Conservatives widen lead over Liberals in wake of Poilievre’s ascendance: poll

The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has opened up its largest polling gap over the Trudeau Liberals in more than three years, according to a recent survey.

Just over two weeks after choosing Pierre Poilievre as new party leader, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has opened up its largest polling gap over the Trudeau Liberals in more than three years, according to a recent survey.

The new Angus Reid poll found, among decided and leaning voters, 37 per cent say they would vote Conservative if an election were held today. This compares to 30 per cent who would vote Liberal and 20 per cent who say they would vote for the New Democratic Party.

The last time the polling gap between the CPC and the Liberals was this wide was in 2019. Among the decided and leaning voters, 47 per cent of men say they intend to vote CPC compared to only 28 per cent of women.

voting intention

The ascendance of Poilievre as the new party leader appears to have garnered the CPC some renewed interest from less-moderate voters on the political right. Three-quarters of those who supported Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada in the last federal election — which was five per cent of Canadians who voted — say they would now support Poilievre’s Conservatives.

The veteran Conservative was the obvious choice for party leader in a first ballot victory on Sep. 10. Poilievre garnered more than 68 per cent of the electoral points, while Jean Charest, who likely had the best chance of preventing Poilievre from winning the leadership, earned just 16 per cent of support on the first ballot.

The poll showed that 35 per cent of Canadians say they view Poilievre favourably, with just over half saying they have a negative view of the new opposition leader.

Negative views of Poilievre are much higher than his predecessors, both Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole only had a 31 per cent unfavourable view in their first polls after becoming CPC party leaders. The polarizing Poilievre ran a populist campaign around the theme of “freedom,” and now faces the task of uniting the party behind him.

He starts off with a slightly higher favourable view than either Scheer (32 per cent) or O’Toole (30 per cent) initially had.

Justin Trudeau’s approval rating stands at around 40 per cent — five points higher than the new opposition leader — with 56 per cent saying they do not approve of his performance as prime minister. This remains relatively unchanged from the last time the poll was conducted in March 2022.

However, among the 40 per cent who say they approve of the PM’s job, only nine per cent say the “strongly” approve. Whereas 39 per cent of voters say they “strongly” disapprove of Trudeau’s work in the role.

Four-in-five who voted for the Liberals one year ago say they approve of Trudeau, while those who voted for the CPC are near universal in their dissatisfaction with him at 97 per cent.

Approval of Justin Trudeau

Cost of living top issue among Canadian voters

When asked about which issues were the most import to them, challenges directly related to the economy made up six of the top eight answers among Canadian voters.

According to the poll, 60 per cent of believe cost of living is a big issue, coming in ahead of health care, climate change, and affordable housing. Approximately one-in-five feel the overall economy is a top issue, with government spending, income inequality, and taxes not far behind.

Cost of living was the number one issue for decided CPC voters, as well as decided voters of every other federal party except the Liberals. The top issue among Liberal voters was health care.

Top issues for voters

The respondents were asked to consider the top issues and choose which leader, Trudeau or Poilievre, they think would be better suited to deal with the challenge.

According to respondents, most considered Poilievre better suited at dealing with the federal deficit, the economy and the cost of living. Most felt Trudeau would be better suited to deal with climate change, Canada’s social safety net, health care, national unity and Canada’s place on the world stage.

The online poll was conducted between Sept. 19-22 and was made up of a randomized sample of 5,014 Canadian voters.

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