What do Canadians think about Justin Trudeau and Pierre Poilievre?

In a recent national survey conducted by Abacus Data, Canadians were asked to assess the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition: Justin Trudeau and Pierre Poilievre – on several attributes.

The survey aimed to gauge public perception of the politicians’ competence, kindness, understanding of people’s lives, whether they hide their true beliefs, and if they are seen as too extreme. The poll was conducted among 2,500 Canadian adults from May 9 to 12, 2023.

According to the results, most Canadians believe that Trudeau is kind; however, more than half of the respondents think he hides his true views to make himself more acceptable. Approximately half of the participants feel that his motivations are in the right place and that he wants to make Canada a better country. Trudeau is seen as vulnerable when it comes to empathy (understanding people’s lives) and judgment.

On the other hand, Poilievre has a higher number of “don’t knows,” but those who have an opinion view him as having the right motivations, and they perceive him as more competent and possessing better judgment. However, he is seen as vulnerable on the “too extreme” dimension.

To standardize the comparison between the two politicians and simulate a campaign scenario, Iremoved the “don’t knows” from the results.

We found that Poilievre holds significant advantages over Trudeau in terms of competence, judgment, and empathy (understanding people like me).

Trudeau leads on kindness and does much better on the “too extreme” aspect. Yet, 62% of respondents believe that Trudeau hides his views to make himself more acceptable, while 50% think the same thing about Poilievre.


According to David Coletto: The poll results indicate that the Liberals and Trudeau have a challenging road ahead when competing against Poilievre. Many people have not yet paid much attention to their political choices, but among those who have formed an opinion, Poilievre maintains a considerably stronger image than Trudeau. He surpasses the sitting Prime Minister in terms of judgment and competence among those who have an opinion and holds a slight lead among all Canadians, including those unfamiliar with Poilievre.

In the lead-up to the campaign, both sides will need to focus on their strengths and address their perceived weaknesses in order to appeal to undecided voters.


The survey was conducted with 2,500 Canadian adults from May 9 to 12, 2023. A random sample of panelists were 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 +/- 2.0%, 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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