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Pre-Election Polls vs. Election Results 1962-2011

Election Year
Last Pre-Campaign Poll
Election Result
% Change in Pre-Election Leader
Liberal Logo
Conservative Logo
NDP Logo
Reform Logo
BQ logo
Liberal Logo Conservative Logo NDP Logo Reform Logo BQ logo
1962
45%
38
9
n/a
n/a
37
37
14
n/a
n/a
-8%
1963
47%
32
10
n/a
n/a
42
33
12
n/a
n/a
-5%
1965
45%
29
15
n/a
n/a
41
33
18
n/a
n/a
-4%
1968
50%
29
16
n/a
n/a
45
31
17
n/a
n/a
-5%
1972
42%
32
15
n/a
n/a
39
35
18
n/a
n/a
-3%
1974
40%
33
21
n/a
n/a
43
35
16
n/a
n/a
+3%
1979
41%
41
15
n/a
n/a
40
36
18
n/a
n/a
-1%
1980
47%
27
23
n/a
n/a
44
32
20
n/a
n/a
-3%
1984
48%
39
11
n/a
n/a
28
50
19
n/a
n/a
-20%
1988
33%
43
22
n/a
n/a
32
43
20
n/a
n/a
0%
1993
33%
36
8
11
10
41
16
7
19
14
-20%
1997
44%
20
11
15
8
38
19
11
19
11
-6%
2000
48%
8
8
21
10
41
12
9
26
11
-7%
2004
39%
31
17
n/a
12
37
30
16
n/a
13
-2%
2006
35%
30
20
n/a
11
30
36
18
n/a
11
-5%
2008
28%
38
19
n/a
8
26
38
18
n/a
8
0%

Note:

Most of this information is drawn from the Toronto Star, September 1, 1984. It has been augmented with the comparable Gallup poll published on October 3, 1988. Since no pre-election Gallup poll was available in 1993, the analogous figure for that year is drawn from the ComQuest poll in the Globe and Mail, September 16, 1993. The 1997 figures are taken from a CBC Environics poll reported in the Globe and Mail, April 29, 1977. 2004 Figures were taken from a Compas poll. 2006 and 2008 figures were taken from Environics polls.

Commentary:

Of the thirteen federal elections held since 1962 inclusive, the party leading in the polls when the writs were dropped saw itself lose support during eleven of the campaigns. The only exceptions to the pattern were during the 1974 election – which featured Pierre Trudeau’s attack on Bob Stanfield’s “wage and price controls” platform – and in 1988. In this latter case – the “free trade” election – Brian Mulroney’s Conservatives did decline precipitously during the campaign, but rebounded toward the end and finished with the same support level at which they started. The greatest declines during the period were the 20% drops of John Turner in 1984 and Kim Campbell in 1993. During the 1997 election campaign, Jean Chretien’s Liberals declined 6% in popular support which was average decline for frontrunners during the entire 1962-97 period.