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

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

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Three new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

The Central zone sits at 849 active cases, with 52 people in hospital and 10 in the ICU.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 16 additional deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
No easing of Alberta’s COVID-19 measures Thursday, 678 new COVID-19 cases

The province also hit 1,500 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

Kyler Corriveau, of the Eckville area, was found dead on Sunday southeast of Red Deer. Police are investigating his death as a homicide. (Contributed photo).
Young Red Deer homicide victim is remembered as a caring friend

Police are investigating Kyler Corriveau’s untimely death

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

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

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Black Press File Photo
Maskwacis RCMP lay charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, and flight from police

Female victim remains in hospital in serious condition.

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
‘Gut punch’: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney blasts Biden on revoked Keystone XL permit

Kenney said he was upset the U.S. wouldn’t consult with Canada first before acting

Most Read