Conservative lead over Liberals is narrowing: Nanos

The federal Liberals are narrowing the months-old gap with the Conservative party, with a former 20-percentage point Conservative ballot advantage shrinking to a 12-point lead, according to latest tracking data from Nanos Research.

The Conservatives under Pierre Poilievre have maintained a safe lead over the Liberals since September, reaching a nearly 20-percentage point gap a month ago, with 42.8 per cent support compared to the Liberals’ 23.8 per cent.

But new Nanos ballot tracking shows the Conservatives are now closer to 38 per cent, compared to the Liberals at 26 per cent.

“What we’re seeing is a little negative pressure on the Conservative numbers,” Nanos Research founder Nik Nanos said in the latest episode of CTV News Trend Line. “We talked about this before, when the Conservatives were at like 43 (per cent), you knew that they were never going to sustain that.”

He added that while the Conservatives have been in the “driver’s seat” since late last summer, there’s now been “some movement.”

“So that said, they’ve still got a 12-point advantage,” he said. “But it’ll be interesting to see whether this continues, or whether this 10-point or 12-point advantage is the new normal.”

Ballot tracking results based on four-week rolling average, ending March 29, 2024 (Nanos Research)

Nanos said it’s “of note” that the diminishing Conservative lead has changed as support for the third-place NDP has declined in the last month. They’re now at 19 per cent, compared to 21 per cent at the beginning of March.

The Conservatives similarly had a large, 18-percentage point lead over the Liberals in mid-November.

The last time the Liberals andConservatives were within just a few percentage points of each other was at the beginning of September, when the Liberals had 31.5 per cent support, a level they have yet to reach since.

Quebec projections

At least some of the erosion on the Conservative side when it comes to the ballot may be coming from Quebec, where the numbers get quite interesting, Nanos said.

The Bloc Quebecois sits at about 10 per cent nationally, and Nanos said that converts to 39 per cent support in the province, which would be the party’s highest popularity in about four or five years.

While much of the Bloc Quebecois’ gain comes at the Liberals’ expense, some of it is being taken from the Conservatives, said Nanos.

“We have one seat in Quebec that the Conservatives could lose to the Bloc right now in the Nanos seat projections,” said Nanos.

He added another interesting factor is the Parti Quebecois doing well in the provincial polls, “so there’s probably a bit of a spillover … federally, as Quebecers become a little more, why don’t we say, nationalistic.”

Poilievre, meanwhile, has seemingly been courting the Quebec vote, holding the national Conservative policy convention in Quebec City last fall, followed by a tour of Quebec in the New Year, and lately, noticeably beginning his press conferences in French.

Despite this, Nanos said, the Conservatives are still in the low teens in Quebec.

Still, he added, “we cannot dismiss the fact that the Conservatives are leading nationally very comfortably.”

Leader popularity

The data for preferred prime minister also shows a narrowing lead for the Conservatives.

At the beginning of March, Poilievre was well ahead at 36.9 per cent compared to 19.2 per cent for Trudeau. Now, Poilievre is sitting at 33.4 per cent to Trudeau’s 21.5 per cent.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was at 17 per cent a month ago, according to Nanos Research, and is at 14.8 per cent now.

The new numbers are good news for the Liberals, after Nanos data from last month showed the lowest number of Canadians than at any other point since Trudeau became leader in 2015 are considering voting for the party.

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, April 17.


1.075 random interviews recruited by RDD (land- and cell-lines) random telephone survey of 1,075 Canadians age 18 years and over, ending March 29, 2024. The data is based on a four-week rolling average where each week the oldest group of 250 interviews is dropped and a new group of 250 is added. A random telephone survey of 1,075 Canadians is accurate 3.0 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.



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