Election Race Tightens as Liberal Campaign Stalls

Conservatives (32%, +1) and NDP (21%, +1) cut into Liberal Lead (33%, -3 pts); Liberals Lose Lead in Battleground Ontario

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  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, August 24, 2021 — After one week on the campaign trail, the election race has tightened as the Liberal campaign stalls. According to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News, the advantage the Liberals had heading into the campaign appears to have evaporated as modest national gains by the Conservatives and NDP have cut into the Liberal lead. Crucially, in battleground Ontario, the 9-point lead enjoyed by the Liberals just last week has been squandered, with the Tories and Liberals now statistically tied in the seat-rich province.

If the election were held tomorrow, the incumbent Liberals would receive 33% of the decided national vote, down 3 points since last week. The Conservatives are now statistically tied with the Liberals nationally at 32% of the vote, up 1 point since last week. The NDP has improved by 1 point to 21% of the vote, while the Green Party continues to struggle at just 5%, unchanged since last week. Nationally, the Bloc Quebecois would receive 6% of the popular vote (unchanged), or 27% in Quebec. The People’s Party is up one point to 2%, while 1% would vote for some other party. Just under two in ten (16%) Canadians remain undecided (up 3 points since last week) or would not vote (3%).

The national Liberal decline is largely a function of having lost their lead in Ontario:

  • In Ontario, the Conservatives (35%) now lead the Liberals (31%), while the NDP (23%) is also very competitive in the province. The Green Party (6%), PPC (4%) and others (2%) trail.
  • In Quebec, the Liberals (37%) still have a healthy lead over the Bloc (27%), with the Tories (19%), NDP (10%), Greens (6%) and others (1%) behind.
  • In British Columbia, the Conservatives (34%) have a slight edge over the Liberals (31%), with the NDP (27%) nipping at their heels. The Green Party (4%) continues to struggle in British Columbia, which has traditionally been their strongest province. The PPC is at just 3% in B.C.
  • In Alberta, the Conservatives (50%) would take half the vote, with the Liberals (26%), NDP (19%), Greens (1%), PPC (1%) and others (3%) splitting the rest.
  • In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the NDP (39%) are showing strength, which is likely more Manitoba-based than Saskatchewan-based. The Conservatives are typically stronger in Saskatchewan. The Conservatives (32%) are not far behind, while the Liberals (23%) are in third place within the region. The Greens (3%), PPC (2%) and others (2%) lag behind.
  • In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals (52%) remain firmly in the lead, with the Conservatives (21%), NDP (18%), Greens (6%), and PPC (3%) further back.

The statistical tie measured at a national level is also reflected in many of the other key demographic studied:

  • Among women, the Liberals (35%) have a modest lead over the Conservatives (30%), but the NDP (26%) is charging strong. The Bloc (4%), Greens (3%), PPC (1%) and others (1%) are not doing well among this key demographic group.
  • Among men, the Conservatives (33%) and Liberals (31%) are statistically tied, with the NDP (16%) further behind. The Bloc (8%), Greens (6%), PPC (3%) and others (1%) are further behind.
  • Among those aged 55+, traditionally the highest-turnout demographic cohort, the Liberals (34%) continue to lead over the Tories (31%), with the NDP (18%), Bloc (11%), Greens (4%), PPC (1%) and others (2%) further back.
  • Among those aged 35-54, the Tories (34%) and Liberals (33%) are in a dead heat. The NDP (18%), Bloc (6%), PPC (5%), Greens (4%) and others (1%) trail.
  • Among those aged 18-34, a three-way tie among the Liberals (31%), Conservatives (30%) and NDP (28%) has ensued. This is also the strongest showing for the Green Party (8%), while the PPC (2%) trails.

Indeed, more Canadians believe that the Conservatives (24%) have been gaining the most popularity and momentum over the last couple of weeks than believe this is true about the Liberals (22%). But many believe the NDP (17%) is gaining momentum. Fewer say the same about the Bloc (5%), Greens (3%), or some other party (3%). Perhaps reflecting what some might consider a listless campaign so far, 26% believe none of the parties is gaining any momentum with voters.

Trudeau Approval Rating Falls Significantly

After enjoying approval ratings around 50% or higher throughout the pandemic, fewer than half (45%) of Canadians now approve (10% strongly/36% somewhat) of the performance of the Liberal government under the leadership of Justin Trudeau, down 6 points since last week. Conversely, a majority (55%) now disapproves (30% strongly/25% somewhat), up 6 points.

Moreover, now only 38% of Canadians believe that the Trudeau government has done a good job and deserves re-election. While this is down 3 points since last month, it is still running 5 points ahead of their percentage of the national popular vote, demonstrating that some Canadians, while supportive of the Liberal’s performance, are willing to flirt with another party as the campaign unfolds.

On the other hand, a growing (62%, up 3 points) proportion of Canadians believes that it is time for another federal party to take over.

Canadians Becoming a Little More Open to Voting Conservatives or NDP compared to Liberals

Canadians were asked whether they are becoming more or less likely to vote for each of the major political parties since the start of the election. The data reveal that the Conservatives and NDP have a slight advantage over the Liberals in this regard.

Conversely, 36% of Canadians say they are now less likely to vote Liberal since the campaign began, higher than the proportion who say are less likely to vote for the Conservatives (32%) or NDP (25%).

Consider voting for…

% more likely

% no change

% less likely













Bloc (in Quebec)








People’s Party





These figures highlight where the campaign might be headed. While Canadians don’t seem overly thrilled with any of the parties and say they’re less likely to consider voting for all of them (which could portend a low-turnout election), the opposition parties are attracting more early attention than the governing Liberals.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between August 20 and 23, on behalf of Global News.  For this survey, a sample of n = 1,500 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: https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/

© 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: https://ipsosintelligence.ca/canadiancontext/


For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker
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