Canadians Remain Open to Changing their Vote as Debates Loom on the Horizon

Only 46% Say They Have Locked Their Vote: NDP Leads as Second Choice; Canadians See Liberals as Having Best Odds to Win September 20th Vote

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  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, Sept. 6, 2021 — According to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News, only 46% of Canadians who say they are going to support a party on election day are absolutely certain of their vote choice, leaving the remaining voters less sure (39% fairly certain; 11% not very certain; 4% not at all certain). Conservative voters (49%, +3 since the start of the campaign) and Liberal voters (49%, +1) are most likely to be absolutely certain of their choice, with NDP (43%, +6), Bloc (43%, +13) and Green Party (26%, +13) supporters less certain of their choice.

The NDP appears to have the most room to grow their vote between now and September 20th. Among those voters who express a first-choice party, 22% say they’d choose to vote for the NDP as their second choice. This contrasts with the Liberals (15%), Conservatives (11%), Greens (11%), PPC (7%), Bloc (3%) or some other party (3%) as preferred second choices. Three in ten (28%) voters don’t know who they would choose second, led by Conservative voters, 37% of whom wouldn’t identify a preferred second choice. This suggests that Conservative voters are least likely to be considering a second party.

Two thirds (67%) of Canadians say they are completely certain they will vote in this election. Looking at this intention by party support reveals no clear turnout advantage for any party: NDP (69%), Conservative (68%) and Liberal (67%) voters are equally likely to say that they are certain to vote on or before E-Day. Bloc (63%) and Green (44%) voters are less enthusiastic about voting.

The campaign has clearly had an impact on who Canadians are considering voting for. Reflecting their positive momentum in the horserace figures since the start of the campaign, the Conservatives and NDP have increased their appeal among a greater number of voters than the other parties. Conversely, vote consideration for the Liberals, Bloc and Green Party has been decidedly negative. The chart below shows the proportion of Canadians who say they have become more or less likely to vote for each party since the start of the campaign, with the change in consideration since last week in brackets.

Consider voting for…

% more likely

% no change

% less likely


25% (+5)

43% (-5)

32% (--)


17% (-1)

45% (-2)

38% (+2)


24% (+4)

50% (-5)

26% (+1)

Bloc (in Quebec)

18% (-3)

44% (--)

38% (+3)

Green Party

8% (+1)

56% (-1)

36% (--)

People’s Party

5% (-2)

55% (+1)

40% (+1)

Some other party

3% (--)

59% (--)

38% (--)

Canadians acknowledge the broader trend that Ipsos has been measuring in its recent polls: one in three (34%) believe the Conservatives have been gaining the most popularity and momentum over the coming weeks (up 10 points since last week), while one in four (24%, +7) say it is the NDP who has been gaining the most strength. Just 17% (-5) believe that it is the Liberals who are on a roll. In fact, even Liberal voters believe they’re stalling, as just 39% believe they are the party with the most momentum, far behind the proportion of Conservative (72%) and NDP (67%) voters who say their own party is gaining the greatest traction in the campaign.

Despite this momentum, Canadians still believe the Liberals are the favorite to win the election, although those odds are less certain than before. Four in ten (38%) Canadians believe the Liberals will win (down 6 points since the start of the campaign), while 22% believe the Tories will win the election (up 7 points). Fewer believe that the NDP (7%, +1), Green (2%, +1), Bloc (1%, -1) or others (1%, +1) are most likely to win. Three in ten (30%, -1) Canadians say they don’t know who is going to win, rising to 76% among those who haven’t yet decided who they’re going to vote for.

An Examination of Second Choices

To foreshadow how the vote might evolve in the coming weeks of the campaign, we examine where vote switchers say they might go and from which party they are coming.

Overall, the NDP (22%) is the preferred second choice of a plurality of Canadians, followed by the Liberals (15%), Conservatives (11%), Greens (11%), PPC (7%), Bloc (3%), and others (3%).

  • Among Conservative voters, their second choice is relatively evenly divided among the NDP (18%), Liberals (12%), PPC (12%) and Greens (10%), with the Bloc (6%) and others (5%) a little behind. Four in ten (37%) Tory voters don’t know where they would move their vote if they couldn’t vote for the Conservatives.
  • Among Liberal voters, the strongly preferred second choice is the NDP (46%), with fewer votes likely to bleed to the Conservatives (17%), Greens (8%), PPC (2%), Bloc (2%) or others (2%). One in four (23%) are unsure of their second choice.
  • Among NDP voters, the Liberals (39%) are their preferred second choice followed by the Greens (18%), Conservatives (12%), PPC (3%), Bloc (2%), or others (2%). One quarter (24%) are unsure of who their second choice would be.
  • Among Bloc voters within Quebec, the Conservatives (23%) have a narrow edge as the second-choice party, but the Liberals (20%) aren’t far behind. Other parties, including the Greens (14%), NDP (10%), and others (2%) are further back. Three in ten (30%) Bloc voters are unsure of who they would pick second.

In summary, NDP support has the most room to grow (or shrink!), and most of the potential movement appears to oscillate among the progressive parties, meaning that the biggest potential for voters moving is Liberals moving to the NDP or vice versa. While the Conservatives have the least amount of room to grow, there is an important opportunity for them with soft Bloc voters considering the Tories as their second choice. Conservative growth in Quebec, at the expense of the Bloc, is a real possibility, upping the stakes for O’Toole in the upcoming French-language debates. Moreover, if the Tories lose votes, they don’t look to be concentrated with a single opponent.



About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between August 27 and 30, on behalf of Global News.  For this survey, a sample of n = 1,501 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online, via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources.  Respondents earn a nominal incentive for their participation.  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. 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 ± 2.9 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:

© 2021, 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
CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs
+1 416 324 2001
[email protected]

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