Analysis

Poll Tracker: Liberals falling further behind NDP-Conservative race

The NDP still leads in the CBC Poll Tracker with 32 per cent, with the Conservatives at 29 per cent and the Liberals at 26 per cent.

Latest poll suggest the Liberals' last redoubt, Atlantic Canada, is also in danger

The latest polls suggest Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, left, is losing ground to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, particularly in Atlantic Canada. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The Liberals are falling further behind in the latest CBC Poll Tracker update, in a federal race that increasingly puts the focus on the New Democrats and the Conservatives.

That is not to say the contest does not remain close, with the NDP in the lead with 32.4 per cent in the weighted average against 29.4 per cent support for the Conservatives and 26.3 per cent for the Liberals. But that Liberal score represents a drop of almost an entire point in little more than a week.

There is a degree of confusion surrounding where the Conservatives really stand, however.

Polls are starting to be more unanimous on the third place position of the Liberals (the two last surveys put them as low as 24 or 25 per cent), but it is up for debate as to whether the Conservatives are solidly in second or pushing the NDP for the lead.

The newest poll, released Monday and conducted by Léger, shows the Conservatives and NDP tied at 32 per cent. But polls by Forum Research and EKOS Research last week pointed to a gap between the two parties, to the New Democrats' advantage. (Poll details and methodology can also be found on our Poll Tracker.)

Further confusing things is that EKOS showed the Conservatives making gains, while Forum had the Tories unchanged over the same period (or dropping, compared to what might have been a more recent anomalous poll). Since Léger was last in the field at the end of April, its survey is less helpful in figuring out the trends.

Sea change in Atlantic Canada?

One interesting trend that is easy to see is the movement taking place in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals currently lead there with 37.7 per cent, followed by the NDP at 31.8 per cent. But that is a sizeable shift since the July 7 update. Since then, the NDP has picked up just over three points, with the Liberals and Conservatives each taking a hit. The gap between the NDP and Liberals in Atlantic Canada now stands at just under six points. At the beginning of March, that gap was almost 35 points wide.

This does have some seat implications. In the July 7 update, the NDP was projected to win between five and six seats in Atlantic Canada. Now, that range has increased to between six and nine. A small increase, but if these trends continue the high range for the NDP will quickly approach a dozen seats in the region — knocking the Liberals' last redoubt out from under them.


CBC's Poll Tracker aggregates all publicly released polls, weighing them by sample size, date and the polling firm's accuracy record. Upper and lower ranges are based on how polls have performed in other recent elections. The seat projection model makes individual projections for all ridings in the country, based on regional shifts in support since the 2011 election and taking into account other factors such as incumbency. The projections are subject to the margins of error of the opinion polls included in the model, as well as the unpredictable nature of politics at the riding level. The polls included in the model vary in size, date and method, and have not been individually verified by the CBC. You can read the full methodology here.

About the Author

Éric Grenier

Politics and polls

Éric Grenier is a senior writer and the CBC's polls analyst. He was the founder of ThreeHundredEight.com and has written for The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post Canada, The Hill Times, Le Devoir, and L’actualité.

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