Gear up for a tight race; analyst says October election shaping up to be a close one
Canada’s political parties unveiled their campaign slogans on Monday but despite the different messages one analyst believes we’re in for a tight race.
Political analyst Philippe J. Fournier said the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck, with things narrowing in polls since spring.
“Justin Trudeau had a good summer but we’ll have to wait and see where the numbers go as the campaign gets underway in two weeks,” he said.
Fournier said that an ethics commissioner’s report laying the blame for the SNC-Lavallin scandal at Trudeau’s feet has had surprisingly little effect, despite the large slide in popularity that came along with the outbreak of the scandal in February.
“When the SNC Lavalin scandal first surfaced, pollsters in Canada went in the field for several weeks and we saw Liberals losing ground to the Conservatives for eight consecutive weeks,” he said. “In the past two weeks after the report, we’ve had five national polls and none have seen a dent in Liberal support. It could be too early but so far it’s possible that a lot of people have already made up their minds on this issue.”
One thing that could work against the Conservatives is that while they are polling very well in some west provinces it’s unclear if that’s raising their support numbers to levels that they might not be able to match in seats.
“In Alberta and Saskatchewan, Conservative support is significant. We have maybe 6o to 70 per cent of voters in those provinces going to the Conservatives. However, there are limited numbers of seats in those provinces,” said Fournier. “There’s 34 in Alberta and only 14 in Saskatchewan. In the two largest provinces, Quebec and Ontario, the Liberals are still leading.”
As for Quebec, Fournier said polls have remained steady with the Liberals holding a tenuous hold on first place.
“We have the Liberals between 30 and 35 per cent in voting intentions,” he said. “The Bloc Quebecois are holding on with 18 per cent while the Conservatives are maybe the only major party that is polling better than their 2015 results. Right now they’re at 22 to 24 per cent. Considering they were at 16 per cent four years ago, there could be Conservative gains in the province.”