Liberals (35%) and Conservatives (35%) in Dead Heat as Election Officially Underway

While Approval of Trudeau Government on the Rise, Conservative Supporters Remain Most-Committed Voters

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  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, Sep 17, 2019 — The Liberals (35%) and Conservatives (35%) are in a dead heat as the election officially gets underway, suggesting the events of the campaign will determine the outcome of the election, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News. While the underlying public assessment of the incumbent Liberals has improved over the last month, suggesting that voters have already factored in the SNC-Lavalin affair, the Conservatives continue to benefit from the most motivated voter base.

If the election were held tomorrow, 35% (up 2 points) of decided voters would vote for the Liberal Party, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while 35% (unchanged) of decided voters would vote for the Conservative Party led by Andrew Scheer. Jagmeet Singh and the NDP continue to struggle at just 14% of the popular vote (down 4 points), while Elizabeth May’s Green Party at 9% (unchanged) is solidly in fourth place. Maxime Bernier and the People’s Party would receive 2% of the vote (up 1 point), while 1% would vote for some other party (unchanged). The Bloc would receive 4% of the vote nationally (20% in Quebec), up 1 point. Two in ten Canadians either don’t know who they would vote for (10%) or would not vote (7%).

  • In BC, the Conservatives have opened a 12-point lead over the Liberals, who are likely losing some support to the Green Party in BC, which has 15% of the popular vote – its strongest showing across the country.
  • In Alberta, the Conservatives have a 36-point lead over the Liberals.
  • In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the Conservatives have a 22-point lead over the Liberals.
  • In Ontario, the Liberals have an 8-point lead provincewide. 
  • In Quebec, the Liberals have a 19-point lead over the Conservatives and Bloc, who are statistically tried for 2nd position. The NDP, at just 8% in Quebec, is poised to lose most, if not all, of their current seats.
  • In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals and Conservatives are statistically tied.

The large sample size of over n = 2500 Canadians gives the opportunity to analyze the vote according to many different demographic voting groups. The chart below, highlights some of those results.

captureThree in ten (27%) Canadians say that they are voting for a different party than the one they supported in 2015. This includes 51% of Green Party voters, 38% of Bloc voters in Quebec, 29% of NDP voters, 29% of Conservative voters, and just 14% of Liberal voters.

The unpredictability of the campaign is reflected in the uncertainty that Canadians, overall, have about the expected outcome of the election. While 35% believe the Liberals will win the election, 31% think the Tories will win. Relatively few believe the NDP (5%), Greens (2%), Bloc (1%), PPC (1%) or some other party (<1%) will win. One in four (25%) don’t know who will win the election.

Underlying Fundamentals Improving for Incumbent Liberals

Over the past month, some of the underlying fundamentals closely tied to an incumbent’s chances of re-election have improved, suggesting the electorate is moving beyond the SNC-Lavalin affair, which hurt Liberal approval ratings. More than four in ten (44%) Canadians now approve (9% strongly/35% somewhat) of the performance of the Liberal government under Justin Trudeau, up 8 points since last month. Conversely, 56% disapprove (32% strongly/23% somewhat), down 8 points.

Four in ten (39%, up 6 points) Canadians are now believe the Trudeau government has done a good job and deserves re-election, while 60% believe it is time for another party to take over. 1% don’t know either way.

Canadians are split on whether things in Canada are going in the right direction (47%) or are off on the wrong track (53%). While 86% of Liberal voters think things are going well, this drops to 49% of Green voters, 39% of Bloc voters, 38% of NDP voters, and just 18% of Conservative and PPC voters.

In Early Stages of Campaign, Conservatives Poised for Ballot-Box Bonus

Conservative voters are both most likely to say they will vote in the upcoming election, and are the most committed to their vote choice.

Overall, 65% of Canadians say they are completely certain they will vote. This rises to 77% among declared Conservative voters and is slightly lower among Bloc (74%) and Liberal (72%) voters. Green Party (66%) voters, NDP supporters (64%) and People’s Party (62%) voters are least likely to be certain that they will vote on E-Day. Only half (50%) of undecided voters are certain that they will vote.

Among those who said they were voting for a particular party, 50% say they’re absolutely certain of their vote choice, meaning that 50% of declared voters could still potentially be swayed. Once again, Conservative voters are most committed, with 62% saying they are absolutely certain of their vote choice, well ahead of those voting for the Liberals (47%), Bloc (47%), NDP (39%) PPC (39%) or Green Party (31%) supporters, a majority of whom are less than fully committed to their choice.

Moreover, Ipsos has identified three important attitudes which drive one’s propensity to vote, all of which point to an advantage for the Tories.

  • Regret – 64% of Canadians strongly agree that they will regret it if they don’t vote in the upcoming federal election. Tory voters are by far the most likely to agree (77%).
  • Duty -- 71% of Canadians strongly agree that they have a duty/responsibility to vote in the upcoming election. Bloc (83%) and Conservatives (80%) voters are most likely to feel this way.
  • Interest—44% of Canadians strongly agree that have a great deal of interest in following the news and information about the upcoming federal election. Conservatives voters (56%) are once again the most likely to agree that they have interest in following news about the election.

Greens (19%), NDP (19%) Most-Popular Second Choice

The Greens and NDP are both competing to be the alternate standard bearer for progressive voters looking for an alternative to the Trudeau Liberals. One in five voters say if they couldn’t vote for their first choice, they would vote for the Green Party (19%), identical to the proportion who say they’d pick the NDP as their second choice. Just 11% are considering the Liberals as their second choice, and 10% are considering the Conservatives as their second choice, suggesting they have limited room to grow. Nearly one in ten (7%) would choose the PPC, and 2% of Canadians would choose the Bloc (2%). Three in ten (28%) aren’t sure which party they would choose second.

