TORONTO — New polling suggests the Liberals lost support in the suburban areas surrounding Toronto in the wake of Justin Trudeau’s blackface and brownface controversy.
The latest polling from Nanos Survey Research, commissioned by CTV News and The Globe and Mail, suggests Trudeau’s popularity in the 905 area code of the Greater Toronto Area fell by 7.3 percentage points in the past week. The 905 region represents the municipalities surrounding the City of Toronto.
“The Liberals don’t have the same type of lead that they enjoyed before and it’s basically a horse race in the 905 and it’s up for grabs,” pollster Nik Nanos told CTV’s Power Play on Thursday.
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The cellphone and landline survey asked decided voters: “If a federal election were held today, could you please rank your top two current local voting preferences?” and support for the Liberals in the 905 region fell from 47.3 per cent last week to just 40 per cent this week. Support for the Conservatives, on the other hand, grew from 30.8 per cent of 39 per cent.
Support for the NDP, and the People’s Party of Canada also fell from last week, though just a couple percentage points. Support for the Green Party rose from 5.8 per cent to 8.1 per cent.
Nanos called the 905 region “critical to winning the election” because of how tight the ridings in the area have become.
“The 905 is the region to watch, those ridings are much more competitive than they have been in the past for the Conservatives and that’s a key battleground that will likely be a bellwether as to who can win the next federal election,” he said.
In the City of Toronto, the Liberals lost 4.1 percentage points off the support they had last week, but still hold a commanding lead over the other parties. They have 51.6 per cent of voters naming them as their top choice, as compared to 21.5 per cent for the Conservatives and 18.4 per cent for the NDP.
When it comes to the rest of Ontario, the Conservatives held a 0.3 percentage point lead in Week 1 of the federal election campaign and that lead grew to 1.8 percentage points in Week 2. Notably, the NDP lost 5.5 percentage points of the support they had in the non-GTA parts of Ontario Week 1.
Given the Liberals did not lose significant ground in Toronto and outside the 905, Nanos suggested 905 voters might be more concerned by the blackface scandal than the rest of the province.
“Perhaps some 905 voters are scratching their heads relating to Justin Trudeau and what they saw and right now are looking for alternatives,” he said.
This report is comprised of a comparison of week 1 and week 2 of the campaign for voters in the province of Ontario for the period ending September 24, 2019. The margin of error for a survey of 758 or 747 respondents is ±3.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error for smaller samples will be wider. The geographic sub samples within Ontario were geographically weighted to their true population proportion.