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By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

We completed a national survey of 2,220 Canadian adults from October 15 to 20, 2021 to measure sentiment just prior to a new federal Cabinet being sworn in.

PUBLIC MOOD & GOVERNMENT APPROVAL

About equal numbers feel things in Canada are headed in the right direction (43%) than those who feel it is off on the wrong track (41%). The percentage of those who think the country is headed in the right direction is lower than a peak in June (-4) but substantially higher than in the spring. Canadians are far more bearish on how things are going around the world or in the United States.

As the new Liberal government is set to be sworn in, about equal numbers approve and disapprove of the federal government. Since February of this year, the federal government’s approval rating has held fairly steady between a range of 40% to 46%.

PRIORITIES FOR THE NEW PARLIAMENT

Respondents were asked to set priorities among ten different possible items, for the new Parliament. Improving health care, completing vaccinations and getting life back to normal, helping with the cost of living and housing, and combatting climate change rose to the top of the list.

Less emphasis was placed on “reducing the deficit”, “improving Canada’s economic competitiveness”, “dealing with labour shortages”, “making more progress on reconciliation” or “implementing a national childcare program”, but many still felt they should all be a high priority.

Underneath these overall numbers, given the fact of a minority government, it is useful to examine how the supporters of different parties see things.

• Top priorities for Conservative voters were the cost of living, the deficit, health care, and more vaccinations/life back to normal. Climate change was 7th on their priority list.

• Top priorities for Liberal voters were health care, vaccinations, cost of living, and climate.

• Top priorities for NDP voters were vaccinations, climate, housing, and the cost of living.

VACCINATIONS AND MPs

We also asked respondents their views about whether MPs should be vaccinated if they are going to be physically in the House of Commons.

Three of four (77%) felt that MPs should be vaccinated, including:

• 87% of those who are fully vaccinated.
• At least 72% in every region, from a low of 72% in Alberta to a high of 80% in BC.
• 66% of current Conservative voters and 69% of those who said they voted Conservative in September.
• 68% of those who disapprove of the performance of the Trudeau government.

In this survey, 6% of Canadians said they refuse to be vaccinated personally. Among these people, 91% believe that MPs should not be required to be vaccinated.

CURRENT VOTE INTENTION

If an election were held now, the Liberals would win 33% of the vote (1 point higher than the result of the 2021 election), the Conservatives would win 30% (4 points lower) and the NDP 19% (1 point higher). The BQ is at 7% nationally while the People’s Party is at 6%.



• In BC, we find a three-way race with the Liberals at 31%, the NDP at 30%, and the Conservatives at 28%.

• In Alberta, 53% would vote Conservative compared with 16% for the People’s Party, 13% for the Liberals, and 13% for the NDP.

• In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the Conservatives lead with 49% followed by the Liberals and NDP at 19% respectively.

• In Ontario, the Liberals have a 10-point lead over the Conservatives (40% to 30%) with the NDP in third at 21%.

• In Quebec, we see the BQ slightly ahead of the Liberals (34% to 31%) with the Conservatives at 15% and the NDP at 10%.

• In the Atlantic provinces, the Liberals are ahead by 20 over the Conservatives – 47% to 27% with the NDP at 19%.

LEADER IMPRESSIONS

Justin Trudeau enjoys a positive impression among 38% and negative impressions among 44%, for a net score of -6. This is largely unchanged from the last week of the 2021 election campaign.

Jagmeet Singh enjoys a positive impression among 44% and finds negative impressions among 22% for a net score of +22.

Today 25% have a positive impression of the Conservative leader Erin O’Toole (5 points lower than we found at the end of the 2021 campaign) while his negatives are at 44% (+1). His net score is -19.

In Quebec, BQ Leader Mr. Blanchet is 42% positive and 29% negative for a net score of +13. In contrast, Mr. Trudeau is -5 and Mr. O’Toole is -17 in Quebec.

UPSHOT

According to Bruce Anderson: “This survey reveals a population that is neither filled with optimism or with despair – the strongest signal here is probably the desire to see the pandemic brought to an end and alongside that, support for vaccinations.

Beyond this, there are warning signals for the Conservatives, in terms of the relative strength of the People’s Party in Alberta, a loss of positive feeling towards Mr. O’Toole, the broad desire to employ vaccines to end the pandemic, plus the fact that Conservative voters stand apart from the rest of the country somewhat on the issue of climate change, something Mr. O’Toole knows spells a challenge among those who the Conservatives need to win support from if they are to form a government at some point.

For the Liberals, the numbers reveal no exuberance at the election outcome, no honeymoon bounce, but pretty good alignment in terms of the support among progressive voters for the agenda the Liberals campaigned on. It’s reasonable to conclude that most voters want to set the politics aside and proceed with the agenda.”

According to David Coletto: “As the new Liberal government is sworn in, the public holds fairly mixed views on the state of the country and where it’s headed. The continuing pandemic, concerns about rising prices and the cost of living, and anxiety about the healthcare system have all three issues high up on the public’s priority list for the new parliament.

In terms of politics, the Conservatives find themselves in a weakened position since the federal election last month. Conservative vote share is down 4 and Mr. O’Toole’s positives are down 5.

For the Liberals, not much has changed since the election. The government’s approval rating remains mixed, and Mr. Trudeau’s personal image has held steady. So far, we don’t see evidence of a post-election honeymoon bounce for the Liberals.”

METHODOLOGY

The survey was conducted with 2,200 Canadian adults from October 15 to 20, 2021. 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 typically 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 +/- 1.9%, 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.

This survey was paid for by Abacus Data Inc.

Abacus Data follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here:  https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/

 

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