The Trudeau Liberals have regained the lead with just over 100 days before October’s election, suggests a new Mainstreet Research poll.
In a poll released July 9th, the Liberals have the support of 35 per cent of voters, compared to 33.2 for the Conservatives. The NDP sits at 10.4 per cent of support – only a tenth of a percentage point ahead of the Greens in a distant third place.
Compared to Mainstreet’s last poll in April, the Liberals are holding steady, the NDP is down slightly, the Greens are up 2.5 points and the Bloc and Maxine Bernier’s PPC are enjoying a small uptick. But it’s the Conservatives who have seen the most significant movement, losing 4.2 percentage points since the spring survey.
In Ontario, the Liberals lead with 41.6 per cent of support, compared to 32 per cent for the Tories, 11.5 per cent for the NDP, 9.1 per cent for the Greens and 4.3 per cent for the PPC.
In Quebec, the Liberals top all parties with 36.7 per cent of support, while the Tories have replaced the NDP and Bloc in the runner-up spot at 22 per cent. The aforementioned Bloc and NDP are polling at 19.1 and 8.6 per cent, respectively. The Greens are a close fifth with 8.2 per cent of support.
For the NDP, the numbers, if they hold until election day, would represent a significant drop in support over the past eight years. In the party’s historic best showing in the 2011 election, it took 42.9 per cent of all ballots cast in Quebec and 59 seats in the province. In the 2015 vote, that was reduced to 25.4 per cent and 16 seats.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Tories hold a large lead over the Liberals in Alberta (57.4-21.4 per cent) and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (47.8-30.1). The Conservatives are also ahead in B.C., with the party ahead of the Liberals by five points (30.7-25.7 per cent).
The Greens, whose two current seats are both located in B.C., are a very strong third in the Pacific province with 21.5 per cent of support, while the NDP is a distant fourth at 13.7 per cent.
In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals are leading the Tories 37.5 to 29.4 per cent, while the Greens, buoyed by recent successes in the region on a provincial level, are third at 17.5 per cent.
Similar results were also found by the Nanos weekly tracking poll, that ended on July 5. Their latest federal ballot tracking results found the Liberals to be at 34.6 percent, followed by the Conservatives at 30.4 percent, the NDP at 17.9 percent, the Greens at 8.8 percent, the BQ at 4.9 percent and the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) at 1.6 percent.
Further, when poll-takers were asked whether they would consider voting for each of the federal parties, Nanos reports 47.5 percent would consider voting Liberal, while a lesser 40.1 percent of Canadians say they would consider voting Conservative.
One in three (36.0%) would consider voting NDP, 33.6 percent would consider voting Green, 10.1 percent would consider voting for the People’s Party and 27.5 percent would consider voting for the BQ.
The implications of a Conservative victory
While the Liberals seem to be on a slight upswing over the past month, most pollsters see the two parties essentially tied in terms of seats if an election were held today.
So certainly a Conservative plurality is a strong possibility in the coming October election even if a Conservative majority government is somewhat less likely.
What would a Conservative government mean for Canada?
“An essential test for democracies is not whether such (authoritarian) figures emerge but whether political leaders, and especially political parties, work to prevent them from gaining power in the first place – by keeping them off mainstream party tickets, refusing to endorse or align with them and, when necessary, making common cause with rivals in support of democratic candidates.
Isolating popular extremists requires political courage. But when fear, opportunism or miscalculation leads established parties to bring extremists into the mainstream, democracy is imperiled.
Once a would-be authoritarian makes it to power, democracies face a second critical test: will the autocratic leader subvert democratic institutions or be constrained by them?
Institutions alone are not enough to rein in elected autocrats. Constitutions must be defended – by political parties and organized citizens but also by democratic norms. Without robust norms, constitutional checks and balances do not serve as the bulwarks of democracy we imagine them to be. Institutions become political weapons, wielded forcefully by those who control them against those who do not.
This is how elected autocrats subvert democracy – packing and “weaponizing” the courts and other neutral agencies, buying off the media and the private sector (or bullying them into silence) and rewriting the rules of politics to tilt the playing field against opponents. The tragic paradox of the electoral route to authoritarianism is that democracy’s assassins use the very institutions of democracy – gradually, subtly, and even legally – to kill it.”
This post is being written on August 3. The federal election is currently scheduled for October 21.
Donald Trump is President of the United States, Doug Ford is Premier of Ontario and Boris Johnson became Prime Minister of Britain on July 24.
The Liberals, NDP, Greens and the Bloc really need to talk.
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