(Ottawa, September 13, 2021) – Heading into the last week of the federal election, a new large sample national public opinion poll by Counsel Public Affairs shows the election is going down to the wire.

Nationally, Erin O’Toole’s Conservative Party of Canada is effectively tied with Justin Trudeau’s Liberals (Conservative 30.2 per cent, Liberal 29.7 per cent, New Democratic Party 21.9 per cent, Green Party 4.4 per cent, Bloc Québécois 6.5 per cent, People’s Party of Canada 5.6 per cent).

These results are based on Counsel’s large-sample survey of 3,320 Canadians taken over the two days following the leaders’ debates. One of the key advantages of using such a large sample is the ability to look deep into regions for signs of change and momentum for the main federal political parties.

If this pattern holds between now and election day, Counsel’s seat projection model indicates Canada’s 44th Parliament could be an incredibly challenging one for whomever forms government. The Liberals would win 135 seats, the Conservatives 129, the New Democratic Party 40, the Bloc Quebecois 33, and the Greens would go down to one seat.

The poll also found that if the NDP hold the balance of power, their supporters would strongly prefer that Jagmeet Singh support Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to form the government – a position supported by 73 per cent of their core supporters, and 62 per cent of NDP swing voters.

“While the national numbers remain largely unchanged from our last survey August 19, our in-depth sub-regional numbers are finding that the Conservative vote is more efficient compared to 2019. While we are seeing an increase in support for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada, it is limited to a few specific regions of the country, notably Atlantic Canada,” said David Murray, Senior Consultant, Federal Advocacy and Polling at Counsel Public Affairs.

“In the last election, we saw significant movement from the NDP to the Liberals in the final three days of the writ period. While there is still some time to persuade voters, all campaigns have been focused on getting out the vote at advance polls – which means this result is starting to get locked in at the ballot box.”

Ontario: Competitive three-way race

        • Since Counsel’s last poll released on August 19, southwestern Ontario has seen NDP support drop from 31 per cent to 25 per cent, which is in line with our June 2021 poll.
        • The Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) sees sustained NDP support at 23 per cent, while the Liberals are up three points from 36 per cent to 39 per cent.
        • In Toronto, the Liberals are down 3 points from 47 per cent to 44 per cent, while the NDP have grown from 21 per cent to 23 per cent.

Quebec: Bloc Quebecois are down in all regions of Quebec

        • In the seat-rich area between Montreal and Quebec City, support for the BQ has decreased from 38 per cent to 34 per cent while Liberal, NDP and Conservative support remains stable in the region.
        • The BQ are down five points in eastern Quebec, to the benefit of the Conservatives and NDP.
        • Montreal has seen a reduction in Liberal support from 45 per cent to 41 per cent, while the NDP and Conservatives are up.

British Columbia: Competitive and election-deciding

        • With 21 seats in play, the Lower Mainland remains very competitive between the three main parties with the Liberals at 34 per cent, the Conservatives at 25 per cent, and the NDP at 31 per cent.
        • Outside of the Lower Mainland, the NDP are looking to make gains in head-to-head fights against the Conservatives given weaker Liberal support.
        • PPC gains, and where their votes came from outside of the Lower Mainland, will add to election night intrigue.

Other key findings:

        • The NDP are gaining among men, especially those aged 18-34. They are down slightly among women overall, but still hold a considerable advantage among women aged 18-34.
        • Liberal support remains consistent among all age/gender divisions, at around 30 percent.
        • The Conservatives have gained with men 55+ (42 per cent up from 39 per cent), and are up among women aged 18-34 (19 per cent from 14 per cent).
        • The Conservatives are up among unionized Canadians at the expense of both the NDP and Liberals.

Where parties can grow and with whom:

        • We define swing voters as those who do not intend to vote for a party currently, but show an openness to switching their vote to that party.
        • Liberal growth is most likely to come from BC’s Lower Mainland, Toronto, southwestern Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. 14 per cent of Canadians are Liberal swing voters, along with 20 per cent of public-sector unionized workers and 19 per cent of fathers.
        • Conservative growth is likely to come from the GTHA, BC’s Lower Mainland and Atlantic Canada. 16.5 per cent of males between the ages of 18-54 are Conservative swing voters, along with 20 per cent of fathers. Despite their growth among unionized employees thus far, 18 per cent of unionized workers, both private and public sector, are Conservative swing voters.
        • New Democrat growth is likely to come from Toronto, northeastern Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. 31 per cent of males between the ages of 18-34 and 27 per cent of males 55+ are NDP swing voters. The NDP have plenty of room to grow among unionized workers, especially private sector unionized workers (37 per cent).

Issues of importance to swing voters:

        • Top issues among Liberal swing voters are the environment and climate change (42 per cent), housing affordability (42 per cent), and inflation and cost of living (40 per cent).
        • Conservative swing voters prioritize inflation and cost of living (40 per cent), followed by the economy and jobs (33 per cent) and housing affordability (31 per cent).
        • For NDP swing voters, the top issues are inflation and cost of living (39 per cent), economy and jobs (37 per cent) and environment and climate change (36 per cent).

Impact of the debates:

Overall, Jagmeet Singh and Erin O’Toole got top marks for their performance at the leaders’ debates. According to those who either watched the debates or have seen media coverage of the debates, 39 per cent indicated that the performance of Jagmeet Singh and Erin O’Toole improved their perceptions of the leaders. 27 per cent of people said the same about Justin Trudeau.

        • O’Toole did particularly well among viewers from Manitoba, northeastern Ontario, and males between the ages of 18-34.
        • Impressions of Singh’s performance were the most positive in Toronto, BC’s Lower Mainland, and northeastern Ontario.
        • For Justin Trudeau, the most positive perceptions came from Montreal, Toronto and the GTHA.

When looking at swing voters, Erin O’Toole and Jagmeet Singh both performed exceptionally well amongst their respective swing groups.

        • 61 per cent of Conservative swing voters indicated their impression of Erin O’Toole improved because of the debate.
        • 60 per cent of NDP swing voters indicated their impression of Jagmeet Singh improved because of the debate.
        • 33 per cent of Liberal swing voters indicated their impressions of Justin Trudeau improved because of the debate.

The full summary of findings and analysis from Counsel’s poll can be found at


Counsel surveyed 3,320 people over the period of September 10th – September 11th, 2021, using the Lucid Exchange Platform, which blends a variety of partner panels. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 1.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20.