With the 2019 federal election formally underway, Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives appear to be in a dead heat with Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in terms of the popular vote.
As of September 16, the CBC’s Canada Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polling data, has the Liberals and Conservatives virtually tied with the Conservatives at 34.3% and the Liberals at 33.6%.
The Poll Tracker has the New Democrats trailing in the third place at only 13.7%. They are closely followed by Elizabeth May and the Greens, who are running at 9.9%.
According to the Poll Tracker, the close race between the Liberals and Conservatives masks some of the lopsided regional battlegrounds across the country.
Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives, for example, hold a lead of 40 points in Alberta and nearly 24 points in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Altogether, the Poll Tracker estimates that would deliver around 55 seats to the Conservatives.
According to the Poll Tracker, the Liberals’ lead of six points in Ontario and 14 points in Quebec likely would deliver around 121 seats at this point — enough on its own to put the party most of the way toward a majority government.
Still, according to the Poll Tracker, current polling suggests neither party is in line to win the 170 seats needed for that majority. According to the Poll Tracker, the numbers as of today suggest 163 seats going to the Liberals and 140 going to the Conservatives.
That said, the race in a lot of ridings are tight. The Poll Tracker gives the Liberals only a 65 per cent chance of winning the most seats if the election were held today, and gives the Conservatives a 35 per cent chance.
This election is clearly up for grabs. Certainly a Conservative plurality is a reasonable possibility and a Conservative majority government can’t be ruled out.
Scheer has the right-wing, populist vote all to himself – but will that be enough?
In light of what we are seeing south of the border with Donald Trump, with Boris Johnson in the U.K., and with Doug Ford in Ontario, it is clear that right-wing populism will be a significant factor in the election.
But what form does right-wing, populism take in Canada?