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View of PM Trudeau drives support for his government

November 16, 2016

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

PdfExportIn our latest survey of national opinion, we explored more detailed assessments of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

• Since his swearing last November, Justin Trudeau’s favourable impression rating has ranged between 56% and 59%, with negative opinion ranging from 19% and 25%. Our latest findings show 57% favourable and 24% unfavourable. To add a bit more perspective to these numbers, Mr. Trudeau’s favourable rating since assuming the office of Prime Minister is more than 20 points better than in the months immediately before the election campaign.

This is an important reminder that opinion polls tend to show that people who haven’t held this office before aren’t always assumed to be as qualified as those who have – but this doesn’t mean they can’t win an election, or be judged competent after they do.

• Mr. Trudeau’s personal favourability (57%) is 11 points above his party’s standing in the polls. Views of the PM are central to the comfort people indicate with the government.

• Positive opinion towards Mr. Trudeau is the majority view everywhere but in the Prairies. In Alberta, where the Liberal Party has struggled for years, opinion is divided between positive (39%) and negative views (42%). Majorities of men and women, and across every age group, have positive views of Mr. Trudeau.

• Among partisans of other parties, Mr. Trudeau is not hugely polarizing. Only 24% of NDP voters, and 56% Conservative supporters have a negative impression of the PM.


• Positive feelings towards NDP leader Thomas Mulcair are steady in recent months, and 28% in the latest sounding. Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose has ranged from 14% and 19% positive opinion, with the latest sounding showing 17% positive and 23% negative views.

We updated our data on 10 detailed evaluations of the Prime Minister in this wave of surveying. The latest numbers show:

• On all 10 items, two-thirds or more of those surveyed said the PM was doing an acceptable or better job.

• Best assessments were for openness and accessibility, representing Canada abroad, the personal values he brings to the job, his cabinet appointments and his approach to working with the provincial Premiers. In each case, more than 80% said he was doing an acceptable or better job. His rating on openness and accessibility and for collaboration with the Premiers dropped by 5 and 7 points respectively since January.

• More than 3 out of 4 give the PM an acceptable or better rating for his approach to climate change and greenhouse gases. This item also saw a 5-point drop since January, which occurred primarily in the Prairie provinces.

• On his handling of the economy, 69% say the PM is doing an acceptable or better job, compared to 73% in January.

• When it comes to handling taxpayers’ money, 65% are satisfied today, down from 70% in January.

• Mr. Trudeau’s rating in dealing with the threat of ISIS has increased from 66% in January to 73% today.

• A marginal increase is also noted for the PM’s handling of the refugee issue: 71% today say he is doing an acceptable or better job, compared to 68% last January.

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• Looking only at the proportion of good or very good ratings presents a fairly similar storyline.

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UPSHOT

According to Bruce Anderson:

“A year after winning the job of running the country, Justin Trudeau has left a good impression among 88% of those who voted for him, and has been a positive surprise for a substantial number of voters who didn’t cast a ballot for his party.

Today, his performance assessments continue to show that his personal leadership is driving support for his party and confidence in his government, despite an economy that continues to experience headwinds. For many Canadians, the health of the economy is clearly not the only way they evaluate their political leaders.

A year of experience has caused a bit of deterioration on some performance items, although overall favourability towards the PM remains solidly, and consistently, in majority territory. This is a reminder that many voters “price in” the idea that governments will make errors and misjudgments, and tend to react to most events with that realization in mind.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these numbers is the evidence that the sharp partisanship that marked opinion in recent years has softened: barely half of Conservative voters don’t like Mr. Trudeau, and most NDP voters have a good feeling about the PM.”

According to David Coletto:

“Perhaps most striking in these numbers is the breadth and depth of Prime Minister Trudeau’s appeal. He is popular in almost all regions of the country, across all age groups, education levels, and genders. His popularity among young voters is something I’m watching closely.

Young voters were critical to the Liberal win in 2015 and they will be critical again in 2019. Right now, over six in ten Canadians under 30 have a positive impression of the Prime Minister. Less than one in five view him negatively. A year after his win, Mr. Trudeau’s shine with Millennials has yet to fade.”

METHODOLOGY

Our survey was conducted online with 2,200 Canadians aged 18 and over from November 11 to 13, 2016. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of over 500,000 Canadians.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 2,200 is +/- 2.1%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

ABACUS DATA INC.

We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and value-added insight. Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, Ph.D.
For more information, visit our website at http://www.abacusdata.ca/


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