The recent horrible events in St-Jean and Ottawa will have a lasting impact on Canadians’ psyche. For the first time we were threatened, then the victim of acts of terror. While we can ponder on what will be the lasting effects of these events, we, as pollsters, can answer the simple question: Have these events “moved the needle” when it comes to Federal Party Standings? In other words, while all agree the recent events are political in nature, did they have an impact on PARTISAN politics?
The honest answer: So far… not really.
If we compare our October 16 results to our November 6 results (all collected after October 16), Federal party standings have not significantly changed, even if the slight changes suggest that the race is very close (see pdf document attached). Let us explain:
a. On October 16, the Liberals held a 5 point lead (37% to 32%) over the Conservatives, while the NDP was at 21%. Already a close race, as Liberals were ahead in Atlantic Canada and Quebec (over the NDP), while Conservatives were ahead West of Ontario. Given Ontario’s importance demographically, the Liberal lead in the province being slim can only produce a close national race.
b. On November 6, the Liberal lead is now 3 points (36% to 33%). Statistically, Liberals and Conservatives are now within the margin of error of each other. Not a huge change … but a change.
c. Most of that change has occurred in Quebec and Atlantic Canada where, in the first case the Liberal lead is over the NDP (Conservatives now at 19%) and in the second, the Liberals are still well ahead of their Conservative rivals. Changes in percentages … but would that mean changes in seat count?
d. In Ontario, the Liberals still have a 5 point lead (40% to 35%) where, in actual fact, it is the NDP who has lost ground.
To date, while every Canadians’ world view has been challenged by the recent tragic events, where they would likely place that “X” has barely moved.
Christian Bourque, Executive Vice-President and Partner at Leger, has over 20 years of experience in market and public opinion research. Christian also sits on the national board of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association of Canada (MRIA), where he also acts as a lecturer for some of the association’s training courses. Christian has also frequently served as an expert witness in Court where survey evidence was presented.
Sébastien Dallaire is Vice President, Public Affairs, at Léger. Sébastien possesses more than 15 years of experience in public opinion research and is a highly-respected public opinion analyst with provincial and national media outlets. Sébastien also has many years of university teaching experience in research methods and is a key methodologist for Léger’s major clients. He has won numerous distinguished research awards and distinctions and has published academic research articles in both official languages.