Election Insights: Gun issue not hurting Conservatives as much as polls suggest

DM

On Monday, something weird started to happen to Canada’s conventional polls. For the first time all campaign, the Conservatives appeared to lose their ever-lengthening lead over the Liberals, and were once again plunged back into a neck-and-neck tie. A Tuesday Abacus poll had the Conservatives losing their late-August lead and descending into a perfect 32/32 tie with the Liberals. Nanos’ most recent poll, meanwhile, had the Liberals with a two-point lead. The culprit appears to be the issue of gun control. Specifically, a 2020 Liberal government ban on “assault-style” firearms — a provision that prohibited whole categories of firearms based on appearance rather than functionality. The Conservative platform explicitly promises to reverse the ban, although Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has said multiple times on the campaign trail that he would keep the Liberal ban in place — at least until his government could complete a review. Nevertheless, the Liberals have hit hard on the issue, accusing O’Toole of having a “secret deal” with the gun lobby. Gun control never cracked the top five election issues that Canadians were discussing on social media.

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