Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question as he speaks with media following an announcement in Brockville, Ont., Friday, Aug. 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Trudeau considered best to manage pandemic, revive economy, poll suggests

Poll suggests O’Toole is an unknown quantity for a majority of Canadians at this point

A new poll suggests Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be well placed to fight an election this fall, seen as the leader best able to care for Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic and to get the economy back on its feet.

Respondents to the poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, were split about the prospect of a confidence vote triggering a federal election this fall, with 42 per cent opposed to an election and 38 per cent in favour.

But if there were an election today, 38 per cent of decided voters said they’d support Trudeau’s Liberals, compared to 30 per cent for the Conservatives, 18 per cent for the NDP and six per cent for the Greens.

The Bloc Quebecois were at 33 per cent in Quebec, statistically tied with the Liberals in that province at 32 per cent, with the Conservatives well behind at 16 per cent, the NDP at 12 per cent and the Greens at four per cent.

When asked specifically which party would earn their vote should Erin O’Toole be at the helm of the Conservatives, Liberal support actually bumped up one point while Conservative support dropped to 27 per cent.

READ MORE: Local MP Elizabeth May does not think election is imminent

However, the poll suggests O’Toole — who was crowned Conservative leader in the wee hours of Monday morning, one day after the survey was completed — is an unknown quantity for a majority of Canadians.

Asked if they’d be more or less likely to vote Conservative if O’Toole was at the helm, fully 51 per cent said they didn’t know. Another 37 per cent said they’d be less likely while just 13 per cent said they’d be more likely.

While Conservative fortunes could improve as voters get to know O’Toole, the poll suggests he will need time to make a dent in their largely positive impression of Trudeau.

Respondents rated Trudeau by a significant margin as the most decisive, intelligent, and charismatic leader and the best communicator. He was also deemed the most caring and compassionate, although on that score NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was rated a relatively close second.

Singh got top marks on honesty and integrity, with 24 per cent saying he best shows those qualities, compared to 16 per cent for Trudeau, who has been mired for months in the WE Charity scandal, and 12 per cent for O’Toole.

In Quebec, Bloc Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet was rated the most honest, decisive and intelligent and the best communicator.

READ MORE: Prorogation was a surprise, but a new throne speech is welcome, Liberal MPs say

On the issues that would likely dominate an election campaign in the fall, Trudeau enjoyed a substantial lead over rival leaders. (The Greens, who are in the midst of a leadership contest were not included in these questions).

He was seen as the leader who’d do the best job getting Canada’s pandemic-ravaged economy back on track by 30 per cent, compared to 20 per cent for O’Toole, 11 per cent for Singh and just three per cent for Blanchet.

He was rated the best leader to manage the federal deficit, projected to hit almost $350 billion this year due to the pandemic (27 per cent to O’Toole’s 23 per cent, Singh’s nine per cent and Blanchet’s three per cent).

He was also rated the leader who’d do the best job caring for Canadians hurt by the pandemic (35 per cent to O’Toole’s 13 per cent, Singh’s 19 per cent and Blanchet’s four per cent)

And he was seen by far as the leader who would best keep Canadians safe from a second wave of the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19 (39 per cent to O’Toole’s 13 per cent, Singh’s 12 per cent and Blanchet’s three per cent).

Trudeau last week prorogued Parliament until Sept. 23, when he intends to introduce a throne speech laying out a post-pandemic recovery plan for the country. Trudeau has all but dared opposition parties to bring his government down over the throne speech, which will be put to a confidence vote.

Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque said Liberal support has rebounded since the WE Charity affair exploded in late June. But it could dip again if there are new revelations or when the federal ethics watchdog releases the findings of his investigation into possible conflict of interest violations by Trudeau and his former finance minister, Bill Morneau.

If it weren’t for that ethical cloud hanging over the government, Bourque said the poll suggests a fall election “would be great timing for Mr. Trudeau” — while O’Toole is still unknown.

“I think the Conservatives need time,” Bourque said in an interview, adding that Blanchet is the only leader for whom there appears to be no potential downside to a fall election.

The online survey of 1,516 adult Canadians was conducted Aug. 21-23. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

READ MORE: Feds extend CERB for four more weeks, announce changes to EI system

The poll also gauged Canadians’ views on the pandemic and its impact on the economy.

Forty-three per cent of respondents said they fear the economic crisis, already the deepest since the Great Depression, will get worse in the next 12 months; only 21 per cent believe it will get better while 25 per cent think it will stay the same.

Fully 77 per cent predicted there’ll be a second wave of the pandemic. And 58 per cent said they think it is likely that over the next three months the country will be plunged back into lockdown, with businesses closed and citizens ordered once again to stay at home.

Despite those fears, 68 per cent said they would not take a free dose of the untested vaccine Russia has produced to immunize against COVID-19; only 14 per cent said they would take it, 18 per cent said they didn’t know.

Seventy-six per cent said they remain very or somewhat satisfied with the measures the federal Liberal government has taken to deal with the pandemic; 77 per cent said the same of their provincial governments.

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronaviruseconomyJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Submitted
BC VOTES 2020: John Rustad re-elected in Nechako Lakes riding

The result is based on preliminary vote count and the final results will be available after Nov.6

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read