Federal Politics: Pre-Writ period
Climate change, Indigenous and economic issues replace COVID-19 as top of mind
NORTHERN, ONTARIO ~~~~~~ July 16, 2021 (LSN) Active speculation that the country is no more than a month away from a federal election campaign means political leaders are already trying to pierce the long-deserved summer reverie of Canadian voters.
In the earliest days of this horse-race, new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds that would-be voters put the parties most likely to end up forming government in a statistical tie – with the incumbent Liberals under leader Justin Trudeau a mere two points ahead of the Conservative Party led by Erin O’Toole (33% versus 31%). The NDP remains in third place at 20 per cent, with the Green Party (3%) and Bloc Quebecois (7%) in single digits nationally.
These numbers come as focus on the Trudeau government’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic falls to its lowest point since the crisis began.
Handling of the pandemic has been a relative strength for the Liberal government over the last year and a half. Now, just one-in-five (19%) identify it as a top issue, down from 45 per cent in March. Replacing this issue in the public consciousness are matters of climate change, economic recovery, the size of the deficit, and Indigenous issues, the latter of which has picked up notable traction in recent months.
And while issues may galvanize voters, they appear to be less inspired by the leaders in main contention. As the favourability of Trudeau and O’Toole decline, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet enjoy slight net positive favourability.
As for the prospect of another Liberal victory – the nation is split. While few say they’d be “thrilled” (6%), a significant segment say it’s an outcome that would leave them “content” (33%). The rest are less sunny about it: one-quarter would be unhappy with that result (25%), while close to three-in-ten would be distraught (28%).
More Key Findings:
- While the Liberal lead is slim, it is concentrated in key regions of the country. The party leads the CPC by four points in British Columbia and Ontario, and is competitive with the BQ in Quebec, well ahead of the Conservatives.
- Prime Minister Trudeau has an approval rating of 40 per cent this quarter. Just nine per cent strongly approve of his performance, while 39 per cent strongly disapprove.
- Three-in-five Canadians (58%) have an unfavourable view of CPC leader Erin O’Toole, the highest level since he took over leadership of the party
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