'Minority government fever': Nanos finds Liberals, Conservatives in dead heat
TORONTO -- With three days left before Canadians cast their ballots, just one-tenth of a percentage point separates the Liberals and the Conservatives.
The nightly election tracking numbers from Nanos Research show the Conservatives at 31.6 per cent support and the Liberals at 31.5.
“I think I'm calling it minority government fever,” pollster Nik Nanos told CTV’s Trend Line podcast on Friday morning. “When we look at the national numbers we've got, it actually doesn't get closer than this.”
Support for the NDP is at 19 per cent, the Greens are at 9.5 per cent, Bloc Quebecois at 6.2 per cent and the People’s Party of Canada at 1.8 per cent.
When it comes to Canadians’ preferred prime minister, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is still in the lead with 31 per cent support. That’s followed by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer at 26.2 per cent and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh – who has seen his popularity surge in recent weeks -- at 19.5 per cent.
A minority government will give Singh an even higher profile and help him rebuild the NDP, even if the party wins fewer seats than expected, Nanos said.
“He'll have more profile to put a spotlight on what he believes is important, his vision for Canada and also himself in terms of further developing his personal brand.”
What a minority government would mean for voters
In an interview with CTV News’ Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme on Thursday, Singh would not say definitively whether he would trigger another election if the Conservatives formed a minority government and tried to repeal the Liberals’ carbon tax, as Scheer has vowed to do.
Singh called it “too much of a hypothetical” situation.
Asked whether Canadians who want a stable government would be alarmed by that response, Nanos said there are “always some voters that want to vote for stability, but I'm not sure they're going to turn themselves inside out and one day say that they're voting Liberal and [then] vote Conservative” -- or vice-versa.
Regardless of who forms the next government, if it’s a minority, Nanos predicts Canadians will be back at the polls within 18 months to two years, noting that the country has survived a cycle of minority governments in the past.
Among the undecided voters, “people are going to have to start to make decisions” this weekend, Nanos said.
“It'll be interesting to see whether any of the parties or any of the individual leaders make a mistake, because if they make a mistake, big trouble,” he said.
Barring any surprises before election day, Nanos said he doesn’t think many voters will have a change of heart once they’ve got a ballot in hand after such a polarizing campaign.
“When you have those emotions of … fear and anxiety and anger playing into how people vote, it's usually not wishy-washy.”
Vote splits in B.C.?
Nanos said the numbers out of British Columbia are extremely close.
“Seriously, there is only one percentage point -- one percentage point -- between the New Democrats, the Conservatives and the Liberals in the province of British Columbia,” he said.
That’s good news for Singh and the NDP since “there's probably a better chance for him to hold on to seats in British Columbia than in other parts of the country,” Nanos said.
He predicts vote splits among all of the parties in B.C., which will bring a level uncertainty on election night.
“British Columbia, I think, will be very exciting to watch because right now it is an absolute three-way dead heat,” Nanos said.
With files from Sarah Turnbull
A national random telephone survey 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 comprised of 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.