Monday’s by-elections were a status-quo affair, with no seats changing hands. Beyond the particular winners however, the overall vote share shows an interesting trend.
According to data compiled by pollster Eric Grenier, the vote share for the Liberal Party declined by 4.7%, the NDP declined by 2.2%, while the Conservatives gained by 4.2% compared to the 2015 results in those five ridings.
As Grenier notes, the Conservative gains reverses the trend that held between 2011 and 2015, where the Conservatives lost vote share in all 15 by-elections held during that time.
While not incredibly dramatic, the poll results show that voteer dissatisfaction against Trudeau is rising. It’s useful to note that if the Liberals by-election vote share loss and Conservative vote share gain were applied across the 2015 election results, both parties would have been tied at 35%.
On Ottawa-Vanier, the Liberals were down a full 6.4%, though still won the riding with 51.2% of the vote. The Conservatives fell 3.7% in the riding.
In Alberta, the Conservatives gained 7.7% and 10.5% in Calgary Heritage and Calgary Midnapore respectively, winning those ridings in landslides.
A more divided country, and Trudeau on the decline
The by-election results point to the increasing divisions in Canada, with the government retaining some core supporters while opposition to Trudeau rises. His high initial poll numbers have fallen, and despite skipping his real job duties to go campaign heavily for Liberal candidates, his party still lost votes in the by-elections.
Clearly, the consequences of Trudeau’s incompetence, dishonesty, and mounting scandals are adding up and starting to impact Canadian public opinion. Canadians gave Justin Trudeau the benefit of the doubt, but he is rapidly squandering what trust may have existed at the beginning.
And before people say these results are irrelevant, the data shows that by-election can be a harbinger of upcoming general elections. The Liberals poll decline is not an isolated incident.
That’s why we need to look beyond the lack of seats changing hands. Under the surface, some changes are taking place in Canadian public opinion, and the trend is not good for the Trudeau government.