September 24th: Liberal rebound? Was there really a blackface effect?

After taking the lead yesterday for the first time this election, the Conservatives fall back to second today after the new polls from Mainstreet and Nanos showed a Liberal rebound (fairly significant one of 2 points in Nanos). The new Ipsos poll, however, prevented the Liberals from making bigger gains in the forecast.

We are of course talking of a few seats switching and it doesn't change the big picture. The current situation is still of an extremely close race between Liberals and Conservatives. If the election were tomorrow, I honestly wouldn't be able to make a call.

Before talking about the blackface incident, here are the most up to date projections, including a map. The graphics are all "live", which means the numbers are updated automatically. Just mentioning it in case you are reading this days later.

The first tab of the map shows the winner in a riding. The percentagesdisplayed (if you hover over) are the projections for, in order, the CPC, LPC, NDP, Green and Bloc. The other tabs are heat maps (i.e: where a party has its support).

The riding by riding projections:

Blackface incident

So, what was the impact of blackface? Some pollsters asked the question directly, such as Abacus or Ekos. results were mostly as expected, which is to say nobody liked to see those pictures but it also wasn't as big of a deal as what the media like to pretend. More importantly, it's not clear if this would actually influence the vote. In particular, I strongly, we can clearly see the partisanship of respondent. For instance, 76% of Liberal respondents in Ekos said it wasn't a serious incident versus only 23% among Conservatives. This is quite frankly hilarious. Let's have the same picture with Andrew Scheer in it and let's ask the same question.

Anyway, beyond those questions that won't really tell us much, the real test is in the voting intentions. So let's compare the national numbers before and after blackface.


CPC: 35.6%
LPC: 34.8%
NDP: 12.5%
Green: 9.6%
Bloc (Qc only): 20.1%

After (almost identical to my average for the projections)

CPC: 35.2%
LPC: 32.7%
NDP: 12.9%
Green: 10%
Bloc (Qc only): 22.4%

So there is an impact of around 2% down for the Liberals of Trudeau. We can find a very similar number if we only use the daily trackers (Nanos and Mainstreet) that do their polls over 3 days rolling (so adding one day of observations every day and removing the data from 4 days ago).

Nanos, if we compare the full poll before to the one after, had the Liberals down from 35.52% to 32.85%, a drop of 2.67 points. Mainstreet had the LPC going from 36.8% to 33.9%, a drop of 2.9 points.

We therefore get very similar figures no matter the method. So, all in all, yes the blackface incident seemed to definitely have had a impact. At 2-3 points, this is quite major actually, especially during a close election. And the impact seemed to have been mostly in English Canada, not in Quebec. Which would make sense as blackface and the reactions to it are really a US-centric thing, which extended to English Canada. As a Swiss guy who lived in Quebec for years, I honestly had never heard of it until recently.

Will it last? Well the daily trackers both have the Liberals up today (Nanos mroe than Mainstreet though), so we'll see.