03/25/2014 09:58 EDT | Updated 03/25/2014 10:00 EDT

Polls Suggest Liberals Still Lead, But Turnout Could Be Key In 2015


According to the latest federal polls from Angus Reid and CROP, national voting intentions remain stable — even in Quebec, where the provincial election is in full swing.

The poll by Angus Reid was conducted between March 3 and 9, and surveyed 6,445 Canadians online. The results suggested support for federal parties was unchanged from the firm's previous survey in mid-February.

The Liberals retained the lead with 33 per cent, followed by Conservatives at 28 per cent and New Democrats at 27 per cent. The only difference from the February poll was an insignificant uptick of one point for the NDP.

Among Angus Reid's estimation of those most likely to vote, however, Liberals were ahead by just one point at 32 per cent to 31 per cent for Conservatives and 26 per cent for New Democrats.

The poll gave the Liberals comfortable leads in British Columbia (34 per cent to 27 per cent for the NDP and 26 per cent for Tories) and Atlantic Canada (49 per cent to 22 per cent for NDP and 21 per cent for the Tories), while in Ontario, the Liberals were at 36 per cent to 32 per cent for Conservatives and 26 per cent for the NDP.

The Conservatives were in front in Alberta (53 per cent to 23 per cent for Liberals) and the Prairies (41 per cent to 31 per cent).

But among likely voters, the race in B.C. transformed into a close three-way contest, while Tories extended their lead in the Prairies and moved into a tie with the Liberals in Ontario.

Turnout, then, could have a significant impact on the results of the next election.

The ongoing election in Quebec has apparently had little effect on federal voting intentions, however.

In the Angus Reid poll, New Democrats were ahead with 34 per cent against 29 per cent for the Liberals, virtually unchanged from the firm's mid-February poll. But Angus Reid was in the field just as the Quebec election kicked off.

CROP polled more recently, surveying 1,400 Quebecers between March 12 and 16. They found the Liberals narrowly ahead with 33 per cent support to 31 per cent for New Democrats, again virtually unchanged from the firm's February poll.

Though the campaign appears to be floundering for the Parti Québécois, the party is nevertheless much more popular than its federal cousin. Angus Reid gave the Bloc Québécois just 21 per cent support at the beginning of the month, while CROP had the party at 18 per cent more recently.

Conservatives also remain unpopular in Quebec, with 12 and 13 per cent support in the two polls, respectively.

The Angus Reid poll suggested that, despite the five-point margin between their two parties, Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper are almost neck-and-neck on who would make the better prime minister.

Trudeau scored 24 per cent on this question, compared to 23 per cent for Harper. Both were down significantly from the February poll, as the number of undecideds spiked. This also occurred in the question concerning approval ratings, perhaps suggesting a change in methodology or question structure on the part of Angus Reid.

But while Thomas Mulcair trailed both Trudeau and Harper on the leadership question (he had 17 per cent), he was tied with Trudeau with a 39 per cent approval rating. His disapproval rating, at 26 per cent, was lower than Trudeau's at 33 per cent.

Harper's approval rating was considerably lower and his disapproval rating considerably higher than both Mulcair and Trudeau, however, at 29 and 56 per cent, respectively.

As Ottawa enters the spring political season (at least according to the calendar — MPs will still be tromping through the snow to get to Parliament Hill this week), it appears that little has changed since before winter. The Liberals remain ahead of the governing Tories, who are still mired at under 30 per cent support.

Will Conservatives be able to move the dial before Parliament closes down for the summer?

Éric Grenier taps The Pulse of federal and regional politics for Huffington Post Canada readers every week. Grenier is the author of ThreeHundredEight.com, covering Canadian politics, polls and electoral projections. You can pre-order his eBook, "Tapping into the Pulse", a retrospective of polling in 2013, here

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