Morneau Resignation Leads to Erosion of Liberal Lead Ahead of Tory Leadership Vote

Following Resignation, Liberal Lead over Tories Slips to Statistical Tie; Half (49%) of Canadians Say They’ll Consider Voting Tory in the Next Election under New Leader

The author(s)
  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, August 21, 2020 — The resignation of Bill Morneau as Minister of Finance has led to an even tighter horserace between the federal Liberals and Conservatives, as the Conservative Party prepares to crown a new leader this coming weekend.

According to a new Ipsos poll of 2,000 Canadians conducted on behalf of Global News – with 1,000 interviews conducted prior to Morneau’s resignation and 1,000 conducted after his resignation – the Liberals under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would receive 35% of the decided popular vote nationally, while 32% of the vote would be cast for the Conservative Party. The NDP led by Jagmeet Singh would receive 18% of the popular vote, while the Greens (7%) and Bloc (7%) would receive an equal proportion of the national vote (the Bloc would receive 30% of the vote within Quebec). Two percent (2%) would vote for some other party. Two in ten (20%) Canadians say they either would not vote (6%) or remain undecided (14%).

Ipsos conduced this survey amidst the resignation of Bill Morneau as Minister of Finance, and by comparing interviews conducted before and after the resignation, one can understand the immediate impact of the resignation on vote intentions. Support for the Liberals is down directionally, while support for the Conservatives is up directionally, leading to a shrinking of the Liberal lead over the Conservatives. Bloc support also rises within Quebec. The chart below shows the overall national popular vote results, as well as the results split pre-and-post resignation. A 5-point lead for the Liberals erodes to just 1 point – a statistical tie.

National Popular Vote, Decided Voters, Leaners Included


National Popular Vote % Aug 17/18

N = 2001

Aug 17 – Pre resignation

N = 1000

Aug 18 – Post resignation

N = 1001



























The overall sample of 2,000 Canadians allows one to examine the results within the key regions of Canada with greater confidence:

  • In Ontario, the Liberals (37%) and Conservatives (35%) are statistically tied, followed by the NDP (17%), Green Party (9%) and others (3%).
  • In Quebec, the Liberals (37%) lead the Bloc (30%), Conservatives (16%), NDP (13%), Green Party (3%) and others (<1%).
  • In British Columbia, the Liberals (37%) have the advantage over the NDP (28%) and Conservatives (26%), with the Green Party (8%) and others (<1%) trailing.
  • In Alberta, the Conservatives (59%) have a huge lead over the Liberals (19%), NDP (17%), Green Party (5%) and others (1%).
  • In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Tories (45%) have a solid lead over the Liberals (22%) and NDP (21%), while the Greens (8%) and others (4%) trail.
  • In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals (52%) have a substantial advantage over the Conservatives (21%), NDP (14%), Greens (11%) and others (3%).

While the Trudeau Liberals no longer enjoy the monumental vote advantage among women which first propelled them to office in 2015, they still have a small lead among women and continue to be the preferred choice of younger Canadians:

  • Among Gen Z, the Liberals (35%) have a substantial lead over the Conservatives (24%), NDP (23%), Greens (13%), Bloc (3%) and other parties (1%).
  • Among Millennials, the results are similar: The Liberals (35%) have a double-digit advantage over the NDP (25%), Conservatives (24%), Greens (10%), Bloc (4%), and other parties (2%).
  • Among Gen X, Liberals (34%) and Conservatives (33%) are in a dead heat, with the NDP (17%), Bloc (9%), Greens (5%) and others (3%) further behind.
  • Among Boomers, the Conservatives (39%) have the edge over the Liberals (35%), while the NDP (12%), Bloc (8%), Greens (5%), and others (1%) trail.
  • Among men, the Liberals (34%) and Conservatives (33%) are tied, well ahead of the NDP (13%), Bloc (8%), Greens (8%), and others (3%).
  • Among women, the Liberals (35%) have a small lead over the Tories (31%), while the NDP (22%) performs well among this segment. Support for the Green Party (6%), the Bloc (5%) and other parties (1%) is muted.

Interestingly, despite a very close horserace, 52% of Canadians say they approve (12% strongly/41% somewhat) of the performance of the Liberal government under the leadership of Justin Trudeau. While this is down from the highs of 70%+ in the midst of the lockdown earlier this year, these are historically still very strong approval ratings, particularly for a second-term Prime Minister in a minority situation.

Furthermore, when it comes Canadians’ assessment of the federal party that they trust most to manage the economy through the recession and the impact of COVID-19, the Liberals (35%) hold the advantage over the Conservatives (30%), NDP (14%), Bloc (5%), Greens (4%) or others (12%). In order to win an election, traditionally the Conservative Party needs to lead on economic issues, and despite having a brand-new Finance Minister, more Canadians still trust the Liberals to lead the country through this tumultuous period.

While Majority Believes WE Scandal Demonstrates Corruption among Liberals, Canadians Want to Move On

A majority (56%) of Canadians agree (25% strongly/31% somewhat) that the WE charity scandal shows that the Prime Minister and his government are corrupt and that they deserve to be defeated in the next federal election. However, a majority of Canadians are also ready to look past the infraction and move on to bigger issues:

  • Six in ten (62%) agree (22% strongly/40% somewhat) that while mistakes were made by the Prime Minister and his government in dealing with the WE charity, they have now apologized and it is time to move on to more important matters.
  • A similar proportion (58%) agrees (17% strongly/42% somewhat) that the opposition parties in Ottawa are causing unnecessary distraction from dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing too much attention on the WE charity scandal.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between August 17th and 18th, 2020, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 2000 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Half of the interviews were conducted prior to the resignation of Bill Morneau, while half were conducted afterwards. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled for the full sample, or ± 3.5 percentage points for the “before” and “after” samples individually. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker, PhD
CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs
+1 416 324-2001
[email protected]

About Ipsos

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The author(s)
  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs