What You Need to Know About the Upcoming New Brunswick Election

A deeply divided electorate in New Brunswick is likely to result in the closest provincial election of 2024

Mar 20, 2024

Close elections have been a trademark of New Brunswick politics for the last decade, and all early signs for the election scheduled for October 21, 2024 suggest another tightly fought race with drama to spare.

Progressive Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs has had to deal with internal caucus revolts resulting from his controversial policy around gender identity in New Brunswick schools, but his main challenge this fall is expected to come from Liberal leader Susan Holt, campaigning in her first election as party leader.

While the most recent polls have given Holt's Liberals a modest lead in the provincial popular vote, Higgs and the PCs have a geographical advantage that could theoretically lead to them winning a majority (25+ seats) without winning the popular vote.

spark*insights recently met up with Matt DeCourcey, Head of Corporate Affairs at InterKnowlogy to delve into census data and past election data to see what the political parties will be thinking about as they gear up for a tough election.

Here is our conversation:


What you need to know about the state of the race 

  • The Liberals are dominant in the francophone regions of Northern New Brunswick and the Acadian Coast. Of the 17 seats the Liberals won in the 2020 election, 15 were won by a margin of more than 25 points. Barring a major polling setback, these seats should stay Liberal, allowing the party to focus primarily on campaigning in unheld ridings.
  • The PCs are almost equally dominant in the rural, anglophone ridings in Southern New Brunswick, and won 16 of these ridings by a margin of 25 points or more in 2020.
  • The PCs also benefit from the removal of the People's Alliance of New Brunswick as a serious threat to siphon right-wing voters away from them. The People's Alliance won 2 seats in 2020, but both elected MLAs crossed the floor in 2022 to join the PCs. 6 ridings were two-way races between the PA and the PCs in 2020, and the PCs will be favoured to hold onto them all.
  • With the PCs heavily favoured in 21 seats and the Liberals heavily favoured in 15, the map of truly competitive ridings under the current polling environment is exceptionally narrow. The election is likely to be fought fiercely in the remaining 13 seats where the outcome is almost certain to be decided.
  • These thirteen key ridings are largely located in central New Brunswick, in and around major cities, particularly in Moncton and the Fredericton area, but also including the traditionally close ridings of Miramichi Bay - Neguac and Saint John Harbour.

Coming up next in our series of provincial profiles will be our data-driven analysis of the state of play in the British Columbia and Saskatchewan elections.

About spark*insights

spark*insights is lead by Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading and most experienced public opinion researchers, along with Alex Kohut, former Senior Manager of Research & Advertising in the Office of the Prime Minister. From polling and research to analysis and guidance, we help organizations, uncover the factors driving or influencing public perception to gain valuable insights into the shape and movement of the landscape.

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