The Conservatives are losing ground to the NDP among key groups of
voters — such as seniors and new Canadians — an exclusive new survey
conducted by Nanos Research for CBC News Network's Power & Politics
The national online survey was conducted in the wake of
the government's controversial omnibus budget implementation bill, which
included changes to Old Age Security, Employment Insurance, immigration
rules, environmental assessments and other policies.
Respondents were asked which federal party is most sensitive to the needs of different constituencies.
"We wanted to explore which party Canadians thought was
the most sensitive to a wide array of groups, ranging from seniors to
students to small businesses to new Canadians," Nik Nanos of Nanos
Research told Power & Politics host Evan Solomon.
"This gives us an indicator of who has the upper
political hand with a lot of these critical groups that can make a
significant difference at the ballot box," Nanos said.
The number that jumps out immediately involves seniors.
The survey suggests 28.4 per cent of Canadians feel the
NDP is the party most sensitive to seniors' needs, compared to 17.4 per
cent for the Conservatives and 12.1 per cent for the Liberals. Just over
14 per cent said "none" of the parties, while 24.3 per cent were
New Democrats have a significant advantage over the Conservatives,"
said Nanos. "This is very important because when we think of the winning
Conservative coalition, the coalition that put them into majority
territory, a bedrock of that coalion has been seniors."
"The focus on the (Old Age Security) changes that the
Conservative government is implementing is kind of unravelling and
making seniors very concerned about how the government runs and deals
with seniors," Nanos said.
Nanos said the results suggest the Conservatives need to
have some kind of strategy to re-engage this group, which tends to have
high voter-turnout and engagement. But the 24 per cent of respondents
who are "unsure" show there is room for the Conservatives to roll out
policies to re-engage this critical segment of voters, Nanos added.
The NDP also had a wide margin in the lead when it came
to students, a traditional area of support for the party. New Democrats
were seen as the most sensitive to students' needs by 25 per cent of
respondents, compared to 13.6 per cent for the Conservatives and 13.1
per cent for the Liberals. Fourteen per cent chose "none," while 27 per
cent were unsure.
While voter turnout among young people has lagged other
age groups, Nanos noted that may be changing in provinces such as
Quebec, where student-led protests may be signalling a greater
engagement. The survey suggests that could be an advantage for NDP
Leader Tom Mulcair.
The numbers for new Canadians were much closer,
essentially a three-way battle between the NDP at 19.9 per cent, the
Conservatives at 17.9 and the Liberals at 17.1 per cent. More then 31
per cent said they were unsure which party was most sensitive to the
needs of new Canadians, while 9.7 per cent said none of the parties.
"The good news for the Liberals: at least they are
competitive with the Conservatives and New Democrats on this measure,
but for the Conservatives this has to be a little disappointing. It's
been a priority group for them, they've made key in-roads. In certain
select ridings - the Mississaugas, the Bramptons - new Canadians have
made the Conservatives and put them over the top because of all that
legwork that (Immigration Minister) Jason Kenney has done."
The national online survey of 1,000 Canadians was
conducted June 11 to 12. It is not a scientifically random sample and
therefore a margin of error can't be stated.