Why are Conservative Donations Up While Popularity Falls?

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on February 9, 2021

It seems rather odd that while in many provinces all “non-essential” businesses are shut down or restricted in their operations, and many people have gone unemployed, that the federal Conservative party is breaking donation records.

The Conservatives in the fourth quarter of 2020 managed to raise $7,661,755 from 46,234 individual donations (average contribution of $165.71). Compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, ahead of the incoming 2019 federal election, the Conservatives brought in $7,343,817 with 49,260 individual donations (average contribution of $149.08), 2020 is a great improvement over 2018.

Now, why exactly are the CPC’s donations in Q4 of 2020 so good compared to Q4 of 2018?


There had just been a Conservative leadership race that wrapped up in late August, so presumably many CPC members had already expended money on their favourite candidate, and in the winter of 2020 it wasn’t a certainty there would be an election in 2021 the same way it was in 2018. 

On top of the timing of the record-breaking Q4 donations, the Conservative’s polling numbers were significantly weaker between October and December in 2020 than they were in 2018. 

Although the Liberals were polling higher in both 2018 and 2020 the Conservatives in 2018 were in more of a tug-of-war for popularity where the Liberal and Conservative numbers would fluctuate back and forth frequently, whereas in 2020 the Conservatives were stagnant in the low 30’s and high 20’s, with the NDP, Greens, and Bloc more likely to fight for support with the Liberals than the Conservatives.

What seems to be happening just from the numbers alone for the Conservative donations is that wealthier donors who can contribute thousands have moved into the CPC after Erin O’Toole became the leader, but the CPC’s membership overall is less likely to donate, which is reflected partly in the stagnant polling numbers and 3,000 fewer individual donations. 

It may be that because O’Toole is a more red-tory Conservative leader that has endeared him to Toronto elites who are typically more center-left in ideology and can easily max out their donation limits.  No doubt they were celebrating the removal of Derek Sloan and the move of the CPC to the political centre.

It is not clear where O’Toole and the Conservative Party leadership see the gap between their donations and public support paying off as although money is useful in campaigning, especially as they raised more than 1.2 million more than the Liberals, campaign ads and lawn signs don’t guarantee an alienated CPC base will be motivated to vote and volunteer for the party again. 

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

One response to “Why are Conservative Donations Up While Popularity Falls?”

  1. John Vinczencz says:

    I’m one of those who donated. I’m not wealthy thanks to in part of the liberal world crushing small business. We are all sick and tired of the lies and deception of the liberals. It’s just that simple. Conservatives for the majority win!