The next few years are setting up to be among the most politically tumultuous in recent memory. As the campaign period for the 2020 U.S. presidential election begins, almost two full years before Election Day, Canada, too, is about to host a major political event.
The October 2019 federal election will be the first since the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum, two events that marked a turning point in global politics.
Since the last Canadian election in 2015, concerning and anti-democratic trends have swept the world.
TL;DR A new poll shows the federal Liberals slipping in the polls. This narrowing between the Liberals and Conservatives could make the October 2019 election more contentious than first anticipated.
Canada has so far been exempt from these developments but has had to navigate the changing political landscape around it.
The current federal government, led by Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau, has steered the country through these difficult times relatively unscathed.
While sometimes provoking controversy, the government has so far enjoyed widespread support from Canadians (outside of the Prairies), who have appreciated some stability as the rest of the world seems to deteriorate.
It is for this reason that most early polls have projected that the Liberals will maintain or even grow their majority government in October.
But a recent poll casts some doubt on that inevitability. According to Le Devoir and Mainstreet Research, the federal Conservatives and Liberals now poll within two percentage points of each other nationally — 35% and 37%, respectively.
That's compared with the Liberals' four percentage point lead back in October 2018, according to CBC. In just three months, the Liberals' once solid lead has been cut in half.
This slip in popularity is sure to be alarming to the majority party and Trudeau, himself. While a Liberal victory once seemed all but assured, this trend could portend a more contentious election than first anticipated
The progression of the widely unpopular federal carbon tax has likely contributed to these new numbers.
Of course, the election is over seven months away and much can change in the intervening period. At the very least, this recent poll suggests the Trudeau Liberals are more vulnerable than it first seemed. They could actually lose in October.
With such a tight margin between the two largest federal parties, Canadians should expect their leaders to be more vocal about their positions and more openly disparaging of their opponents. Already, the prime minister has warned of a "nasty" election cycle, but has committed to more unifying rhetoric.
The Mainstreet Research poll "surveyed 7941 Canadians between January 12th and 17th 2019. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 1.1% and is accurate 19 times out of 20," according to its website.
Stay tuned for more election news.