The Liberal-Conservative Two-Step

We have finished the third week of the 5 week election campaign and entered the Labour Day long weekend. The first leaders’ debate, Face-a-Face (French language, TVA) has ended and the major national debates are scheduled for September 8th (Fr) and 9th (English). Now is the time for parties and candidates to stake their positions and prepare for the campaign’s final decisive contests.

Candidates have less than half of the campaign to go if they want to change their fortunes. And the trends here are looking awfully familiar. Consider the last time the Liberals lost power, in the 2006 election:

2006 opinion polls, including actual results of 2004 and 2006 elections. From Wikipedia
  • The Liberals and Conservatives traded places halfway through the campaign
  • The NDP, a distant third, gained ground throughout the campaign as the Liberals sank.
  • The Bloc Quebecois lost support throughout the campaign as the Tories gained ground.
  • The Greens hovered at ~5%.

This year shows a repeat of the partisan dynamics from 2006, but has its own twists:

CBC Poll Tracker 2021, showing dates between the start of the campaign and September 4th.
  • The Liberal minority government and the Tory Opposition have followed the same course but have both started 2% lower than in 2006.
  • The NDP has followed the same course but has started at 18%, their finishing place in 2006.
  • The Bloc Quebecois has followed the same course but has started at half its strength in 2006. The party still has not recovered from the 2011 Orange Crush.
  • The People’s Party is a new political force which has started this election at 3% and has traded positions with the Green Party, which may lose all of the gains made by its previous leadership. The PPC is the only minor party with a growing support base.

Trudeau needed a decisive win in the TVA French debate, and he didn’t get it (nobody did). His campaign has been unable to reverse its downward momentum.

Only 30% of decided NDP voters are willing to vote for the Liberals if a Conservative government seems likely.

This Leger poll says that 60% of NDP voters will not vote strategically. If the strategic vote doesn’t happen this year, and Trudeau’s star keeps sinking…

¯\_( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)_/¯


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