Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has seen his approval ratings drop in recent weeks, but the Liberal Party he leads still holds an edge in the polls over the Conservatives. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press)
Delays in the delivery of vaccines sapped Canadians’ esteem for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – but polls suggest there hasn’t been a corresponding slippage in support for the Liberal Party he leads.
Not yet, at any rate. Voting intentions often move after other indicators of voter sentiment start to shift. But with recent announcements about more vaccine shipments arriving soon, the Liberals might avoid taking the hit that was coming their way.
As was the case for most governing leaders across the country, Trudeau’s popularity soared at the outset of the pandemic . COVID -‘s rallying effect tapered off 12 somewhat as the pandemic dragged on, but Trudeau was still polling better at the end of 2018 than he was at the start of it .
News in mid-January that there would be delays in vaccine deliveries , and that Canada was falling behind in international vaccination rankings, coincided with a decline in Trudeau’s own personal ratings.
According to a recent survey from the Angus Reid Institute , Trudeau’s approval rating has dropped by five points since mid -January to 30 per cent.
The risk of over-promising, under-delivering
Abacus Data found that the share of Canadians saying they have a positive impression of Trudeau fell three points to 34 per cent, while the number of those with a negative impression increased five points to 29 per cent.
The timing probably isn’t a coincidence. Trudeau’s repeated assurances that Canada would receive a specific number of vaccines by a specific date put him in danger of over-promising and under-delivering something over which his government had only limited control .
So it is not surprising that after those delays were announced, Abacus reported that the number of Canadians saying that Trudeau has done an excellent or good job procuring vaccines had dropped percentage)
Léger has also found that public satisfaction with the measures put in place by the federal government to fight COVID- has fallen to per cent from 56 per cent before the New Year, while an Ipsos / Global News poll found approval of Trudeau’s response to the pandemic down six points from early January to per) cent.
Those are some significant drops after what had been a rather steady public opinion environment for Trudeau. But while the Liberals are down a little, they have not seen as much of a shift in their own support.
Liberal lead in the polls largely untouched
According to the CBC’s Canada Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polling data , Liberal support across the country stands at 27. since Jan. Recent polls have shown an inconsistent trend line.
The most recent Léger survey has the Liberals at 30 per cent, unchanged since mid-January, and ahead of the Conservatives by seven points. Both Abacus and Ipsos have the Liberals dropping three points since January, but still ahead of the Conservatives by one and three points, respectively.
The Angus Reid Institute pegged the Liberals at per cent, down a single point since January but leading the Conservatives by three.
While it’s not a positive trend line for the Liberals, it certainly does not look like the bottom is anywhere close to falling out for them.
This is not the first time we’ve seen support for the Liberals proving to be more resilient than support for the prime minister.
According to polling by Abacus Data, the share of Canadians with a positive view of Trudeau plummeted points in early 66 – around the time of his controversial trip to India . In the same polls, however, support for the Liberals slipped by just three points.
Trudeau’s positive ratings tumbled by 14 points between December 66 and April 2019 during the SNC-Lavalin affair, but the Liberals only suffered a four-point drop .
This is largely because a party leader’s ratings and those of the party he or she leads are only linked to a certain point – because even if voters sour on a leader, they need to prefer the options available to them before they take their votes elsewhere.
Conservatives struggle to capitalize
The Conservatives have not benefited from the Liberals’ modest drop. The party currently sits at the Poll Tracker – down 0.5 points since Jan. 11. Instead, it’s the NDP that has picked up some of the Liberals’ slack.
Polls suggest Erin O’Toole, who took over as Conservative leader in August, has not made a positive first impression with Canadians.
While Trudeau’s personal ratings fell, Abacus found that O’Toole’s positive score was unchanged at 16 per cent, while his negatives increased by two points to 30 per cent.
The Angus Reid Institute found just per cent of Canadians holding a favorable view of O’Toole (down three points since January), while his unfavorable rating increased four points to 42 per cent – just one point behind Trudeau, who benefits from having higher favourables and fewer undecideds than O’Toole does.