Monday, March 20, 2023
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Federal Politics: Liberals trail CPC by six points in vote intention; but Poilievre lags Trudeau in likeability

Trudeau’s approval declines to 37 per cent, but only one-third have favourable view of Poilievre

Weeks of questions over potential foreign interference in Canadian elections – and the federal government’s handling of the issue – have taken their toll on the approval of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but perception problems for the Conservatives in key battlegrounds – Quebec and major urban centres – leave the questions as yet unanswered over whether the CPC can capitalize on its lead in vote intention.

New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute, canvassing almost 5,000 Canadians, finds Trudeau’s approval (37%) has slipped six points in the last three months. And even though the Liberals trail in vote intent almost everywhere in the country (35% CPC to 29% Liberal overall), CPC party leader Pierre Poilievre lags in likeability, while his party lags in must-win areas.

Trudeau is much more positively appraised in Quebec (36% to 24%), and slightly more so in Ontario (41% to 34%) and British Columbia (38% to 33%), than Poilievre. The CPC continue to have ground to make up in Quebec, as they (21%) find themselves behind the Liberals (28%) and Bloc Québécois (33%).

There continues to be a demographic divide between the two political rivals. The CPC would earn a plurality of votes from men of all ages if an election were to be held tomorrow as Poilievre is viewed much more favourably among men (43%) than women (25%), although he has made incremental progress on this front. The Liberals lead in vote intent among only one demographic – women over the age of 54 – despite Trudeau’s higher approval among women.

Another issue for Trudeau and the Liberals in the party’s third term in power is the fatigue factor. The party’s 2021 supporters are less likely than other partisans to say they will vote Liberal again if an election were held tomorrow. Three-quarters (73%) of those who voted Liberal in 2021 would repeat their vote, fewer than those who voted CPC (87%), NDP (80%) or Bloc Québécois (86%). For the Liberals, this represents an 11-point decline in vote retention since January 2022.

More Key Findings:

  • Three-in-five (59%) believe inflation to be a top issue facing Canada. Half (48%) select health care. Both significantly outpace other concerns such as housing affordability (27%), the environment (23%) and the economy (19%).
  • A plurality in Metro Vancouver, Montreal and the 416 and 905 area codes of Toronto say they would vote Liberal if an election were held tomorrow. However, in the latter most, the gap between the Liberals and the CPC is not as large as the other major cities.
  • Though women still are more likely to view Poilievre negatively than positively, he has gained four points of favourability (22% to 26%) among women over the age of 54 since December. Trudeau, meanwhile, has seen his approval among that demographic decline by seven points (53% to 46%).

About ARI

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.

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