Philippe J. Fournier: The last electoral projection sees the parties at an impasse. But the Conservatives may have hit their cap early in the campaign.
With only 11 days of this campaign, the federal leaders will face each other this evening in the (only) debate in English. After two debates in French that were mainly focused on issues dear to Quebec and Quebecers, the rest of Canada will finally hear what the leaders promise (and do not promise) to Canadians for the 44th Parliament.
A flurry of polls has been released in recent days in part to set the stage for the Commission debates this week (see the full list here). Last Sunday, I wrote that the Liberals seemed to have stopped the bleeding they suffered in the first two weeks of the campaign, as support for the Liberals and the Conservative Party (CCP) stabilized. Since then, however, several polls by Léger, Abacus Data, Mainstreet Research and Nanos Research seem to suggest a slight tightening between the main parties. Other firms like Ipsos and the Angus Reid Institute have measured a narrow but nonetheless significant lead of 3 points for the CPC.
Using this most recent data, here we present updated projections of the popular vote 338Canada for September 9, 2021:
The Conservatives retain the top spot in voting intentions with an average of 34%, a margin of two points over the Liberals (and a margin below the model’s confidence intervals). The Liberals are in second place with 32% on average. The NPD, which had shown signs of growth at the start of the campaign, is currently at 20 percent nationwide.
While we should always be careful not to overreact to small daily fluctuations, these numbers suggest the Tories may have hit their cap early in the campaign. Prior to the disbandment, I speculated that the CCP was stuck in a “high floor, low ceiling” scenario with Canadian voters. The CPC’s skyrocketing early in the campaign is a testament to Erin O’Toole’s effectiveness in raising awareness among Canadian voters, and several early polls from this campaign have shown that O’Toole’s personal numbers had increased a few days ago (see this Abacus Data poll from August 20). However, while some would suggest that the Tories may have “peaked too early” in this campaign, it is plausible that they simply peaked and that the 34-35 percent mark represents the new ceiling. party. In this scenario, only a low turnout election could raise the CPC significantly above that mark (which is highly plausible, but almost impossible to predict with certainty).
In Ontario, the Liberals (38 per cent) and Conservatives (35 per cent) remain at a statistical dead end, with a slight advantage given to the Liberals, while the NDP sits just below the 20 per cent mark on average . Note: PPC support has increased significantly since the assignment was canceled in mid-August. The PPC is currently projected at 5 percent in the province, ahead of the Green Party.
In Quebec, the Liberals remain in the lead, but with barely a third of the votes on average. The Bloc Québécois is in second place with 27%. As for the Conservatives, their support in the province had shown clear signs of growth in the first half of the campaign, but it remains to be seen whether the French debates will have shifted the lines in one direction or the other. The CPC stands at 21% on average in Quebec:
We have seen significant discrepancies in the British Columbia polls lately. The Liberals started the campaign in first place in British Columbia, then slipped behind the NDP and Conservatives in late August, and appeared to have gained ground this week. As of this writing, we have a triple tie in voting intentions in the province with the CPC at 31 percent, the NDP at 30 percent and the Liberals at 28 percent on average.
Here are the updated projections for 338Canada National Headquarters:
The Liberals and Conservatives are also deadlocked in seat projections, with averages of 142 and 134 seats, respectively. Readers should be extremely careful in interpreting these figures, however, as this gap of only 8 seats between party averages is much lower than the confidence intervals of around 40 seats (the colored bars for LPC and CPC overlap almost perfectly on the graph). If the election were to take place tomorrow, it would be almost impossible to confidently award a favorite.
From my experience in politics, I have found that many leaders’ debates end in a tie or have little effect on voting intentions (and often only die-hard supporters claim to know with absolute certainty. what effects, if any, a debate would have on a party’s momentum). There are exceptions, however: as I mentioned before, the 2019 TVA debate completely reversed the scenario in Quebec in favor of the Bloc Québécois.
The French debate last night will he shake things up in the coming days? Will this one English face-to-face convince the remaining undecided voters to vote one way or another? I will wait for the data before drawing any conclusions. This is how scientific methods work: Faced with new evidence, you have to adjust your analysis. We should have clearer indications early next week.
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Details of this projection are available on page 338Canada. To find your home constituency, use this list of 338 electoral constituencies or use the regional links below: