(Ottawa, August 19, 2021) – A new large sample national public opinion poll by Counsel Public Affairs has both good and bad news for the top four federal political parties.

Nationally, the Liberal Party of Canada still holds a slim lead over Erin O’Toole’s Conservative Party of Canada (Liberal 30.3 percent, Conservative 28.5 percent, New Democratic Party 21.7 percent, Green Party 4.8 percent, Bloc Québécois 7.8 percent, People’s Party of Canada 4.3 percent), but early campaign surprises are being revealed in the detailed regional and demographic breakdowns.

“While the Liberals maintain their overall lead, we see significant new support for the NDP by young women, and in southwestern Ontario. This momentum is a potential wild card on election day,” said David Murray, Senior Consultant, Federal Advocacy & Polling at Counsel. “For the Liberals, growth in the key regions like Rive-Sud / Rive-Nord mean they have regained the opportunity to grow their seat count in Quebec. As for the Conservatives, their vote share in Manitoba has grown, and third-party support in Alberta and BC is shrinking.”

The poll of 3,499 adult Canadians was conducted from August 16 to August 18, 2021. One of the key advantages of using such a large sample is the ability to look deep into the regions for signs of change and momentum building for the main federal political parties.

Ontario: NDP gains mean more competitive three-way races.

        • Since Counsel’s last poll in June, southwestern Ontario has seen NDP support swell from 21 percent to 31 percent.
        • The Greater Toronto Hamilton Area saw the NDP increase from 17 percent to 23 percent, while the Liberals decreased from 43 percent to 36 percent, and the Conservatives remained the same.
        • Toronto saw a slight increase in Liberal support, making growth for other parties more challenging.

Quebec: Bloc Quebecois down in Rive-Sud / Rive-Nord, but making gains in eastern Quebec.

        • In the seat-rich area between Montreal and Quebec City, support for the BQ has decreased from 48 percent to 38 percent while Liberal support grew from 27 percent to 31 percent in the same region.
        • BQ support has increased from 31 percent to 36 percent in eastern Quebec, where the Conservatives hold most of their seats.
        • Montreal has seen no movement, with the Liberals garnering 45 percent of the vote.

British Columbia: Competitive and election-deciding.

        • While the NDP sees a modest increase in intention in BC, isolating the seat-rich Lower Mainland is isolated support for the NDP has grown from 24 percent to 30 percent, while Liberal support drops from 36 percent to 32 percent. In a province known for tight three-way races, this could impact several close contests.

Other key findings:

        • Women are moving to the NDP, especially between the ages of 18-34 (37 percent up from 29 percent).
        • Liberals remain consistent among all age/gender divisions, at around 30 percent.
        • Conservatives have gained with men 55+ (39 percent up from 35 percent), and are down slightly with women 18-34 (14 percent from 17 percent).
        • NDP are up with private sector unions (22 percent from 13 percent) while Liberals are completely even across union membership status.
        • NDP has made gains with Canadians that identify as visible minorities (25 percent from 19 percent) at the expense of the Liberals (36 percent from 41 percent).

Where parties can grow and with whom:

        • Liberal growth is likely to come from BC’s Lower Mainland, Manitoba, northeastern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area. 18 percent of Canadians between the ages of 18-34 are Liberal swing voters, along with 15 percent of parents with children at home, 15 percent of those who identify as a visible minority, and 17 percent of public sector union members.
        • Conservative growth is likely to come from urban Alberta, Manitoba, southwestern Ontario and eastern Quebec. 13 percent of males between the ages of 35-54 are Conservative swing voters, along with 12 percent of parents with children at home, 11 percent of those who identify as a visible minority, and 12 percent of private sector union members.
        • New Democrat growth is likely to come from BC’s Lower Mainland, Toronto, northeastern Ontario and Atlantic Canada. 19 percent of women 55+ are NDP swing voters, along with 19 percent of parents with children at home, 17 percent of those who identify as a visible minority, and 21 percent of private sector union members.

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


Counsel surveyed 3,499 people over the period of August 16 – August 18, 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 percent, 19 times out of 20.