Down to the Wire: Outcome Remains Uncertain as Campaign Enters Home Stretch

Key Battlegrounds of Ontario, Quebec Still Up for Grabs

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  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, October 15, 2019 — As the campaign enters the home stretch the outcome remains uncertain, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News. The two front-runners remain in a statistical tie nationally as they both have lost support to other parties: the Bloc maintains its strength in Quebec, and the NDP is rallying across the country – all of which points to an Election Night which could be full of surprises and close calls.

If the election were held tomorrow, the Conservatives and Andrew Scheer would receive 32% of the decided popular vote, down 2 points since last week. The incumbent Liberals, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have stumbled in the last week and would receive 30% of the vote, down 5 points nationally.

The primary beneficiary is Jagmeet Singh’s NDP, riding a surge following strong debate performances in both languages. The NDP would receive 20% of the decided national popular vote, up a significant 5 points since last week, intensifying the prospect of vote-splitting among progressives. The Green Party, led by Elizabeth May, is stable at 8% nationally, while Maxime Bernier and the People’s Party continue to hover around 2%, unchanged.

The Bloc Québécois continues to show newfound strength in la belle province, garnering 30% of the vote within Quebec, which translates to 7% nationally (unchanged). Just 1% of Canadians would vote for some other party/candidate (unchanged). More than one in ten (14%) either do not know who they would vote for (8%) or would spoil their ballot/not vote (6%).

As ever, the key to the election is winning in Canada’s most-populous provinces. In each, there is no clear winner:

  • In Ontario, the Liberals are clinging to a tenuous three-point lead over the Tories.
  • In Quebec, the Liberals are just two points ahead of the Bloc, a statistical tie.
  • In British Columbia, a three-way race ensues among the Liberals, NDP and Conservatives, with the Green party also polling in the double-digits.
  • Across the Prairies (Alberta, Saskatchewan/Manitoba), the Conservatives have a commanding lead.
  • In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals have a double-digit lead, but the Green Party is also showing relative strength in this region at 15% of the decided vote.

Examining some key demographic differences reveals the following:

  • Gender is not a primary determinant of vote choice. While there are some modest differences, they are not pronounced:
    • Among men, the Tories (34%) have a small lead over the Liberals (29%), followed by the NDP (17%), Greens (9%), Bloc (7%), People’s Party (2%) or someone else (1%).
    • Among women, the Liberals (31%) and Tories (30%) are tied, while the NDP (23%) is very much in the running. The Greens (7%), Bloc (6%), PPC (2%) and others (1%) trail.
  • Examining the results by age shows large differences in vote intent by generation:
    • Among those aged 55+, Conservatives (36%) and Liberals (33%) are in a tight race, while the NDP (12%), Greens (6%), PPC (1%) all lag considerably. Interestingly, the Bloc receives 11% of the vote nationally, which translates into about 40% of the vote within Quebec, demonstrating from where its support is disproportionately coming.
    • Among those aged 35-54, the Tories (35%) enjoy their biggest lead over the Liberals (27%), while the NDP (21%), Greens (9%), Bloc (5%), PPC (3%) and others (1%) fall behind.
    • Among those aged 18-34, who delivered Trudeau his majority government in 2015 when they were motivated to show up and vote, the NDP (31%) is now narrowly leading the Liberals (29%), while the Conservatives (23%), Greens (10%), Bloc (3%), PPC (2%) and others (1%) receive less support.

Ballot-Box Bonus Favours the Bloc, Tories

Overall, 70% of Canadians say they are absolutely certain to vote on Election Day, which is up 8 points since last week, suggesting that Canadians are becoming more engaged in the campaign as it enters the final stretch – and perhaps also realizing that in such a close race, every vote counts.

Bloc (87%) voters are the most inclined to say that they’re absolutely certain to vote, followed by Conservative voters (81%) – not surprising given that both parties have strength among older voters, who are most likely to show up on E-Day. Motivation among Liberal (75%), NDP (71%), Green (65%) and People’s Party (62%) voters is considerably less.

Moreover, a similar trend is observed when it comes to certainty of choice, those people who are certain that they won’t change their mind before E-Day, or those who have already voted. Six in ten (57%) Canadians say they are certain of their vote choice, or have already voted. This is up 7 points since last week as Canadians begin to lock in their choice or vote in advance polls. Even so, nearly four in ten (43%) aren’t locked in, saying they are only fairly certain (34%), not very certain (7%) or not at all certain (2%).

Once again, Bloc (70%) and Conservative (64%) voters are most committed to their choice, followed by less certainty among supporters of the Liberals (59%), Greens (48%), NDP (45%) and PPC (44%) voters.

Incumbent Fundamentals Still Show Some Strength for Liberals

Presently, 37% of Canadians believe that the Liberal government under Justin Trudeau deserves to be re-elected, stable since last week. By comparison, the Liberal popular-vote declined by 5 points since last week, showing that these two figures – which historically track quite closely to each other – are now out of lockstep. Conversely, 61% say it’s time for another party to take over, while 3% don’t know either way.

Four in ten (42%) Canadians approve (8% strongly/33% somewhat) of the performance of the Liberal government under Justin Trudeau, also stable since last week. Conversely, 57% disapprove (35% strongly/23% somewhat), while 1% aren’t sure.

And so, while Liberal popular vote sags, their underlying fundamentals remain relatively stronger, which suggests that some of the NDP or Green vote in particular, both of which shows softness, could come back to the Liberals in the final days of the campaign.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 11 and 13, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of n = 2,204 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. A sample of n = 1,504 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 = 700 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 = 66.9%). 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 ± 2.4 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]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people. Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD). ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

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