Weeks of questions over potential foreign interference in Canadian elections – and the federal government’s handling of the issue – have taken their toll on the approval of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but perception problems for the Conservatives in key battlegrounds – Quebec and major urban centres – leave the questions as yet unanswered over whether the CPC can capitalize on its lead in vote intention.
New data from Angus Reid Institute, canvassing almost 5,000 Canadians, finds Trudeau’s approval (37%) has slipped six points in the last three months. And even though the Liberals trail in vote intent almost everywhere in the country (35% CPC to 29% Liberal overall), CPC party leader Pierre Poilievre lags in likeability, while his party lags in must-win areas.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to face criticism over his government’s response to allegations of election interference by the Chinese government in Beijing in the last two federal elections.
As the controversy swirls, approval of Trudeau has declined since December. Fewer than two-in-five (37%) say they approve of the prime minister’s performance, a decline of six points in three months. Three-in-five (57%) disapprove of Trudeau, while six per cent offer no opinion.
One-third (34%) of Canadians say they view Poilievre favourably, as many (35%) say they have a very negative impression of the CPC leader. Meanwhile, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (45%) and Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet (46%) are viewed favourably by more than two-in-five.
Trudeau is much more positively appraised in Quebec (36% to 24%), and slightly more so in Ontario (41% to 34%) and British Columbia (38% to 33%), than Poilievre. The CPC continue to have ground to make up in Quebec, as they (21%) find themselves behind the Liberals (28%) and Bloc Québécois (33%).
There continues to be a demographic divide between the two political rivals. The CPC would earn a plurality of votes from men of all ages if an election were to be held tomorrow as Poilievre is viewed much more favourably among men (43%) than women (25%), although he has made incremental progress on this front. The Liberals lead in vote intent among only one demographic – women over the age of 54 – despite Trudeau’s higher approval among women.
Another issue for Trudeau and the Liberals in the party’s third term in power is the fatigue factor. The party’s 2021 supporters are less likely than other partisans to say they will vote Liberal again if an election were held tomorrow. Three-quarters (73%) of those who voted Liberal in 2021 would repeat their vote, fewer than those who voted CPC (87%), NDP (80%) or Bloc Québécois (86%). For the Liberals, this represents an 11-point decline in vote retention since January 2022.