Hardcore Liberals still love Justin Trudeau, but voters still making up their minds about giving the prime minister another term in next year’s federal election are feeling a little queasy about his government’s deficit spending.
Fifty-four per cent of respondents to an Angus Reid Institute poll who said they would “maybe” vote Liberal disagreed with Trudeau’s decision not to balance the budget by 2019 — as he had originally pledged — and to run higher-than-promised deficits after getting elected in 2015.
“Trudeau’s failure to keep budget deficits to $10 billion or less, and his failure to return the federal budget to balance by 2019, are significant liabilities,” reads the report.
Despite that, nearly 80 per cent of potential Liberal voters described Trudeau as a “very good” or “good” leader for their party, compared to 65 per cent for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and 47 per cent for NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.
The poll also reveals that Singh and Scheer are still relatively unknown quantities not just to Canadians as a whole, but also to their own parties’ supporters. About 46 per cent of potential NDP voters “don’t know enough to say” how they would describe Singh and about 30 per cent of Conservative voters are similarly flummoxed about Scheer.
The Conservatives, though, seem to have the most room to grow as they introduce their leader to Canadians.
With a year to go before the expected 2019 election, many voters aren’t ruling out the Conservatives, with only 37 per cent of respondents saying they would never vote for Andrew Scheer’s party, compared to 49 per cent for the Liberals and 50 per cent for the NDP.
The Conservatives have been hammering the government on the issue of border security and irregular immigration and that’s a solid winner with both core Conservative voters and those who are considering the party. Nearly 70 per cent of respondents who said they would “maybe” vote for Scheer’s party agreed with its positions that more border security is needed to combat irregular immigration.
On the carbon tax, which Scheer has promised to repeal, it’s more of a mixed bag. Solid Conservative voters are in agreement, but the “maybe” voters are essentially split on whether they agree with Scheer’s position.
And, on the NDP side, although Singh’s approval numbers are generally quite low, the party seems to have a picked a winning issue by promising a publicly funded national pharmacare program. Of voters in the “maybe” column, 70 per cent agree with the idea and only nine per cent disagree.
Singh’s opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline is not popular with voters on the fence, though. Nearly 50 per cent of the “maybe” voters disapprove of that position, with only 29 per cent agreeing. Even among the NDP’s core supporters, fewer than 60 per cent are in accordance with Singh on the pipeline. Trudeau, on the other hand, enjoys widespread agreement with his support for the pipeline that his government recently bought from Kinder Morgan.
The best news for Singh comes in the wake of one of his biggest decisions as leader: kicking Saskatchewan MP Erin Weir out of caucus after an investigation found complaints of harassment and sexual harassment against him. Thirty-four per cent agreed with Singh’s call, with 12 per cent disagreeing. Fifty-four per cent said they were “not sure.”
The self-commissioned online survey of 1,500 Canadians carries a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The party-specific numbers come from a randomly-selected sample of 500 potential supports and carry a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
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