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

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

An x-ray tech demonstrates the new equipment in use. (Photo Submitted)
New diagnostic equipment now operational at Sylvan Lake AACS

In August it was announced that Stephen and Jacqueline Wuori donated $850,000 to AACS

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta adds 463 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

The central zone has 818 active cases

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta identifies 573 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths on Saturday

There are currently 9,727 active cases of the virus in the province

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Red Fraggle, one of Jim Henson Company’s Fraggle Rock characers, is shown at Time To Play Holiday Show, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, in New York. The Jim Henson Company says production has officially started in Calgary on a reboot of the original 1980s children’s puppet series, which was filmed in Toronto.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Lennihan
‘Fraggle Rock’ children’s puppet series reboot starts production in Calgary

A spokesperson says the new series will stream on Apple TV plus

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate fatal pedestrian collision

A 37-year-old man from Maskwacis has died in hospital as a result of his injuries.

A registered nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Yukon’s Minister of Community Services, John Streiker, says he’s outraged that a couple from outside the territory travelled to a remote community this week and received doses of COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-POOL
Couple charged after travelling to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine

The maximum fine under the emergency measures act is $500, and up to six months in jail

Metis Nation of B.C. President Clara Morin Dal Col poses in this undated handout photo. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Metis Nation of B.C. *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Metis Nation of B.C. suspends president, citing ‘breach’ of policies, procedures

Vice-president Lissa Smith is stepping in to fill the position on an acting basis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Payette shouldn’t get same benefits as other ex-governors general: O’Toole

Former governors general are entitled to a pension and also get a regular income paid to them for the rest of their lives

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Blackfalds RCMP investigate fatal collision

Preliminary investigation revealed a south bound pickup truck collided with an eastbound car

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Most Read