Poll Tracker: Are the Liberals now eating into Conservative support?

The Liberals may have had their fill of Liberal-NDP swing voters, and polls suggest they may now be drawing Conservatives over to their side.

After eating the NDP's lunch, the Liberals are hungrily eyeing Conservative votes

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is hoping to make inroads among Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's supporters. (Canadian Press)

After benefiting from the New Democrats' slide in the polls, are the Liberals beginning to steal voters away from the Conservatives?

The CBC Poll Tracker suggests the Liberals increasing their lead with 35.7 per cent support, followed by the Conservatives at 31.1 per cent and the New Democrats at 23.6 per cent.

With these levels of support, the Liberals are now on track to win the most seats with between 114 and 152, with 95 to 137 going to the Conservatives and 70 to 103 to the NDP.

The New Democrats have plateaued in the Poll Tracker, halting their slide at about 23 or 24 per cent, where they have stood since Oct. 6. This may suggest that the party has lost most of the voters who were still sitting on the fence between the NDP and the Liberals. 

But the Liberals have been picking up new support in the polls. This appears to have come from the Conservatives, who have slid almost two points since Oct. 6, when the party was leading with 32.9 per cent support. The decline has been mostly consistent, while the Liberals have gained over three points over that time.

The pattern that has emerged in the national average has been repeated at the regional level. The New Democrats have been able to hold steady for the last week or more in most parts of the country, while the Conservatives have dropped in Quebec and Ontario.

It is in Ontario where the trend to the Liberals from the Conservatives has been most stark. On Oct. 6, the Conservatives were in a tight race with the Liberals at 35.7 per cent to 38.1 per cent. That 2.4-point gap, however, has widened to 10.2 points, as the Liberals now stand at 42.9 per cent support in the province, followed by the Conservatives at 32.7 per cent (a drop of three points). The NDP's decline in Ontario since Oct. 6, by contrast, has been just a single point.

Or maybe not

The latest polls from EKOS Research and Nanos Research both show a swing toward the Conservatives and away from the Liberals (and NDP). Before the latest three-day rolling polls, the Liberals were up 7.7 points according to Nanos and 4.2 points according to EKOS. The latest iterations, however, show the gap shrinking to 5.9 and 0.9 points, respectively.

These shifts are both within the margin of error, however, and so may not be indicative of any real movement in the numbers. And the latest Forum Research poll shows no such movement. But this does serve as a cautionary note that the lead the Liberals have constructed in the polls may not be as robust as it seems at first glance.

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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