THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s long honeymoon with Canadian voters appears to have ended. Abacus Data has released the findings of their latest polling, which includes opinions following the Prime Minister’s trip to India. The results of the poll suggest satisfaction with the direction of the country, the performance of the government and impressions of Justin Trudeau have all declined. For the first time since before he was elected, as many people have a negative view of the Prime Minister as have a positive view.
The latest Abacus survey (February 23rd to March 4th, sample of 4,023 across Canada) reveals that the Liberal Party has seen its support drop to 36%, the lowest we have measured since the election in 2015. The Conservatives are close behind with 33% followed by the NDP with 18%. Most of the slippage for the Liberals is centred in Ontario, where the Liberals and Conservatives are basically tied (39% CPC/38% LPC).
According to Bruce Anderson of Abacus, “With less than two years to the next election, these numbers show that the Liberals will need to work hard to earn a second mandate. Of the various mishaps and mistakes that often occur for any government, few have had much impact on feelings about the Prime Minister, until now. There seems little doubt that reactions to his India trip have a lot to do with these numbers – probably coupled with concerns that we have seen in our research about the cost of living relative to wage growth. The message to the government is about sticking to the knitting – being focused on the real-life economic challenges that mainstream Canadian voters experience”.
David Coletto of Abacus states, “For the first time since the 2015 election, as many Canadians have a negative impression of the Prime Minister as have a positive impression. Perceptions about this ability to represent Canada internationally are down across the board and these perceptions are strongly correlated with one’s view of Mr. Trudeau.
“We don’t have the appropriate data to confirm which aspects of his trip to India may have been most harmful to his image, but it’s likely that any combination of the images and videos of his appearances, process questions about invites to certain individuals, or the perception that he may have been snubbed by Indian leaders, could have left Canadians feeling discomforted. For some, the mocking Mr. Trudeau received from media and comedians clashed with their perceptions of him, making his actions hard to defend and in conflict with the pride they felt in Canada being noticed again on the world stage. The most powerful moments in shifting impressions are those that seem indefensible.
“This may be a momentary shift in opinions or it could be the start of a longer-term shift in attitudes. Either way, the trip had a negative impact on the PM’s image which is novel in the life of this government.”