Exit Poll Shows Conservatives Didn’t Lose Votes to Carbon Pricing

Only 8% of potential Conservative voters said carbon pricing made them less likely to vote for the party — 21% said more likely

Despite what some pundits might be saying, Erin O’Toole and the Conservative Party of Canada didn’t lose votes as a result of including carbon pricing in the party’s 2021 election climate plan. That’s according to the results of a national exit poll released today by Leger and Clean Prosperity.

Among potential Conservative voters — those who considered voting Conservative in the 2021 federal election, but ended up choosing another party — only 8% said that carbon pricing made them less likely to vote for the party. In contrast, 21% said that the Conservative Party’s carbon pricing policy made them more likely to vote Conservative.

The Conservative climate plan also didn’t drive voters to the People’s Party of Canada (PPC). None of the PPC voters in the poll mentioned climate change or carbon taxes when asked the main reason they voted PPC.

“If there’s one takeaway from our poll, it’s that rejecting carbon pricing would hurt the Conservative Party a lot more than it would help them.”

Clean Prosperity Executive Director Michael Bernstein

If anything, carbon pricing may have helped Mr. O’Toole by demonstrating that he was serious about climate change. A full 58% of voters said they can’t vote for a party without a strong climate plan, and carbon pricing signals to voters that a party’s plan is credible. Sixty-seven percent of voters said carbon pricing should be a priority in a credible climate plan.

Voters also believe the Conservative party should continue to strengthen their climate plan: 52% of potential Conservative voters think the party should do more on climate, while only 5% think it should do less.

“As the Tories do a post-mortem on their election climate platform, they should listen to what voters are telling them: build an even stronger climate plan, with a price on carbon at the core,” said Clean Prosperity Executive Director Michael Bernstein.

“If there’s one takeaway from our poll, it’s that rejecting carbon pricing would hurt the Conservative Party a lot more than it would help them.”

Leger conducted an online poll of 2,337 respondents drawn from its national research panel, from 21 to 23 September 2021. Technically, a margin of error should not be associated with a non-probability sample in a panel survey. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size would have a margin of error ±2.0%, 19 times out of 20.

Key findings from the poll

  • 58% of all voters said they can’t vote for a party without a credible climate plan.
  • 67% of voters — including the same percentage of potential Conservative voters — said that a carbon tax is a priority in a credible climate plan.
  • 21% of potential Conservative voters said that the Conservative carbon pricing policy made them more likely to vote Conservative, vs. 8% who said less likely.
  • 52% of potential Conservative voters think the party should do more on climate, vs. 5% who think it should do less.

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