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Conservatives maintain months-long lead over Liberals, as Canadians' economic anxiety rises: Nanos

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The Conservatives are solidifying their lead over the Liberals, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre are neck-and-neck for preferred prime minister, according to weekly tracking from Nanos Research.

The latest Nanos numbers show the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals with 33.1 per cent and 29.7 per cent respectively. The NDP are at 21.7 per cent.

It’s a narrower gap than earlier in the month, when the Conservatives reached 36.6 per cent, compared to the Liberals with 27.2 per cent. But it continues a trend of the Liberals being ensconced in second place to the Conservatives since February.

“Right now we're seeing a trend that has held up for a number of months where the Conservatives have had a noticeable advantage over the margin of error,” said Nik Nanos, CTV News’ pollster and Nanos Research’s chief data scientist and founder.

“I think for the Liberals, they’ve got to figure out how to disrupt this trend line, because if it firms up, it's going to make for a very tough year for (them),” Nanos told CTVNews.ca.

Nanos said he chalks up the Conservative lead largely to “economic anxiety,” with more people feeling the strain of the cost of living crisis and voting on pocketbook issues.

WHAT’S CONCERNING CANADIANS?

Jobs and the economy, inflation and the cost of housing are among the top five issues of concern for Canadians, according to the latest weekly issues tracking from Nanos Research.

The top issue of concern, however, is currently the environment, which Nanos said is making him watch the polling numbers in wildfire-ravaged B.C. closely.

“What we're seeing is a focus on economic issues, meat-and-potato things, inflation, the rising cost of living, jobs and the economy, all those things are on the rise,” Nanos said.

“However, the environment as an issue has been on the rise, as many Canadians have been having to deal with extreme weather events, and also these wildfires across the country,” he added. “So think of Canadians as cross-pressured, but more pocketbook issues being top-of-mind for Canadians as they're struggling to pay for the groceries and rent.”

BATTLEGROUND ONTARIO

The pollster said he’s also keeping a close eye on the numbers in Ontario, which he called a “big game changer for the Conservatives.”

“The Conservatives have been much more competitive in battleground Ontario, and it's basically tipped the calculus in their balance when it comes to seat projections,” Nanos said.

He added the Prairies are “a lock” for the Conservatives, while the Liberals remain strong in Quebec, and there are several potentially close races between the two in Atlantic Canada.

Meanwhile, new numbers from Nanos also show the Liberals’ popularity plummeting among younger voters, the demographic that has largely helped Trudeau win previous elections.

The data shows the Liberals in a distant third place for 18-29 year olds with 15.97 per cent, compared to the Conservatives and the NDP with 39.21 per cent and 30.92 per cent respectively.

“I would be very concerned if I were the Liberals,” Nanos said.

He added the Liberals have to do three things to win the next election, currently slated for 2025: win back women who have pivoted their support to other parties, mobilize younger voters under one progressive banner, and be more competitive among male voters.

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