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March 4, 2020

Abacus Data Bulletins are short analyses of public opinion data we collect. For more information or media interviews, contact Bruce Anderson or David Coletto.

 

APPROVAL OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Today 33% approve of the Trudeau government performance, 20% are on the fence, and 47% disapprove. Approval is down 4 points since last month and about equal where it was a year ago.

CORONAVIRUS

34% have been following the coronavirus news very closely, another 48% pretty closely. That means 20% have paid little or no attention.

5% believe it is very likely that they or someone they know will contract the virus, and another 23% think it likely. 72% think it unlikely or very unlikely. Among those following the issue very closely, expectations are quite similar.

 

14% say the federal government has been handling the situation well, another 64% say, “as well as can be expected in the circumstances. 21% say the federal government has been doing a poor job, well below the 47% who disapprove of the federal government performance generally. Among those following the issue very closely, views on the government’s performance are similar to those believing it is handling it well or poorly slightly higher than those overall.

There also isn’t much variation across regions or demographic groups. While Conservative voters are more likely to feel the government has handled coronavirus poorly, most feel it has done as well as can be expected on the issue.

Canadians are split on whether the virus will be contained before a great many people are killed (58%) versus “It will be a global pandemic that kills a great many people.” (42%). Those following the issue very closely are more pessimistic about the potential scale of the outbreak.

Older Canadians and BC residents are more likely than average to think that many people will die as a result of the outbreak.

THE UPSHOT

According to Bruce Anderson: ””The coronavirus has obviously captured the attention of people and left a lot of people wondering what the future holds.  Millions of Canadians think they or someone close to them will contract the virus, and there is as much pessimism as optimism at this point about whether the virus will cause mass deaths.  So far, Canadians broadly seem to feel the government has been doing as well as might be expected, given the complexity and the challenge of managing something of this nature.”

According to David Coletto: ”Those paying closer attention to the coronavirus are not more likely to feel they will contract the virus, but they are more likely to think that it will become a global pandemic that will kill many people. The issue is fast-moving, and many people are following the story closely. I expect perceptions will shift as news continues to break. So far, most Canadians appear satisfied with the approach the federal government has taken on the issue.”

METHODOLOGY

Our survey was conducted online with 1,475 Canadians aged 18 and over from February 28 to March 3, 2020. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size 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.

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