NDP on track for majority government

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NDP on track for majority government

Conservatives tumble to third place

TORONTO August 25th, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1440 Canadian voters, fully 4-in-10 will now vote NDP in the coming election (40%), ten points ahead of the second place Liberals, with 3-in-10 votes (30%). The incumbent Conservative Party is favoured by fewer than a quarter (23%). This stands in stark contrast to last week, when the NDP had a five point lead over the second place Conservatives and Liberals (34% to 29% and 28%, respectively). It is clear the sharp improvement in the NDP’s fortunes has come out of the Conservative vote, as well as the Green and Bloc Quebecois vote (3% each now, 4% each last week).

NDP leads in Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, BC

In seat-rich Ontario where elections are won and lost, the NDP are now in the lead (36%), followed by the Liberals (33%), while the Conservatives trail (26%). In Quebec, the NDP is completely dominant (54%), while the Liberals (19%), Bloc (14%) and Conservatives (11%) have little traction. In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals dominate their customary fief again (47%) with the NDP second (27%) and the Conservatives third (21%). In the prairies, the NDP now lead (41%), ahead of the Liberals and Conservatives, who are tied (28% each). In Alberta, the Conservatives lead (42%), but the NDP is in a strong second place (32%) and even the Liberals are showing life (22%). The NDP lead in BC (39%), followed by the Liberals (32%) and, distantly, by the Conservatives (21%).

NDP vote is youngest, Liberal vote oldest, Conservative gender gap

NDP voters are younger (Under 35 - 49%, 35 to 44 - 46%), Liberal voters are older (65+ - 33%), Conservative voters are mid-aged (45 to 54 - 32%) and more likely to be male (25%) than female (21%). The Conservative vote is more likely to be wealthy ($80K to $100K - 27%, $100K to $250K - 26%). The Conservative vote skews to the least educated (high school or less - 29%), while the NDP vote skews to the best educated (post grad - 45%).

4-in-10 past Conservatives not voting for their party

Four-in-ten voters who supported the Conservatives in 2011 will not be voting for the party this time, with either one fifth voting NDP (19%) or Liberal (19%). Close to 3-in-10 past Liberals will vote NDP this time (28%). About one fifth of 2011 New Democrats will vote Liberal in 2015 (17%). Very few Liberals (6%) or, especially, New Democrats (3%) will vote Conservative in this round.

Conservatives are most committed voters

Three quarters of those who will vote Conservative are strong supporters (73%), whereas just more than one half of Liberal voters (57%) and New Democrats (56%) are. This is apparent because the Conservative voter base has shrunk to its absolute floor of the most committed supporters.

NDP headed for historic rookie majority

If these results are projected to a 338 seat House of Commons, the NDP would form an historic first-ever majority government with 174 seats, 4 more than required. The Conservatives would form the Opposition with 87 seats, and the Liberals would remain the third party, with 76 seats. The Green Party would retain their leader’s single seat, and the Bloc Quebecois would not seat any members.

NDP now clearly expected to win the election

More than a third believe the election is the NDP’s to win (36%), compared to just a quarter who think this of the Conservatives (25%). Fewer than a fifth believe the Liberals can win (17%). This is in contrast to last week, when the margin in favour of the NDP was modest. This is a lagging measure, in that it tends to follow levels of voter intention by about two weeks.

Mulcair now seen as best PM by most

One third of voters think Tom Mulcair would make the best Prime Minister (32%), while fewer than a quarter think this of Justin Trudeau or Stephen Harper (22% each). Few think Elizabeth May (8%) or Gilles Duceppe (3%) could do the job, while about a tenth think none is up to it (8%).

Mulcair’s approval up, Harper’s favourables down

Tom Mulcair has the approval of more than half the voters (54%) and this is an increase since last week (50%). His net favourable score (approve minus disapprove) is a sparkling +27, similar to +26 last week. Justin Trudeau’s approval is stable at more than 4-in-10 (44%) and his favourable score is +6 (46% and +9 last week). Stephen Harper has seen his approval decline even further (from 28% to 26%) and his favourable score has tumbled too (from -37 to a truly abysmal -41, the lowest we have recorded).

One half think country is headed in wrong direction

As many as one half of Canadian voters see the country moving in the wrong direction (50%), and this is especially common to the youngest (57%), males (57%), the wealthiest (56%), among New Democrats (67%), but not Conservatives (12%) or past Conservative voters (25%) and among the best educated (59%). This feeling is least common regionally in Alberta (42%).

One quarter voting strategically

One quarter of voters will vote for a party they believe can defeat the government (27%), rather than the party they believe in (61%). One tenth will vote for another reason (9%). Strategic voting for a party that can defeat the government is most common, not surprisingly, to the surging NDP (40%), rather than the Liberals (27%). Among 2011 voters, one fifth of the Conservatives (19%), 3-in-10 Liberals (29%) and one third the past New Democrats will vote strategically this time (33%).

3-in-10 will vote for different party in 2015 than they did in 2011

Three-in-ten voters are supporting a different party this time around (31%), and this is especially the case among those now voting Liberal and NDP (38%) each. Just a tenth of those now voting Conservative came from a different party (11%). In total, just one half of voters will vote the same party in both elections (49%).

One fifth will vote for change

One fifth of voters will vote for a change in government as their prime motivator (18%), while most say they will vote for the party with the best policies (41%). One sixth say they vote for a leader (15%) and about a tenth say they vote for the best local candidate (11%). Less than a tenth will vote for the same party they have always voted for. New Democrats are especially likely to vote for change (24%), Conservatives are especially likely to vote for their customary party (13%). Conservatives are the most likely to say they vote for the best policies (53%) while the Liberals are less likely to do so (35%).

This is a historic day for the NDP, when the poll puts them in reach, not only of their first national government, but of a majority. The Conservative Party’s support has dwindled to a previously unimaginable basement level, and the Liberal, almost by reaction, are coming back from their brush with electoral death. Unfortunately for them, with the new seat allocation, their newfound popularity will not vault them out of third party position. What we are seeing here are the cumulative results of the Duffy trial and it’s corrosive effect on the Conservative brand, Moreover, all the progressives in Canada are gathering under the New Democrat banner. The scale of volatility, of voter movement, we are seeing in this campaign, is truly epic," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at lbozinoff@forumresearch.com or at (416) 960-9603.