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politics briefing newsletter

Hello. We are back after the long weekend and there’s just one week left until election day. We start today’s newsletter with a briefing note from Nik Nanos, chief data scientist of Nanos Research, which conducts daily polling for The Globe and Mail and CTV.

After a campaign of gridlock and bickering by the front-runners, something happened last week. That something was positive movement for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his party. The debates last week did result in a new dynamic. Both front-runners cycled down to the low 30s in ballot support, effectively putting a majority out of reach (currently) while NDP support rose. The Singh surge was likely a combination of a number of factors.

First, we reported ahead of the big debates that the Singh brand showed a positive lift of about 14 points throughout the campaign. Good performances in the big English and French debates have moved the needle for team Orange and Mr. Singh in the ballot numbers and as preferred PM. That said – the NDP is still solidly trailing the two front-runners.

Second, in addition to a solid performance this campaign, Mr. Singh and the NDP may have captured the “none of the above” sentiment in election 2019. Roll those up and a more competitive NDP is problematic for the Liberals by splitting the progressive vote and may help make Conservative support more efficient at generating seats.

Under normal circumstances, the other parties would attack the party whose fortunes are on the rise. This election is an oddity in one respect. It’s hard to see Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau attack Mr. Singh because he needs those New Democrat votes. Likewise, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer won’t attack Mr. Singh because the NDP rise helps Conservative vote splits.

Next possible trend to watch will be support for the Conservatives and if it trends ahead of the Liberals. If the front-runners continue to be mired in the low 30s come election day, supporters of the New Democrats and Greens will have licence to stay put with their preferences not worried about the calculus of strategic voting.

Lacking strong enthusiasm for both front-running campaigns, perhaps this election might go down as the one where the “none of the above” was the winner.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


Note: Nanos Research did not conduct polling on Thanksgiving Monday (Oct. 14). Here is the most recent data available, collected from Oct. 11 to 13.

  • Liberals: 32 per cent
  • Conservatives: 32 per cent
  • NDP: 19 per cent
  • Green: 9 per cent
  • Bloc Québécois: 6 per cent
  • People’s Party: 1 per cent

Analysis from Nik Nanos: “Front-runners gripped in a tie for both ballot support and for preferred PM. Election 2019 impasse between Liberals and Conservatives continues.”

The survey was conducted by Nanos Research and was sponsored by The Globe and Mail and CTV. 1,200 Canadians were surveyed between Oct. 11 and 13, 2019. The margin of error is 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Respondents were asked: “If a federal election were held today, could you please rank your top two current local voting preferences?” A report on the results, questions and methodology for this and all surveys can be found at


Today on the campaign trail: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh are arguing over who is the most “progressive” option for voters this time. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer announced that, if elected, one of his first orders of business would be to call a first-ministers’ meeting to address interprovincial trade barriers.

Mr. Singh opened the door to forming a coalition government if no party wins a majority in Parliament next week, although he subsequently closed the door a bit. Mr. Trudeau would not comment when asked whether, for him, the door was still ajar.

The Conservatives are standing by their campaign ads that falsely accuse the Liberals of promising to legalize all hard drugs. Mr. Trudeau has called the claim a “lie.”

Advance voting was on all weekend, and preliminary numbers from Elections Canada show another huge jump in the number of Canadians voting before election day.

A non-partisan group called Future Majority is trying to get more young Canadians to the polls, after the demographic turned out in larger numbers last time around.

From Peter MacKay to Scott Brison, a number of political veterans in the Maritimes who bowed out of running in 2019 are working to get their successors elected.

China’s foreign ministry says it’s not happy about comments that former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper made in Taiwan.

A week after clearing the way for the Turkish military to invade northeastern Syria, the U.S. Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Turkey that do not appear to be stopping the military assault.

And the CBC is suing the Conservative Party for alleged copyright infringement. The lawsuit was filed last week with the names of two political journalists – including The National co-anchor Rosemary Barton – listed as applicants, but the CBC has now removed them from the suit.

Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberals and the energy sector: “It’s no surprise that the Liberals have mostly given up on winning seats in Alberta. But the party’s decision to single out an industry that is inextricably linked with the identity of Canada’s main oil-producing province has the potential to be poisonous to postelection national unity.”

Globe and Mail editorial board on the Conservative platform: “Scaling back infrastructure spending could have consequences, but they won’t be immediate, and they may be hard for voters to spot. Compared to cutting social programs, or transfers to people or provinces, it’s a path of least resistance.”

Daphne Bramham (Vancouver Sun) on Andrew Scheer: “If Scheer is right and voters’ final decision rests on which leader they trust most, many may conclude that the Conservatives’ own slogan applies as much to Scheer as it does to Trudeau. He’s just not as advertised.”

Allison Hanes (Montreal Gazette) on the Quebec government’s climate policies: “The last year has been a rollercoaster ride between the Premier showing slight openness to getting more serious about climate change and sticking stubbornly to policies or plans that would do the opposite.”

Michael Coren (The Globe and Mail) on who should Christians vote for? “Putting the erratic and often bizarre policies of the People’s Party of Canada aside, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has been the least enthusiastic about immigration, and his promise to cut foreign aid by 25 per cent seems to go against that Gospel grain. Meanwhile, when it comes to preserving the planet – the protection of creation – the Liberals may have moved somewhat in the right direction, but there is a very long way to travel. The NDP and the Greens go to the top of the theology class on this subject. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, in fact, once considered becoming an Anglican priest and has even been criticized for wearing a cross around her neck.”

Michael Geist (The Globe and Mail) on the CBC lawsuit: “The decision to file the lawsuit just over a week before the Oct. 21 election is similarly inexplicable. The Conservative Party may have had a strong legal case, but it nevertheless took down the videos containing the clips before the lawsuit was even launched. The CBC could easily have waited until after the election to seek an injunction blocking further use of its content. Instead, by filing in the middle of the campaign, it placed its reputation and that of its journalists at risk.”

Just one week left of the campaign...

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