TORONTO -- The Liberals are in winning territory with votes coming from mail-in ballots heavily in their favour, according to projections from Nanos Research.

With only one weekend left before Canadians head to the polls, Nik Nanos, the founder and chief data scientist at Nanos Research, said they have been crunching the numbers in their seat projection and modelling data over the last few days.

“Right now, assuming that this current scenario upholds for the next two days, and there’s no significant movement, we’re looking at a Liberal win. Period. Full stop,” Nanos said on Friday’s edition of CTV’s Trend Line podcast.

“Then the question is: ‘How big a win will it be?’"

Nanos said the most likely outcome is that the Liberals will form a minority government; however, a Liberal majority is “not out of the realm of possibility” either.

In fact, Nanos said he suspects the Liberals’ path to victory will be similar to the one that won them the government during the 2019 federal election.

“In 2019, the Liberals lost the popular vote in a very, very tight race, but they actually won the government because of the distribution, the efficient distribution of seats that they had,” he explained.

Examining the share of seats in the House of Commons the Liberals could win, Nanos said it looks like history is shaping up to repeat itself in 2021.

And what could aid that Liberal victory?

Mail-in ballots.

According to Nanos Research’s nightly tracking data conducted for CTV News and the Globe and Mail, which was released on Friday, those Canadians who plan to vote by mail-in ballot are four times more likely to vote for the Liberals than the Conservatives.

Poll respondents were asked to rate how likely they were to vote by mail on a scale of zero to 10 as well as their party preference.

Of those who rated their likelihood to vote by mail as a nine or 10 on the scale:

  • 47 per cent would vote Liberal;
  • 26 per cent would vote NDP;
  • 12 per cent would vote Conservative;
  • 6 per cent would vote Bloc Quebecois;
  • 6 per cent would vote Green Party; and
  • 2 per cent would vote People’s Party of Canada

As for how much of an impact these votes will have on the final election result, Nanos said they estimate that approximately 8 per cent of Canadians will vote by mail, or 1.2 million out of 15 million voters.

Nanos said if the mail-in votes are not fully tallied on election night, the Liberals should expect a marginally better result once they’re included in the final count.

“Those mail-in ballots are four times more likely to favour the Liberals than the Conservatives,” he said.


As for how the parties are currently doing according to the latest nightly tracking data, which was released Friday, the Liberals and Conservatives are still technically tied when factoring in the survey’s margin of error.

The Liberals received 31.9 per cent support while the Conservatives have 30.4 per cent.

“So [it’s a] statistical dead heat when it comes to national ballot support,” Nanos said.

Trailing behind the frontrunners, are the NDP with 20.3 per cent support; the People’s Party of Canada with 7.5 per cent; the Bloc Quebecois with 5.8 per cent; and the Green Party with 3.2 per cent.

When Canadians were asked who they prefer to be their next prime minister, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau received 29.8 per cent support followed closely by Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole with 27.8 per cent.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was ranked third with 19.9 per cent support, followed by PPC Leader Maxime Bernier with 7.6 per cent, BQ Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet with 3 per cent, and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul with 2.2 per cent.

Of those surveyed, 9.7 per cent were unsure of who they would like to be their next prime minister.


A national random telephone survey (land-and cell-line sample using live agents) of 1,200 Canadians is conducted by Nanos Research throughout the campaign over a three-day period. Each evening a new group of 400 eligible voters are interviewed. The daily tracking figures are based on a three-day rolling sample comprising 1,200 interviews. To update the tracking, a new day of interviewing is added and the oldest day dropped. The margin of error for a survey of 1,200 respondents is ±2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The respondent sample is stratified geographically and by gender. The data may be weighted by age according to data from the 2016 Canadian Census administered by Statistics Canada. Percentages reported may not add up to 100 due to rounding. 

For the statistics on mail-in ballots, the margin of error for the subsample is ±10.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.