OTTAWA—The far-right People’s Party of Canada could have more national support than the federal Green party, according to an analysis of polling data for the ongoing election campaign.
The analysis, which is dubbed The Signal and conducted for the Star by Vox Pop Labs, shows the People’s Party with 4.5 per cent support nationally, compared with 3.4 per cent for the Greens.
Based on that, the Signal forecasts for the first time that the People’s Party could win one seat in the House of Commons: the Quebec riding of Beauce, where People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier is running in a “toss up” race with the local Conservative incumbent.
But while the poll analyzer has picked up a slight bump in PPC support, it is important to note the People’s Party and Greens are within each other’s margin of error — meaning they’re currently in a “statistical tie,” said Clifton van der Linden, chief executive officer of Vox Pop Labs and a political science professor at McMaster University.
Van der Linden said the projection for the riding of Beauce is based on PPC support in the region of Quebec and Bernier’s election result in the riding in 2019, and that the national uptick in PPC support could be linked to people with anti-vaccine sentiments finding common cause with Bernier’s party, which has campaigned against COVID-19 health restrictions and defended individual’s who choose not to get their shots.
The election has also included angry crowds spouting misinformation and opposition to COVID-19 vaccines at a series of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s campaign events.
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“I think there’s a rally around the PPC by a segment of the anti-vax movement,” van der Linden said. “It might be consolidation or a coalescence of anti-vaxxers around Bernier, being the only political party leader who is antagonistic towards COVID-19 vaccinations.”
The Greens, meanwhile, “have had a decline in vote share since the election campaign was called,” he added.
After months of turmoil and division over Annamie Paul’s leadership of the party, the Greens recently announced the party was unable to field candidates in 86 of Canada’s 338 federal ridings.
Overall, The Signal continues to forecast a lead for Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives, with 35.1 per cent support, followed by the Liberals at 29.9 per cent as of Friday. Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats are in third with 19.7 per cent.
The current numbers don’t yet reflect any potential effects of Thursday night’s French-language leaders’ debate, van der Linden said. He noted that, ahead of that contest, The Signal had shown the Conservatives making “slow but steady gains” in Quebec.
The Signal looks at all publicly-available polls and runs them through an analysis that accounts for the “house bias” of each pollster, which might frequently over- or under-represent certain parties. It also considers how pollsters’ results compare with the actual results of previous federal elections.
Alex Ballingall is an Ottawa-based reporter covering federal politics for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @aballinga
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