With just three weeks until the 43rd Canadian federal election, all eyes are on the leaders as they ready for the official debates on October 7 and 10. The attention of the party campaigns, however, is likely zeroed in on competitive ridings across the country. Every vote is important in what appears to be a close contest.
The latest study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute examines the 67 closest ridings (20 per cent of all ridings) from the 2015 election. Each was decided by five percentage points or fewer four years ago. By identifying these ridings and sampling exclusively within them, trends emerge that have positive and negative implications for each of the parties.
Overall, among these 67 ridings, the Liberal Party finished with a nine-point advantage in the 2015 election results. Currently, however, the Conservatives now lead vote intention in these ridings by six points.
For the Conservative Party, a marked shift overall, and significant gains in Western Canadian ridings, point to a closer national contest this time around. That said, neither the CPC nor the Liberals can yet claim the upper hand in closely contested Ontario ridings.
For the Liberals, support levels in 20 Quebec swing ridings remain close to that of four years ago, dropping slightly from 29 to 24 per cent. Notably, however, the Bloc Quebecois hold a small lead within these districts, and the CPC are now more competitive, up seven points from 2015.
The trouble for the New Democratic Party is not concentrated in one region, as its support has dwindled most everywhere when it comes to tight 2015 ridings, but the negative trend is most prominent in Quebec. In 2015, the NDP garnered 29 per cent of the vote in the most competitive ridings within that province; the party’s vote intention is now close to just one-third of that.
More Key Findings:
- The Liberal Party won 33 ridings by five or fewer points in 2015, garnering 41 per cent of the aggregate vote in those districts. Current vote intention in these same ridings finds Liberal support down to 31 points, with the CPC garnering 35 per cent of the vote, up from the 30 per cent it received last election
- Importantly, the Liberals defeated the Conservatives by five or fewer points in 20 electoral districts in 2015, with an aggregate vote advantage of just three points overall. The Conservatives now lead vote intention in these 20 ridings by a massive 15 points
- In Western Canada, 17 ridings made for close races in 2015. Eight are currently held by the Liberals, five by the NDP and four by the CPC. The CPC advantage was one point in 2015 in these 17 ridings and now stands at 21 points
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