By Moira Warburton
TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and the main opposition Conservatives are in a statistical tie of voters’ preferences, according to a new opinion poll ahead of the Canadian federal election on Oct. 21.
Trudeau and the Liberals appear to have suffered minimal damage after a damning report from Canada’s ethics commissioner came out this month condemning Trudeau’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair.
The ethics watchdog found that Trudeau had acted inappropriately in pressuring his former justice minister to instruct federal prosecutors to allow construction company SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement.
An Ipsos poll published on Tuesday night found that the Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, would receive 35% of the vote if the election was held today, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party would receive 33%.
The Conservatives lost two percentage points since last month’s Ipsos poll as the Liberals gained two points, putting both within the poll’s 3.5 point margin of error.
Jagmeet Singh and the New Democratic Party (NDP), which sits to the left of the Liberals, garnered 18%, a figure unchanged from last month.
The Greens, led by Elizabeth May, would receive 9%, up two points since last month.
The People’s Party of Canada, a small right-wing party founded last September by former Conservative cabinet minister Maxime Bernier which is seen as a possible threat to the Conservatives, would receive 1% of the vote.
Ipsos noted that the Liberals and Conservatives were tied among women at 33%, with the NDP in third at 21%. The Conservatives have a five-point lead among Canadian men at 33%, while the NDP lags behind at 14%.
A separate Leger poll, published on Wednesday, found the Conservatives and Liberals in a dead heat, with both sitting at 33% support nationally. Leger’s results found 13% support for the Greens, and only 9% for the NDP.
Both Leger and Ipsos polled Canadians between Aug. 16-19, several days after the ethics commissioner’s report into Trudeau’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair was published on Aug. 14.
The results of both polls fit with an Abacus Data poll, which found that the report did not change the opinion of what happened for 79% of Canadians.
(Reporting by Moira Warburton, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)