New polling this week from the Angus Reid Institute tells us that the Conservative party continues to struggle to break out of its low 30s trap.
What is the low 30s trap? It refers to the party’s ongoing challenges in breaking free from a narrow band of public support that ranges from about 30 to 35 per cent. Notwithstanding the Trudeau government’s poor performance on vaccine procurement, still only 30 per cent of Canadians say they would vote for the Conservatives if an election were held today.
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These polling numbers must be disappointing: they’re a considerable distance from the level of support that the party ultimately needs to win an election. The Conservative party remains in an elusive search for roughly a million or 1.5 million more votes, mainly concentrated in Central Canada.
This persistent voter gap, which was expressed in the 2015 and 2019 election outcomes, and probably even before then, has led to renewed questions about the arguments and ideas that should animate Conservative politics. There’s a subtle yet important intraparty debate happening about what Conservatives ought to be saying and doing to reach these incremental voters and break out of the electoral trap that keeps them mired in opposition.