Metro Vancouver; and

– pandemic response continues to be a source of strength for the Liberals. Two-thirds of Canadians (66 per cent) say the government has handled this file well.