May 28, 2016

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

Our latest survey of Canadian public opinion shows broadly positive impressions of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, six months after his election victory.

• On all 12 different measures we tested for, substantial majorities express positive feelings about Mr. Trudeau.

• At the top of the list of positive perceptions: “he projects a good image of Canada around the world” (79%), “he’s intelligent” (85%) he”sets a good example for young people in Canada” (77%), “genuinely cares about other people” (81%), “works hard at his job (81%) tries to do the right thing for the country” (86%), “open to new ideas, willing to listen to others” (78%).

• Slightly less positive ratings for the PM were for “knows how to lead” (69% agree), and “setting the right priorities for the country” (64%) “personal values are similar to my own” (62%)

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• A large part of the public opinion support from the Prime Minister has happened because he has won substantial support among NDP voters. The positive ratings for Mr. Trudeau are 70% or higher on all 12 items tested. Among 2015 NDP voters, 72% say he’s setting the right priorities for the country, 84% say he genuinely cares about other people, and 85% say he tries to do the right thing for the country.

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• Another interesting aspect of the public opinion mix is how Conservative voters have come to see Mr. Trudeau. In the run up and through the last election campaign, very few Conservative voters had a positive feeling about Mr. Trudeau.

But today, a solid half or more of those who voted CPC in October have some good feelings about Mr. Trudeau: 63% say he’s intelligent, 52% say he projects a good image of Canada around the world, 59% say he works hard at his job, 61% say he genuinely cares about other people. Where Conservative voters have the most critical views of Mr. Trudeau: “personal values are similar to my own” (23% agree), “knows how to lead” (33%), “setting the right priorities for the country” (23%)

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THE UPSHOT

The last couple of years featured many determined attacks on Justin Trudeau by his political opponents, and he went from first to third and then back to first in the public opinion polls.

These numbers suggest that some fundamentals have begun to form about the new Prime Minister. Voters broadly see him as intelligent, capable and empathetic.

His agenda has won broad support among voters on the left, presenting an even more serious challenge to the NDP. Conservative voters don’t agree with his priorities, but only half seem to dislike his personality.

According to Bruce Anderson: “For prospective leadership candidates of the NDP and Conservative parties, there are a number of implications.

First is that repeated criticisms about Mr. Trudeau being indolent, lacking intelligence or being obsessed with himself has been remarkably unsuccessful as political strategy. Voters don’t buy these characterizations.

The more important implication, is whether Mr. Trudeau’s image today is evidence that relentlessly negative campaigning, which has been the prevailing approach in politics for a long time, is no longer the only approach that may be rewarded by voters”.

Methodology

Our survey was conducted online with 2,000 Canadians aged 18 and over from May 17 to 20, 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 2,000 is +/- 2.2%, 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, PhD.

Good Decisions Require Good Data.