For the first time since a scandal around construction firm SNC-Lavalin rocked Ottawa this spring, the Liberal Party is now back in the lead, according to the Nanos’ weekly tracker, with both the Conservatives and Greens dropping slightly.
The tracker is a rolling poll that adds a sample of 250 respondents per week for four weeks. Every week, the oldest set of data is replaced with fresh numbers — so the polls released on Tuesday span the majority of June.
The Liberals sit at 34.5 per cent, up six per cent in June over May. The Tories are at 31.7 per cent, after dropping two per cent. The New Democrats added a point to hit 16.5 per cent overall and the Greens dropped slightly to 9.8 per cent.
The margin of error for the weekly polling is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, placing the Liberals just within the margin. The ruling Liberals won with about 39 per cent of the vote in Canada’s first-past-the-post system.
The biggest swing was in Ontario, where the Liberals have taken an eight point lead — 41 per cent over the Tory 33 per cent — according to Nanos.
The provincial trend was also picked up by EKOS, whose latest numbers in the province had the Liberals ahead by seven points.
New polls are expected out this week from several reliable firms, so it is unclear at this point whether there is a serious and consistent surge in Liberal numbers, as Nanos could be an outlier.
The Liberals were on top of all the major polls heading into the election year but suffered a massive drop when a Globe and Mail report revealed what is alleged to be an inappropriate overreach on the part of the prime minister’s office to secure a deferred prosecution agreement for SNC-Lavalin for political reasons.
It was expected that the trial of Mark Norman would take place in the summer and cause even more trouble for the ruling Liberals but since that collapsed in May, analysts say that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his party have more wiggle room headed into the 2019 federal election.
While this may come as welcome news for the local Liberal candidate, incumbent MP Lloyd Longfield, it does not change the status of what could be a Green insurgency in the riding.
However, local politicos still admit that toppling Longfield would be unlikely considering the 25-year history of the riding being a Liberal stronghold.