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O'Toole sinking in polls as older Conservative base voters drop support

Center-right parties often perform well among older voters, and the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) at the federal level is typically no exception. According to a Léger poll conducted in January 2020, the Conservatives and Liberals polled at 32 and 31 per cent, respectively, at the national level. Among voters over 55, however, the Conservatives led with 35 per cent, but were in third-place with only 23% of the vote among young voters aged 18 to 34. Take fall of last year as another example, where the CPC still came in first place in federal polling among older voters but trailed the Liberals by a handful of points because of younger demographics, who preferred the government over the opposition.

Two polls have shown this trend is in reverse. A Léger poll conducted in early now show the Liberals leading the Conservatives 40 to 31. A Mainstreet Research poll conducted later in April was even worse: the Conservatives trail the incumbent government 29% to 44%. If the latter poll is true, Trudeau's chance of getting a majority has just skyrocketed. A +15 lead, particularly among older voters, would be devastating for O'Toole and could indicate even stronger anti-Tory sentiment among younger people. If this is true, we can be seeing an election blowout - one which hasn't occurred since 1984, whereby Brian Mulroney won the largest landslide majority government (by total number of seats) in Canadian history.

Why are older Canadians suddenly keener to support Trudeau’s Liberals than in recent months? According to Maclean's: "Occam’s razor rule of parsimony wisely states, sometimes the simplest and most obvious explanation is the correct one. From the graph above, it appears that the Liberal Party started distancing the Conservatives in February, which coincided when many senior voters in Canada were getting their first jab."

Canada now has one the fastest vaccination rate in the world, and trails only the United Kingdom and the United States among G7 countries. The unusual circumstances of the pandemic may have caused older people, who are more at risk from COVID, to place extraordinary support in the current government.

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