Election Polls 2021: Liberals and Conservatives neck and neck on election day

Shelby Thevenot
Published: September 20, 2021

Canada votes today, and both the Conservatives and the Liberals are statistically tied.

Most polls suggest the Liberals are ahead slightly, but not enough to secure a clear lead. CBC's poll tracker suggests most of the recent polls put the margin between the two parties at two percentage points or less, which is effectively a tie.

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"But how the vote breaks down regionally gives the Liberals the advantage in the seat count — just as it did back in 2019 when the Liberals lost the popular vote but won more seats than the Conservatives," writes CBC's polls analyst, Éric Grenier.

Advanced Symbolics' AI-operated poll suggests a more favourable outcome for the Liberals, whereas Angus Reid put the Conservatives at two points ahead on September 18.

The Liberals were ahead in the polls when Justin Trudeau called the election in August. Shortly after that the Conservatives pulled ahead. The two parties have been in a tie for the latter half of the campaign.

Canadians may not know the results of the election until Tuesday after mail-in ballots are counted. Elections Canada is expecting the pandemic to drive an increase in mail-in ballots this year, which have to go through additional verification processes. Vote counters have to be sure that the people who mailed in their vote did not also vote at an in-person polling station. These votes will not be counted until tomorrow.

Liberals vs Conservatives on housing, work, and racism

Immigration was not a major campaign issue. However the two parties focused on a number of major issues that will impact immigrants and Canadian-born citizens alike.

Affordable housing is among the top election issues this season. The Conservative's plan is to build one million homes over the next three years, and repurpose community land trusts for affordable housing. They would also ban foreign investors from buying homes in Canada if they are not living in or moving to the country within two years.

On housing, Liberals want to implement a rent-to-own program, for tenants and landlords to create a pathway to home ownership. In addition they would create a tax-fee first home savings account, double the first-home buyers tax credit from $5,000 to $10,000, reduce monthly mortgage costs, build 1.4 million new homes, and create a home buyers' bill of rights.

To support workers, the Conservatives promise to immediately convert the Child Care Expense deduction into a refundable tax credit that would cover up to 75 per cent of the cost of child care for lower income families. They would also double the Canada Workers Benefit of $2,800 for individual and $5,000 for families. Plus, they would double the current Apprentice Job Creation Tax Credit for three years.

The Liberals would reduce child care fees by 50 per cent, and offer $10 per day child care for children five and under, build more child care spaces, hire more early childhood educators, among other initiatives. They would also re-establish the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program to retrain people in various sectors. They would also introduce a career extension tax credit to help seniors who want to keep working.

On confronting racism, the Conservatives plan to fight online hate by criminalizing statements that encourage violence against other people or identifiable groups, and double the funding for the security infrastructure program to act against hate crimes.

The Liberals promise to create a national action plan on combatting hate by 2022, as part of a renewed anti-racism strategy. They also plan to establish a national support fund for survivors of hate-motivated crimes, which would address uninsured costs such as mental health, physiotherapy, medical equipment, and paramedical services.

But no matter who wins tonight, both parties are in favour of high levels of immigration. They promise to address the current backlogs that keep people in immigration limbo, and also to improve credential recognition for foreigners who were educated outside of Canada.

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