Federal Liberals, Conservatives almost tied

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Federal Liberals, Conservatives almost tied

Conservative minority government seen if election held today

TORONTO March 31st, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1239 Canadian voters, one third or just fewer will vote either for the Conservatives (31%) or the Liberals (34%) if a federal election were held today. Just fewer than one quarter would vote New Democrat (23%), and few would vote Green (5%), Bloc Quebecois (5%) or for another party (1%). These findings represent relative stability since we polled at mid-month (March 14: Liberals - 36%, Conservatives - 32%, NDP - 21%, Greens - 6%, Bloc - 4%, Other - 1%).

In vote-rich Ontario, where the next election will be won or lost, the Conservatives have a slight lead on the Liberals (38% to 34%), and the NDP is not a major factor (21%). In Quebec, The Liberals (29%) and the NDP (28%) are tied, while the Conservatives and the Bloc lag (20% and 19%, respectively). In conservative Alberta, Liberals (31%) and NDP (20%) are sidelined, while the Conservatives lead (43%). Atlantic Canada is Liberal country (52%) to the exclusion of other parties (Conservative - 20%, NDP - 23%).

Of note, one fifth of past Conservative voters will support the Liberals this time around (19%), while a similar proportion of past New Democrats will as well (21%). About one tenth of past Liberals will vote either NDP (12%) or Conservative (8%).

Conservative minority seen

If these results are projected up to a 338 seat House of Commons, the Conservatives would take a slim minority of 129 seats (41 fewer than required for a majority), while the Liberals would take 125, The NDP would occupy 65 seats, the Bloc a one year high of 17 seats, the Greens would retain their leader’s seat and André Arthur would occupy an independent seat, unless he runs a Conservative.

Tied expectations of electoral victory remain stable

An equal proportion of voters expect the Conservatives (35%) or the Liberals (36%) to win the next election, and this is similar to the answer seen the last time we asked this (January 28: Conservatives - 36%, Liberals - 37%). Just one tenth see the NDP with a chance at victory, then (9%) and now (11%). One tenth of Conservatives see a Liberal victory (9%), one sixth of Liberals see a Conservative victory (14%) and as many as 3-in-10 New Democrats see the Liberals winning (31%) which may be an indication of their eventual vote. Half this proportion of New Democrats see the Conservatives winning (17%).

Mulcair favourables up sharply, Trudeau’s down slightly

Prime Minister Harper has the approval of one third of voters (33%) and his net favourable score (approve minus disapprove) is a very negative -26. These levels are stable from the last time we asked approval (January 28 - 34%, -22). Tom Mulcair has seen his approval rise sharply since then (from 40% to 47%) and his net score has improved as well (+14 to +17). Justin Trudeau’s approval has declined slightly (from 43% to 40%, and from +7 net to -4).

"We’re seeing here the very gradual erosion of the lead the Liberals have enjoyed since electing Trudeau as leader, to the point where the two parties are functionally tied and, because of quirks of the new 338 seat distribution, the Conservatives stand to win a minority. It is not unlikely we will see this gradual erosion continue until either the Iraq mission goes off the rails or the economy suffers even worse than it already has," 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.