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Conservatives extend summer lead over Liberals, NDP sees bump in Nanos ballot tracking

With the fall sitting of Parliament now underway, the latest Nanos ballot tracking shows the federal Conservatives continue to hold onto the lead they’ve had all summer while the Liberals remain stalled, and the NDP has managed to gain a bit of steam in third place.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre's personal leadership number, meanwhile, is on a sharp upward trajectory while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's has trended negatively since the beginning of September.

On the latest episode of CTV Trend Line, Nik Nanos, chief data scientist and founder of Nanos Research, said the Conservatives clearly have "the upper hand."

"The Conservatives are up six points. (Poilievre is) six points up on the Preferred Prime Minister tracking. The Liberals are back on their heels," said Nanos. While the Conservative advantage on the ballot question has lessened slightly since Aug. 4 when they were nine points ahead of the Liberals, "still, six points is enough to win an election." 


The NDP, meanwhile, is benefiting from the Liberal slump. "When the Liberal numbers go down, usually the NDP numbers go up. Maybe if you're Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, you've got to be hoping those NDP numbers are hidden Liberal numbers that might come out and vote for the red team in order to try to strategically vote and block Pierre Poilievre," said Nanos.

"But you know what? If you're Jagmeet Singh, you have to be thinking about how you can get that number 22 to 25." That, added, Nanos, would put the NDP into Tom Mulcair and Jack Layton territory.

Nanos tracking shows the NDP under Singh has approached or exceeded 25 per cent ballot support a handful of times since he became leader in 2017. The party has largely been hovering around 20 per cent, reaching a low of 13 per cent in October, 2020.

"It could be a massive game changer if the NDP can up their numbers even more," said Nanos.


On the question of Canadians' preferences for prime minister, Nanos said it's interesting to note the long-term trend, with Poilievre currently at 31 per cent versus Trudeau at 25 per cent.

"A Conservative leader has not been this high since Stephen Harper was prime minister. Right now, the Conservatives are very well poised," said Nanos.

"The other thing is, is when the leader of the opposition is ahead of the sitting prime minister, that's not good news for the sitting prime minister."


When it comes to Canadians' top issues of concern tracked weekly by Nanos, inflation is at the top at 17 per cent, followed by the environment at 14 per cent.

But concerns over housing and the cost of housing has shot up to 13 per cent, compared to six per cent four weeks earlier.

"Many Canadians are just struggling to pay for the rent or the mortgage in the next 30 days," said Nanos, who also did polling recently for the Globe and Mail on immigration – asking Canadians whether we should be bringing in more new immigrants, the same amount or less.

"When you look at the trend line, when you look at 2020 compared to 2023, … the proportion of Canadians that thought we should be bringing in even more new Canadians was 17 per cent back in 2020. That's down to 8."

Meanwhile, the proportion of Canadians who think we should be bringing in fewer immigrants rose from 40 per cent in 2020 to 53 per cent today.

"It is now a majority, (a) slim majority but still a majority, nonetheless, at 53 per cent. So right now what it seems is, we're seeing the collision intersection … of issues like housing, where people are really worried about the rising cost of housing and just housing affordability, writ large, and things like immigration,"said Nanos.

Watch the full episode of Trend Line in our video player at the top of this article. You can also listen in our audio player below, or wherever you get your podcasts. The next episode comes out Wednesday, Oct. 4.



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