Just ahead of the 2015 election, the Liberal Party of Canada released a series of ads featuring its leader, Justin Trudeau, that seemed to seal the deal with much of the electorate and help Trudeau and the Liberals push out a tired and increasingly unpopular Conservative government.
Fast forward eight years, and the Conservative Party of Canada has run a series of ads featuring its leader, Pierre Poilievre, that appear to have had the same effect and may help seal the deal with an electorate that appears — at least right now — ready to sweep out a tired and increasingly unpopular government.
“What we’re seeing with Poilievre is that Poilievre is doing in 2023 what Trudeau did in 2015. He’s now grabbing the ‘hope agenda,'” said Greg Lyle of polling firm Innovative Research. “He’s becoming the party of hope. And Trudeau is now become the party of the status quo.”
Lyle’s firm tested those 2015 Liberal ads using a panel of 1,000 Canadians. His questionnaire at the time measured the emotional response those ads generated.
“The 2015 Trudeau ads were among the best we’ve ever tested,” Lyle said.
Innovative Research repeated that 2015 questionnaire with an online panel of 2,890 Canadians from Nov. 15 to Dec. 5 to test the emotional response to the recent series of Conservative television ads, some of which presented Poilievre in a softer light talking about his family and his background while others featured Poilievre speaking directly to camera about affordability and housing.
“These [Conservative] ads do as well as any ads we’ve ever tested,” Lyle said.
“And what’s really striking about it is normally what happens with a political ad is that the people that support the party that put the ad out like it and the people that don’t support that party don’t like it,” he continued.
Among the four English-language TV ads Innovative tested, the Conservative ad “We Had A Deal” tested best. In this ad, Poilievre, in a white T-shirt standing on the street he says he grew up on speaks directly to camera about the housing affordability crisis.
Innovative asked respondents if, after viewing that had, they felt more hopeful or less hopeful and found 25 per cent more people said “more hopeful” than less. When asked if the ad made them feel less angry or more angry, 10 per cent fewer said “more angry” than less.
“Often, you’ll get an ad that works really well with your base that actually motivates your opponents as well. And so what you would be watching for is people saying, ‘I feel angrier after seeing these ads,'” Lyle sid.
But that did not happen with this or the other Conservative ads, a phenomena Lyle saw when he tested those 2015 Liberal ads.
“What we saw in 2015 is that the Liberals did a remarkable job of becoming the party of hope.”
Trudeau is facing continued questions about his political future, and whether he will step down before the next federal election.
Polling done by Ipsos exclusively for Global News found earlier in December that 69 per cent of Canadians feel Trudeau should resign as Liberal leader and prime minister.
The finding comes after earlier polling by Ipsos for Global News done between Nov. 14 and 17 suggested 72 per cent of Canadians felt the same, marking a three-point decrease in the sentiment but within the poll’s margin of error.