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Why 2022 may bring a new peak of US political instability




All year, the principal question looming over the 2022 campaign has been whether Democrats could defy political gravity.

As we’re nearing the end, the answer appears to be: no, or at least not entirely.


Midterm elections have almost always been bad for the party holding the White House, and they have been especially bad when most Americans are dissatisfied with the economy and the president’s performance. Those conditions are present in force now, with polls showing that most Americans disapprove of how President Joe Biden has handled crime, the border, and especially the economy and inflation. Pessimism about the economy is pervasive. Historically such attitudes have generated big gains up and down the ballot for the party out of the White House – in this case, the Republicans.

That may be how the election ultimately turns out, especially in House and state legislative races where the individual candidates are less well-known, and many voters are likely to express dissatisfaction with the country’s direction by voting against the party in power. The president’s party, in fact, has lost House seats in all but three midterm elections since the Civil War. If there is a surprise in the House, it’s less likely to come from Democrats maintaining their majority than the Republicans exceeding the average 26 seat midterm gain for the party out of power since World War II.

But Democrats have remained unexpectedly competitive in the higher-profile Senate and gubernatorial races by focusing attention not only on what Biden has done, but what Republicans might do, with power. Many of these statewide contests have become a “double negative election”: while most voters in the key states consistently say they disapprove of Biden’s job performance, most also say they hold negative personal views about the GOP candidates, many of whom were propelled to their nomination by support from Donald Trump. If Democrats hold the Senate, or hold their own in the top governor races, a principal reason will be the large number of voters who viewed GOP nominees as unqualified, extreme (particularly in their desire to ban or restrict abortion), a threat to democracy, or all of the above. The same dynamic could also save some House Democrats in districts where Biden has fallen well below majority support.

So many races are so close – within the margin of error in public polls – that the results Tuesday could range from a true red wave to a Democratic sigh of relief. The scary precedent for Democrats is that in wave years almost all of the close races often tip in the same direction – toward the party out of power. A reason for Democratic hope is that in the final surveys, their candidates are consistently running better among all registered voters than among those the pollsters consider most “likely” to vote. That means the party could outperform expectations if even slightly more of its key constituencies (particularly young people) show up than pollsters anticipate – an outcome that groups such as the powerful union Unite Here is trying to achieve with 1,000 canvassers knocking on doors each day in Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania. “We are in the battle every place,” says Gwen Mills, the union’s secretary-treasurer. “All of [these races] are within the margin of effort.”

If Republicans take back either chamber this week, it would mark the fifth consecutive election in which a president who went into a midterm with unified control of government had it revoked by the voters. That happened to Donald Trump in 2018, Barack Obama in 2010, George W. Bush in 2006 and Bill Clinton in 1994.

No president, in fact, has successfully defended unified control of Congress through a mid-term since Jimmy Carter in 1978 – and he was insulated by the huge Congressional margins Democrats had amassed after Watergate, as well as his party’s strength in what was then still a “solid South” for Democrats. (The sole asterisk on this pattern is that Republicans under George W. Bush regained unified control of Congress in the 2002 midterm held a year after the September 11 attacks after a party switch by a Republican senator in early 2001 flipped control of the chamber to Democrats and broke the GOP’s unified hold on Congress.) A Republican takeover of either or both chambers would extend one of the defining trends of modern politics: Neither party has held the White House and Congress for more than four consecutive years since 1968. That’s a stark departure from most of the 20th century when each side, at different times, cemented lasting control for as long as 14 consecutive years.

No matter what happens Tuesday, most experts don’t anticipate either party shattering this fragile modern stand-off to establish a lasting edge. “I don’t see either side getting a durable advantage,” says Gary Jacobson, a professor of political science emeritus at the University of California at San Diego. “They are highly polarized parties, and they are very closely balanced overall.”

From that angle, Republican gains Tuesday would simply continue a long-standing tendency toward instability in our political system, with the initiative rapidly shifting back and forth between the parties. But the election could also ratchet that instability to a combustible new level. The strong tide behind Republicans virtually guarantees victories for some, maybe many, of the hundreds of candidates who have embraced Trump’s lies about the 2020 elections and signaled that they will seek to tilt the electoral rules toward the GOP or simply deny future wins by Democrats. Some of those candidates, if they lose this week, seem likely to emulate Trump after 2020 and refuse to concede, claiming fraud. (Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have each suggested as much already.) The most important legacy of this week’s voting may be the beachhead inside the electoral system it will likely establish for Republican officeholders untethered to America’s democratic traditions as we have known them.

