What was billed as a “battle for the soul of the Conservative Party” is looking increasingly like a rout. Party faithful are set to gather in Ottawa Saturday to hear from the next Conservative leader – the party’s fourth in seven years.
Heading into the leadership contest, Pierre Poilievre was viewed as the prohibitive front-runner. Read more: Poilievre popular among Conservative voters, but not all Canadians feel the same, poll finds Over the course of the seven-month campaign, Poilievre appears to have solidified that position. “Rather than a battle for the soul of the party, I think (the contest) was just a reassertion of the decision that had been made in 2002 and 2003 … (that) the way to beat the Liberal Party would be a right that was a bit more emphatic,” said Darrell Bricker, the CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs. “Basically, what’s happening in Canadian politics is that we’ve created a more articulated left and a more articulated right.” Ipsos polling for Global News suggests that, among Conservative voters, Poilievre’s support grew from 50 per cent in April to 57 per cent in September.
Jean Charest, the former Quebec premier and Progressive Conservative leader viewed as Poilievre’s chief rival in the contest, had just 27 per cent support among Conservative voters in April.
While Ipsos polling suggests Charest had narrowed the gap with Poilievre in July, with 45 per cent support, the September poll put him at 38 per cent.