EDMONTON — The Conservatives have opened up an advantage as Liberal support declined over the past three days of the campaign, according to nightly tracking conducted by Nanos Research for CTV News and the Globe and Mail.
In the latest nightly tracking data, ending Friday and released Saturday morning, ballot support for the Conservatives sits at 33.3 per cent, while the Liberals are at 30.8 per cent support.
“Last night was a terrible night for the Liberals in the tracking, they’re down more than two points in one day,” Nik Nanos, founder and chief data scientist at Nanos Research, told CTV News Channel Saturday.
“What was a tie early this week, it looks like the Conservatives are now gaining the upper hand and there is definitely negative pressure on the Liberals right now.”
The result shows a continuing of Conservative gains during the campaign, which kicked off on Aug. 15. The parties began the week in a statistical dead heat, where Liberal support stood at 32.5 per cent, compared to 31.4 per cent for the Conservatives, leaving a 1.1 percentage-point difference, well within the poll’s margin of error of ± 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
SUPPORT FOR O’TOOLE
Meanwhile, the gap between Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole continues to narrow, as support for Trudeau declined for the past three nights of election tracking, according to the Nanos data.
O’Toole has seen his support as the preferred candidate rise from 24 per cent on Aug. 23 to 27.2 per cent in the most recent tracking. Trudeau’s support has declined from 32.7 per cent on Aug. 23 to 29.9 per cent.
“[O’Toole’s] personal brand has been the big winner in the first part of this campaign, while we’re seeing fewer and fewer Canadians believe that Justin Trudeau would be their preferred choice as prime minister,” said Nanos.
Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh continues to make inroads, with 20.1 per cent support as the preferred candidate, up from 19.4 per cent on Aug. 23.
“The New Democrats are starting to pick up steam. So, what we’re seeing is Liberal-New Democrat switchers right now. That can’t be good for Justin Trudeau, but it is good for Jagmeet Singh.”
The unfolding crisis in Afghanistan continued to dominate the campaign trail this week as Canada marked the end of its evacuation efforts in Kabul – a big ticket issue that may be driving Conservative support.
“Afghanistan is one of those key defining issues. It’s not likely to drive actual votes, but it is likely to drive the brands of the different party leaders, and in this particular case, the controversy and crisis in Afghanistan coincidentally happening with, what I’ll say, declining numbers for Justin Trudeau,” said Nanos.
“At the same time, O’Toole’s come out with his counter plan to Justin Trudeau on Afghanistan and his numbers are on the rise.”
Vaccine passports also remain top of mind for Canadian voters, but Nanos believes the issue has so far been overshadowed by other big ticket items, like housing affordability and health care.
“The campaign has been overcome with issues related to Afghanistan, health care, mental health, homelessness, housing affordability. So, [it’s] still an important issue that I would expect the Liberals will try to drive home to their advantage against O’Toole, but not as much as a driver compared to a lot of these other firefights that are happening on a wide diversity of policy issues,” he said.
A national random telephone survey (land- and cellular-line sample using live agents) of 1,200 Canadians is conducted by Nanos Research throughout the campaign over a three-day period. Each evening a new group of 400 eligible voters are interviewed. The daily tracking figures are based on a three-day rolling sample comprising 1,200 interviews. To update the tracking a new day of interviewing Is added and the oldest day dropped. The margin of error for a survey of 1,200 respondents is ± 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The respondent sample is stratified geographically and by gender. The data may be weighted by age according to data from the 2016 Canadian Census administered by Statistics Canada. Percentages reported may not add up to 100 due to rounding.