In more conventional political calculations, Tuesday’s results seem likely to resurface debates, that had somewhat receded during the Trump years, over the structural electoral challenges Democrats face in the battle to control Congress.

The modern period of Congressional elections arguably began in 1994, when Republicans captured both the House and Senate in the backlash against Bill Clinton’s chaotic first two years. That ended an era in which Democrats had held the House majority for 40 consecutive years, and controlled the Senate, usually by wide margins, for all but six years over that long span.

Since 1994, though, Republicans have controlled Congress more often than Democrats. The GOP has held the Senate for about 16 and a half years (counting the roughly half year before the party switch cost them their majority in 2001) and Democrats for only about 11 and a half years. The imbalance in the House has been even more lopsided: Republicans have held it for 20 of these past 28 years, and Democrats for just eight. Especially ominous for Democrats is that if they lose the House on Tuesday, it would mark the second consecutive time they have surrendered their majority only four years after regaining it. (The previous case came when they were swept from the majority by the Tea Party uprising in 2010, just four years after they recaptured the chamber in 2006.) By contrast, Republicans held the House for 12 consecutive years from 1994 through 2006, and then for eight from 2010 through 2018.

What makes this disparity especially striking is that it has come even as Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the past eight presidential elections since 1992 – something no party has done since the formation of the two-party system in 1828. (No Republican candidate has reached even 51% of the presidential popular vote since 1988.) These results clearly suggest the modern Democratic electoral coalition, on a nationwide basis, is larger than the Republican coalition. And yet, Republicans, more often than not, have controlled the Congressional majorities in this era anyway.

Aggressive GOP gerrymanders partly explain that difference in the House. But that doesn’t fully explain the GOP’s House advantage and it isn’t a factor at all in the party’s Senate edge. Instead, the Republican Congressional success largely reflects geographic and demographic limitations of the Democratic coalition that almost certainly will be evident again this week.

Tuesday’s election is likely to remind Democrats again that they are competing in too few places to establish a durable majority in Congress. In the House, Republicans have established such an overwhelming hold on rural and exurban districts that Democrats must win a very high share of urban and suburban districts to reach a majority. In a good year, like 2018, Democrats can meet that test. And even now, the continued resistance of college-educated suburban voters to the Trump-era Republican Party has provided Democrats a chance to hold down their losses in white-collar districts. But ceding so many rural, exurban and small-town seats leaves Democrats too little cushion to lose some of their suburban seats – as they inevitably will when discontent over the economy, and secondarily crime, is this high even in those places.

If anything, the Democrats’ geographic challenge is even greater in the Senate. A dominant trend in modern US politics is that both parties are winning virtually all the Senate seats in states that typically support their presidential candidates. The challenge for Democrats is that, despite their repeated victories in the popular vote, slightly more states reliably lean Republican than Democrat in presidential races. Democrats already hold 39 of the 40 Senate seats in the 20 states that voted against Donald Trump both times (Susan Collins in Maine is the only exception). But 25 states voted for Trump both times, and they provide Republicans an even larger Senate contingent, with the GOP holding 47 of their 50 seats. Democrats have squeezed out their precarious 50-50 Senate majority only by capturing eight of the ten seats in the five states that flipped from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020 (Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia).

This geography is what makes this week’s Senate elections so crucial to Democrats. This year’s key races are occurring almost entirely in states that Biden won, albeit mostly narrowly, with Democrats defending seats in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado and Washington, and targeting Republican-held seats in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. (With longer odds, Democrats have also mounted serious challenges to Republicans in Ohio and North Carolina, two states that twice voted for Trump.) Given that map, Democratic strategists recognize it’s critical for the party to expand, or at least maintain, its Senate margin now.

After this year, the Senate terrain will rapidly become more foreboding for Democrats. In 2024, they will be defending all three of the seats they hold in the two-time Trump states (Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Joe Manchin in West Virginia and Jon Tester in Montana), as well as seats in half a dozen other swing states that could go either way in a presidential contest (including Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.) If most of the toss up Senate races fall to the Republicans on Tuesday, those gains, combined with the 2024 map, could put the GOP in position to dominate the upper chamber throughout this decade. “If Republicans take the Senate, I don’t see in our immediate lifetime how Democrats are going to take back” the majority, says Doug Sosnik, a senior White House political adviser to Bill Clinton.

Much of the Democrats’ Senate problem is rooted in the constitutional provision that provides two Senate seats to every state. That magnifies the influence of sparsely populated, rural and strongly Republican interior states. There’s no political repositioning that is likely to provide Democrats a realistic chance any time soon to win Senate seats in Wyoming and Idaho or North and South Dakota.

But many Democratic strategists argue that the party must expand its map in the Senate by finding ways to attract more non-college and non-urban voters, especially with white people, but across racial lines, in at least a few more states. That list of potential targets includes places like Ohio, Iowa and Florida where Democrats competed much more effectively as recently as under President Barack Obama. Rebuilding the party’s competitiveness in those states could take years and likely require a significant change in its positioning and message.

Jim Kessler, executive vice president for policy at the centrist Democratic group Third Way, points out that while the party’s modern coalition of young people, racial minorities and college-educated whites has allowed it to effectively contest the presidency, it doesn’t represent a winning majority in enough states to reliably hold the Senate. “When you look at the electoral college, college educated [and diverse] America is close to enough to elect you president,” Kessler says. “But it is not close to getting you a majority in the Senate.”

Tuesday’s election could also demonstrate the reemergence of a second demographic challenge for Democrats in the battle for Congress, what analysts in the past have called the “boom and bust” nature of their electoral coalition. The biggest remaining uncertainty for Tuesday’s election may be how many young people, who polls show continue to back Democrats in large proportions, turn out. Usually, turnout falls more for young people than for older generations between presidential and midterm elections (hence the “boom and bust” risk). But in 2018, robust youth turnout helped power the Democratic gains.

Large-scale polls focused particularly on young adults (such as the Harvard Institute of Politics survey) have found them expressing levels of interest comparable to 2018. Yet their participation in early voting has been lackluster, and several recent national surveys (such as CNN’s poll last week) found their engagement lagging. If turnout among young adults disappoints on Tuesday, it will strengthen those Democrats who argue the party must prioritize regaining ground among middle-income, middle-aged voters, especially those without college degrees. (That includes non-college Latinos, particularly men, who may continue to drift away from Democrats at least somewhat this week.) The sharpest post-election debates among Democrats are likely to revolve around whether the party must embrace more conservative approaches on crime and immigration, two issues Republicans wielded to powerful effect, in order to earn a second look from more non-college educated voters across racial lines.

History says that a bad result on Tuesday need not panic Democrats about 2024 (though, in practice, it probably will). Midterms have not had much value forecasting the result of the presidential election two years later. Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush had relatively good first-term midterms and then lost their reelection races. The president (or his party) did lose the White House two years after bad midterms in 1958, 1966, 1974 and 2018. But Harry Truman in 1948, Ronald Reagan in 1984, Bill Clinton in 1996 and Barack Obama in 2012 all won reelection, usually convincingly, two years after stinging midterm losses. Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University political scientist who has built models that project presidential outcomes based on economic and public opinion data, says the results of the midterm add literally no predictive value to the forecasts.

The 2024 presidential election will begin almost immediately after Tuesday – probably before all the last votes are counted. Though midterm gains are the rule for the party out of power, Trump is likely to interpret GOP victories as a clarion call for his return; aides say he could announce a 2024 candidacy as soon as this month. White House officials believe Biden is certain to run if Trump does because he views the former president as an existential threat to American democracy. On Election Day 2024, the combined age of these two men will be nearly 160 years. Polls show that one of the few areas of broad public agreement is that most Americans do not want either to run again.

Yet, long before any newly elected officials take office, or any gavels in Congress change hands, the first consequence of Tuesday’s bitterly fought election may be to place America more firmly on the path toward exactly such a rematch. And this time, such a confrontation could occur with the electoral machinery in decisive states under control of Trump allies who share his willingness to tilt or even subvert the system. Whatever storms rattle the political system this week, the real tempest won’t arrive until 2024 – and it may bring the greatest strain on the nation’s fundamental cohesion since the Civil War.