  • Among current Liberal voters, more are looking towards the NDP (31%) and Greens (23%) as their second choice than the Conservatives (15%).
  • Among Conservative voters, their preferred second choice is evenly distributed among the Greens (15%), PPCs (14%), NDP (14%) and Liberals (12%).
  • Among NDP voters, equal proportions are looking at the Liberals (31%) as the Greens (30%), while fewer would vote for the Conservatives (16%) second.
  • Among Bloc voters, the Greens (26%) are the preferred second choice, followed by the Conservatives (18%) and Liberals (16%). Just 10% would vote NDP second.
  • Among Green voters, their second choice is split between the NDP (27%) and Liberals (23%), while 11% would choose the Conservatives next.

Focus on Quebec

Given the importance of Quebec in helping to determine the outcome of the election (roughly ¼ of parliament’s seats are in Quebec), La Presse and Global News teamed up to conduct an oversample of Quebec voters, giving Ipsos a sample of n = 1004 Quebecers to analyze.

Province-wide, the Liberals (41%) are in the driver’s seat, with a significant popular-vote advantage over the Conservatives (22%), the Bloc (20%), NDP (8%) Green Party (7%), People’s Party (1%) or some other party (1%). Two in ten Quebecers either don’t know (15%) who they would vote for or would not vote (7%). Given the NDP’s sagging fortunes in Quebec, the largest prize that the other parties will be fighting over are the 15 NDP-held seats, many of which could change hands.

Within Quebec…

  • On the island of Montreal, the Liberals (56%) have a huge lead over the Conservatives (12%), NDP (12%), Bloc (11%), Greens (8%) and PPC (<1%).
  • In the Montreal Belt, the race is tighter with the Liberals (35%) only slightly ahead of the Bloc (29%), while the Conservatives (22%), NDP (9%), Greens (6%) and PPC (1%) trail.
  • In the Quebec City Region, the Conservatives (41%) have a substantial lead over the Liberals (20%), Bloc (19%), Greens (8%), NDP (6%) and PPC (5%).
  • In the rest of Quebec, the Liberals (43%) lead the Conservatives (22%), Bloc (20%), Greens (7%), NDP (6%) and PPC (<1%).
  • Among women in Quebec, the Liberals (43%) have a commanding lead over the Conservatives (20%), Bloc (20%), NDP (10%), Greens (7%), the People’s Party (<1%) or some other party (1%).
  • Among men in Quebec, the Liberals (40%) have a 17-point lead over the Conservatives (23%), Bloc (20%), NDP (7%), Greens (7%), the People’s Party (2%) or some other party (2%).
  • Among Quebecers aged 18-34, the Liberals (39%) lead the NDP (18%), Bloc (16%), Conservatives (14%), Greens (8%) the PPC (1%) and some other party (4%).
  • Among Quebecers aged 35-54, the Liberals (42%) have a large lead over the Conservatives (28%), Bloc (16%), NDP (6%), Greens (6%), and PPC (1%).
  • Among Quebecers aged 55+, the Liberals (42%) lead the Bloc (25%), Conservatives (20%), Greens (7%), NDP (5%) and PPC (<1%).

The national trend showing a motivated Conservative base is also reflected in Quebec. Conservative voters are the most likely to be absolutely certain that they will vote (80%), ahead of the Bloc (74%), Liberals (71%), NDP (59%) and Green party voters (58%).

However, when it comes to vote certainty, Quebecers are slightly less certain of their vote choice than other Canadians, with only 46% saying they are absolutely certain, and no party holds a significant advantage: 51% of Conservatives, 50% of Liberals and 47% of Bloc voters are sure of their choice, while only 28% of NDP and 24% of Green voters say the same.

Despite the NDP’s declining fortunes in Quebec, 19% of Quebecers say that the NDP would be their second choice, ahead of the Greens (17%), Conservatives (12%), Bloc (11%), Liberals (10%), PPC (5%), or some other party (3%). One in four (23%) is unsure of who they would pick as their second choice.

Reflecting on the fundamentals of the incumbent Trudeau Liberals, they are very strong in Quebec, which explains their large lead in most subregions of Quebec:

  • 52% approve (10% strongly/41% somewhat) of the Liberal government under Justin Trudeau (compared to Canadian average of 44%)
  • 47% believe that the incumbent government deserves to be re-elected (compared to Canadian average of 39%)
  • 57% of Quebecers believe that the country is headed in the right direction (Canadian average is 47%), compared to 43% who think Canada is on the wrong track (Canadian average is 53%).

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between September 11 and 13, on behalf of Global News and La Presse. For this survey, a sample of n = 2562 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. A sample of n = 2062 was interviewed online, via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources, and respondents earn a nominal incentive for their participation. A sample of n = 500 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed by live-interview telephone interviewers by landline and cellphone, using random-digit dialing. Quotas and weighting were employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe (weighting efficiency = 62.9%). The precision of Ipsos polls which include non-probability sampling is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled. 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. Ipsos abides by the disclosure standards established by the CRIC, found here:

© 2019, Ipsos Limited Partnership

This polling release and the data contained in it are the sole and exclusive property of Ipsos. They are NOT designed to support any election outcome or prediction model and no license to use the polling release or the data is either granted or implied by their publication. Ipsos does not endorse, and has no responsibility for the accuracy of, the result of any predictive model that incorporates this polling data. Furthermore, any use of this information to produce polling aggregations or election models without Ipsos’ written permission will be considered a violation of our intellectual property, and Ipsos reserves the right to take appropriate legal action. Detailed tabular data tables can be found here:


For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker, PhD

CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs


[email protected]


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