A majority of Canadians say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “elbow incident” in the House of Commons last week was “no big deal,” and that it’s time to move on.
A new poll from Ipsos, conducted in the wake of elbowgate on behalf of Global News, revealed that 63 per cent of respondents believed that the incident “is no big deal,” that it “was a momentary lapse in judgment by the Prime Minister that he has already apologized for” and that “we should all just move on.”
But a minority (37 per cent) said there was no excuse for Trudeau behaving the way he did, and that the incident “raises serious questions about his maturity and judgment.”
WATCH: Trudeau apologizes as #Elbowgate blows up online
Conservative voters were far more likely to believe this than Liberal voters, with 70 per cent judging it to be a serious issue.
The prime minister, currently in Japan for the upcoming G7 summit, found himself apologizing repeatedly in the House of Commons last week after he marched across the centre aisle and grabbed Conservative Whip Gordon Brown, whose path was being blocked by a group of NDP members.
Trudeau allegedly swore and then elbowed the NDP’s Ruth-Ellen Brosseau in the chest during the ensuing fracas. In spite of this, NDP supporters polled by Ipsos were quite forgiving, with 56 per cent willing to give Trudeau a pass.
That didn’t come as a big surprise to Darrell Bricker, CEO at Ipsos Global Public Affairs.
“Quite frankly, when you look as what Trudeau was able to achieve during the election campaign, it was really consolidating the progressive vote,” Bricker said. “To me, he seems to appeal to that group more than he appeals to the Conservative voters.”
While some pundits had predicted the end of the Liberal “honeymoon” and speculated Trudeau’s outburst would lead to a drop in his personal approval ratings, the poll does not support this.
Six in ten Canadians still approve (19 per cent strongly and 43 per cent somewhat) of the performance of the Liberal government under Trudeau, a drop of four points since the last such survey in March.
“He’s bouncing around in a pretty good range,” said Bricker. “I would say that whatever we’re measuring is really not a reflection of any decline in public support. He’s Teflon at this stage.”
Meanwhile, four in ten Canadians surveyed by Ipsos disapprove of the government’s performance under Trudeau (17 per cent strongly and 21 per cent somewhat).
Other polls conducted over the past week have yielded similar results. A Nanos Research survey after the elbow incident revealed Trudeau has hit an all-time high in terms of who Canadians prefer as prime minister, with nearly 54 per cent of respondents naming him as their favourite. An Abacus Data poll found that 70 per cent of respondents said the elbowing incident had no impact on their view of Trudeau.
“To me it just shows the gap between what the political elites seem to think and what the public seems to think,” Bricker said of the Ipsos results.
The government also remains in a very comfortable position when it comes to voting intention.
If an election were held tomorrow, the poll indicates that the Liberals would receive 46 per cent of the decided popular vote compared to 30 per cent for the Tories under Rona Ambrose.
The NDP and out-going leader Tom Mulcair would receive 15 per cent support. Approximately 4 per cent would go to the Bloc Quebecois, and 5 per cent to the Greens and other parties.
For this survey, a sample of 1,002 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ – 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.