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Canada human-rights activist still detained in China; talks frozen – CTV News




A leader of the fight to secure freedom for a Canadian human-rights activist detained in China for 17 years is taking the latest diplomatic deep-freeze between Ottawa and Beijing in stride.

Wilf Ruland, a volunteer fieldworker with Amnesty International Canada, says a sustained, long-term campaign aims to keep Huseyin Celil’s case in the public eye and in the minds of Canadian and Chinese authorities.


“Throughout the history of this case, there’s been geopolitical ups and downs, but we figure our job is just to keep Canadian government officials’ attention focused on the case and keep them working on it,” Ruland said in an interview.

Celil, originally from China, fled the country in 2001 after being jailed for supporting the religious and political rights of the Uyghur minority.

Celil, his wife Kamila Telendibaeva and their son settled in Canada that year. They had two more boys and Celil became a Canadian in 2005. The following year, the family went to Uzbekistan to visit Telendibaeva’s family while she was expecting a fourth child.

According to Amnesty International, the police in China discovered Celil was in Uzbekistan and asked the Uzbek police to arrest him. He was sent to China, where authorities accused him of offences related to his support of Uyghur rights.

“He was not given access to a lawyer, his family or Canadian officials. The Chinese authorities threatened and tortured him and forced him to sign a confession,” Amnesty says.

“They refused to recognize Huseyin’s status as a Canadian citizen, and they did not allow Canadian officials to attend his trial. The trial was not conducted fairly, and he was sentenced to life in prison in China, where he remains today.”

The Canadian government has expressed concern about the repression of Uyghurs and other minorities by Chinese authorities on the basis of their religion and ethnicity, under the pretext of countering terrorism and religious extremism.

Until at least late 2016, Celil was being held in Xinjiang Number One Prison in Urumqi, capital of China’s Xinjiang region, Ruland said.

His mother and sister, who live in China, would occasionally make a train journey to visit him and then relay word to his wife in Burlington, Ont., Ruland said. But she has not heard anything since late 2016.

In September 2021, Telendibaeva said while she was happy to see high-profile Canadian detainees Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig freed from Chinese jails, she was frustrated that Ottawa could not also liberate her husband.

A recent petition from concerned Canadians, presented to the House of Commons by Conservative MP Garnett Genuis, called on Ottawa to appoint a special envoy to work on securing Celil’s release. It also urged the government to seek the assistance of the United States and other allies toward that goal.

In a statement, the government said it continues to be deeply concerned with his detention.

“Canada has repeatedly raised Mr. Celil’s case with the government of China at the highest levels, and will continue to do so,” the response said.

“While privacy considerations prevent the sharing of details, the government of Canada remains actively engaged in his case.”

Ottawa said it would also continue to seek access to Celil to “verify his well-being.”

Accusations of interference by China in Canadian political affairs have further tested already strained relations between the countries, prompting diplomatic expulsions by both sides.

Ruland said diplomatic friction is beyond Amnesty’s control, adding that the resolution of Celil’s case could even be a bridge to re-establishing a better rapport with China.

Ruland, who recently began a campaign to petition the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa with postcards on behalf of Celil, said public support and attention are crucial.

“It’s the lifeblood of Amnesty International’s work,” he said. “It’s the public support that makes all the difference in getting governments to act.”


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2023.

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Federal Politics: As inflation fight inflicts pain on the nation, one-third of 2021 Liberals look elsewhere for relief – Angus Reid Institute



Conservatives hold eight-point advantage in vote intention (37 CPC, 29 Liberal, 20 NDP)

June 8, 2023 – The Bank of Canada raised its touchstone interest rate 25 basis points to 4.75 per cent this week, the first such hike since January, returning the cost of borrowing to a level not seen in more than 20 years.

The latest increase, made in an ongoing attempt to curb persistent inflation, is bad news for both mortgage holders and renters, and new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute also reveals the amount of damage it has been doing to the governing Liberals politically.


This latest public opinion survey finds overwhelming concern among Canadians over the cost of living now correlating with a loss of voter support for the ruling party, particularly among its own support-base. Past Liberal voters appear to be moving elsewhere in search of relief.

The central bank’s rate hike has been called a “a disaster for many Canadians” by Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, as he points the finger at government spending and budget deficits for causing the inflation that initiated the BoC’s response. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland countered that inflation is global in nature, and highlighted the strength of the Canadian economy overall.

Poilievre’s economic message appears to be resonating. Currently, 37 per cent of leaning and decided voters say they would vote for the Conservative candidate in their riding if an election were held, compared to 29 per cent support for the Liberals and 20 per cent for the NDP. Among those faring the worst financially – those “Struggling” on ARI’s Economic Stress Index – half (51%) would vote for the CPC while approximately one-third as many would vote for the Liberals (18%) or NDP (16%).

These economic concerns appear to be driving a dissatisfaction with the incumbent Liberals among its own party supporters. Among those who supported the LPC in 2021 41 per cent of the Struggling would not commit to supporting the party again, alongside 44 per cent of the Uncomfortable.

The overall trend for the Liberals is likely disconcerting to party strategists. In late 2021, after the party had succeeded in winning a minority government, 80 per cent of Liberal voters said they would support the party again if an election were held. This dropped to 72 per cent by the end of 2022 and has dropped to 67 per cent overall this month. Perhaps softening this blow, however, is the fact that the largest portion of these former Liberal supporters say they would vote for the NDP (15%), who have been supporting the minority Liberal government with a confidence-and-supply agreement since the last election.

Meantime, the opposition Conservatives retain much of their 2021 support, with 84 per cent of voters voicing an intention to return to the fold. The party’s overall vote intention proportion is largely unchanged over the past 16 months, hovering between 35 and 37 per cent nationally.

More Key Findings:

  • Cost of living is the top issue chosen by 63 per cent of Canadians. Next is health care, chosen by almost half (46%), followed by housing affordability (30%) and climate change (25%).
  • Ontario remains competitive between the Liberals and Conservatives. Two-in-five Ontarians (38%) say they would support the CPC if an election were held, while 35 per cent would vote for the Liberals.
  • Vancouver and Winnipeg are dead heats, with a near exact number of residents in both saying they would support the CPC, Liberals, and NDP in an election (all receive between 30 and 32 per cent vote intention).
  • The Liberals maintain an advantage in the Toronto core (42% LPC, 23% CPC), but are statistically tied with the opposition CPC in the surrounding suburban areas of the 905 (41% LPC, 39% CPC).

About ARI

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.

Note: Because its small population precludes drawing discrete samples over multiple waves, data on Prince Edward Island is not released.


Part One: Top issues

Part Two: Economic stress and vote intention

  • Liberal vote retention slides

Part Three: Vote intention

  • Vote by Economic Stress Index

  • Vote by region

  • Vote by age and gender

Part One: Top issues

There are three weeks left of sittings in the House of Commons until summer recess and the Liberal government has yet to pass its budget bill. The Conservative opposition, led by Pierre Poilievre, is threatening to block the budget by introducing hundreds of amendments and filibustering unless the Liberal government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets its demands – halting increases to the carbon tax and setting out a plan to balance the budget.

Poilievre says Canadians “cannot afford” any additional increases to the carbon tax, which will affect the prices of gas, heat and groceries. He also says inflation, a persistent issue since the relaxation of public health restrictions beginning in early 2022, is being driven by government spending and debt. The Bank of Canada argues inflation is being caused by spikes in commodity prices, a surge in demand, impaired supply chains, and labour shortages as it hiked its key policy rate again this week.

Related: Economic Outlook: Burdened by debt and rising housing costs, three-in-ten Canadians ‘struggling’ to get by

Amid these ongoing fiscal challenges, a majority (63%) of Canadians believe the rising cost of living to be one of the top issues facing the country. This issue far outpaces health care (46%), housing affordability (30%) and the environment (25%) as a top concern.

This holds true across the country, as the rising cost of living is the top issue selected in every province. From B.C. to Newfoundland and Labrador, at least three-in-five and as many as three-quarters believe inflation is one of the country’s top challenges:

Cost of living is selected as the top issue facing the country by men and women of all ages – except women over the age of 54. Men, meanwhile, are more likely to be preoccupied with government spending and the deficit (see detailed tables for the full list of issues).

At least half of all age groups believe cost of living is a top issue facing the country. There is more disagreement on the issues of health care – which older Canadians are more likely to choose – and housing affordability – selected more commonly by younger Canadians. On the issue of government spending, Canadians over the age of 65 are twice as likely to care about it (17%) than those aged 18 to 24 (8%, see detailed tables).

In January 2022, the Angus Reid Institute created the Economic Stress Index to measure the financial pressure facing Canadians. It assesses factors such as Canadians’ household costs, debt, and self-financial appraisals. The index finds three-in-ten (30%) Canadians to be “Struggling” financially, one-quarter (23%) “Uncomfortable”, one-quarter (26%) “Comfortable”, and one-in-five (21%) “Thriving” (see detailed tables).

For those who are Struggling or Uncomfortable in terms of their economic stress level, cost of living rises to even greater prominence, chosen by seven-in-ten among each group. Health care and climate change are both higher priorities for those who are Thriving compared to other groups:

Part Two: Economic stress and vote intention

Liberal vote retention slides

To fight inflation, the Bank of Canada began a series of interest rate hikes beginning in March 2022. While these increases in the cost of borrowing have had the desired effect of slowing inflation – more or less – it has also put pressure on mortgage holders and many other Canadians holding consumer debt. Renters, too, have felt the pressure, as their landlords have passed on their own increased borrowing costs.

Related: Economic Outlook: Burdened by debt and rising housing costs, three-in-ten Canadians ‘struggling’ to get by

After taking a pause for two rate cycles, the Bank of Canada hiked its key policy rate again this week, further increasing the cost of borrowing as the bank continues to attempt to bring inflation in line with its two per cent target. It also signalled that more rate hikes may be coming, a worrying sign for Canadians already struggling with their mortgage payments, credit card balances and other consumer debts.

These financial pressures come into play when it comes to Canadians assessments of the current federal government, and whether or not past supporters of the governing Liberal party would vote for them again now.

Past Liberal voters are much more likely to endorse the party again if they are in a better financial situation. Three-quarters (74%) of those who voted Liberal in 2021 and are Thriving financially say they would vote again for the Liberals. This falls to below three-in-five among the Struggling (59%) and Uncomfortable (56%).

Overall, two-thirds (67%) of those who voted Liberal in 2021 say they would vote Liberal again if there were an election today. Of the one-third who say they would place their vote elsewhere, half (15%) say they would vote NDP, while equal proportions would vote CPC (5%) or another party (6%). Approaching one-in-ten (7%) say they are undecided how they would vote:

Since the 2021 federal election, Liberal voter retention has been steadily declining. While the NDP have benefitted the most from this movement away from the governing party, there is an increase in the number of past Liberal voters who say they would vote CPC or another party, and among those who aren’t sure:

Compared to the Liberals, the CPC boast a significant advantage in vote retention. Among those who supported the CPC in 2021, 84 per cent say they would vote for the party again. The New Democrats would retain 70 per cent support, while the Bloc Québécois retention rate is closer to the CPC level at 80 per cent.

Part Three: Vote intention

Since Poilievre has taken over the Conservative party leadership, the CPC have held a lead in vote intent. Two-in-five (37%) Canadians say they would vote Conservative if an election were held today. Three-in-ten (29%) say they would vote Liberal, while one-in-five (20%) would vote NDP. These figures have been consistent since September last year:

Vote by Economic Stress Index

Canada’s economic picture may be playing a significant factor as Canadians weigh where they would place their vote in a potential election. Poilievre’s messaging around inflation, and warnings around the effects of further carbon tax increases, appear to be resonating with Canadians who are under financial pressure. Half (51%) of the Struggling by the Economic Stress Index say they would CPC if an election were held. The CPC hold a lead, too, among those who are Uncomfortable. Meanwhile, a plurality of the Comfortable and the Thriving would vote for the governing Liberal party:

Vote by region

In three key battleground provinces, the Liberals trail in current vote intention. The CPC leads the NDP by 10 points in B.C., while holding a slight edge over the Liberals in Ontario. The Bloc Québécois are the preferred party of a plurality of Quebecers.

Elsewhere, the CPC hold the lead in all three prairie provinces, while the Liberals are tied for the lead in vote intention, or hold it outright, in three of the Atlantic provinces:

Canada’s major metropolitan centres are home to some astonishingly close races. Consider that in both Metro Vancouver and Winnipeg – within ARI’s boundary definitions, home to 22 federal ridings – almost exactly three-in-ten residents in each say they would vote for the CPC, Liberals or NDP. The Liberals maintain a key advantage in Toronto core, while tied with the CPC in the surrounding suburban 905 region:

Vote by age and gender

Men prefer the Conservatives by wide margins. Women aged 35 and older are the most likely to say they would vote Liberal if an election were held today. Two-in-five women aged 18 to 34 say they would vote NDP, the only demographic where the NDP hold a lead in vote intention:

Survey Methodology:

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from May 30 – June 3, 2023, among a representative randomized sample of 3,885 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

For detailed results by the Economic Stress Index, click here.

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here

To read the questionnaire in English and French, click here.

Image – Pierre Poilievre/Facebook; Adam Scotti/PMO


Shachi Kurl, President: 604.908.1693 @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821

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Majority of Canadians want public inquiry into Chinese state interference in this country’s politics



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The Canada flag flies atop the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 5.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

A majority of Canadians would like the Liberal government to call a public inquiry into Chinese state meddling in this country’s democracy and respond more forcefully to alleged election interference by Beijing, according to a poll.

A Nanos Research survey, commissioned by The Globe and Mail and CTV News, also found 72 per cent of Canadians polled say they would support a foreign-agent registry that requires people to disclose their work on behalf of a foreign state. Another 19 per cent said they would somewhat support such a registry.

The poll found significant backing for punishing those conducting foreign interference in Canada: 86 per cent say criminal charges and jail time is the most appropriate punishment for anyone found guilty of foreign interference.

As it stands, Canada does not have specific Criminal Code offences for foreign interference, although Ottawa has promised to table legislation later this year to set up a foreign-agent registry for people who are acting on behalf of a foreign power, disbursing its payoffs or lobbying on its behalf.


Pollster Nik Nanos says his polling indicates the government has significant leeway to enact measures to combat foreign interference.

“The survey suggests there’s a lot of latitude for pretty, pretty, pretty serious measures,” he said.

Asked to gauge the threat to Canadian democracy from foreign interference, nearly six in 10 polled say it is a major threat (56 per cent), while one-third view it as a minor threat (33 per cent). Only 4 per cent say it is not a threat.

Nanos conducted a telephone and online random survey of 1,096 Canadians between May 31 to June 3. The margin of error was three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The poll asked whether those surveyed believe Canada should have a formal public inquiry, headed by a judge with full subpoena powers, into foreign interference, or continue with public hearings led by former governor-general David Johnston.

Nanos found 59 per cent of respondents supported a formal public inquiry as the appropriate approach to tackling foreign interference in Canada. Another 25 per cent said they support or somewhat support public hearings planned by Mr. Johnston, which will hear from Canadians targeted by China, as well as national-security experts, this summer. In this role, Mr. Johnston does not have subpoena powers or the right to cross-examine witnesses under oath.

However, the survey found that Canadians are more likely to say Mr. Johnston is credible on foreign interference than either Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre or NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. The poll found 38 per cent of those surveyed said they felt Mr. Johnston was credible on the issue, while 30 per cent did not think he was.

Forty-six per cent said Mr. Trudeau was not credible on foreign interference in elections, while 26 per cent said he was. With Mr. Poilievre, 48 per cent of Canadians did not feel he was credible, while 26 per cent said he was. Canadians surveyed were split on Mr. Singh, with 32 per cent saying he was credible and 31 per cent saying he wasn’t.

A slight majority of those surveyed (54 per cent) said it was not acceptable or somewhat not acceptable for Canadian civil servants to ”publicly leak or give out sensitive security information on foreign interference to news organizations,” while 40 per cent said it was acceptable or somewhat acceptable.

Mr. Trudeau has come under increasing pressure from the opposition to remove former Mr. Johnston as the government’s special rapporteur on foreign interference and set up a public inquiry instead.



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