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New Polls Place Conservatives in lead

According to a Forum Research Poll released on Friday, the Conservatives have taken a lead in national polling.

The Conservative have 39% support, the Liberals 35%, the NDP 15%, with the Bloc enjoying 5% support and 4% supporting the Green Party.

This is the first lead the Conservatives have taken in national polling since Andrew Scheer succeeded Stephen Harper as permanent leader of the Conservatives.

Majority Return

If this lead holds Scheer is looking at stunning electoral success in 2019. The vote results would project to the Conservatives one seat short of a majority with 169 seats, the Liberals with 130 seats, and the NDP with 26 seats. The Bloc Quebecois would barely hold onto party status with 12 seats and Elizabeth May would remain the sole Green Party member of parliament.

These results represent a significant improvement in the fortunes of the Conservatives. David Akin of Global News questioned if the results of the poll are believable. Akin does point out that:

when Forum takes the national pulse, its record versus the actual results has been as good as its peers and, in some cases, much better.

Akin is correct in that we can never know for sure about the accuracy of any mid-election polling. That makes the discussion of polls of this nature primarily a point to examine what potentially brought the government to this point and to discuss what it means for the potential outcomes of the next election.

Potential Outlier

There are reasonable arguments to be made both that this poll is an outlier and it points to troubling times for Justin Trudeau’s government. The vast majority of polls over the last year have shown the Liberals with a solid lead. It has been 87 years since a federal party took over power in Canada with a majority government only to lose the next election.

However, in the past 15 months, we have seen historic election results with the Brexit referendum in the U.K. and the election of Donald Trump last November.

These groundbreaking outcomes have proven that we are in a time where the electorate shows little deference to history. A historical electoral outcome in 2019 is entirely plausible.

Consistent Attacks

Conservatives have been consistent in their attacks on the proposed changes to the small business tax regime. Those criticisms may finally be having an effect. On Wednesday, Chantal Hebert opined in The Star:

But for all the Conservative prodding there has so far been little evidence of the kind of cracks that once surfaced on the Conservative cabinet frontline on policy matters

The Forum Poll is certainly evidence that something is impacting the level of public support enjoyed by Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.

The attacks have been coming from the left since early in the year.

The Globe and Mail called out the Liberals for being off-base on the small business tax change as a number of Liberal MPs are questioning the wisdom of the change to small business taxes.

Conservative Concerns 

The Forum poll may signify that the Conservative concerns with the Liberals are starting to catch the attention of the public. The poll may be an outlier or the drop in Liberal fortunes could be due to concerted criticism exposing sunny ways to the harsh reality of the expectation of competent governance. Time will tell but we can only hope it is the latter.

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