One year since the Liberals won the federal election, two-thirds of Canadians approve of the job Justin Trudeau’s government has done, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News.
“He’s very popular. If you look at leaders in the rest of the world, he’s got numbers that any of them would envy,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs. “We’re finding 64 per cent of Canadians saying that they basically approve of his performance and the government’s performance.”
But although Trudeau is popular, his numbers aren’t that different from the last time Canada elected a new government at the federal level.
“People might say that Justin Trudeau is at an unprecedented level of public support, but we did the same poll with Stephen Harper in 2006 after one year of him being in power and he was at 62, so the difference is only two points, pretty much within the margin of error,” said Bricker.
“So I think when big change happens, after 10 years somebody’s in power, somebody new comes in and they deliver something different, people generally respond well to it. That’s what we saw in the first year of Harper and it’s what we’re seeing in the first year of Justin Trudeau.”
If Trudeau’s government follows the same kind of public opinion trajectory, they’re in for a slow, steady drop: by the 2015 election, the Conservative approval rating had fallen to 41 per cent.
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But Bricker isn’t sure that will happen in this case, or at least not soon. “Until the opposition really starts challenging the government in a very significant way, and neither opposition party has a leader at the moment, really, then he’s pretty well left to his own devices. So the only things that can cause him harm are things that he does to himself or events that occur and how he responds to them.”
Trudeau likely won’t face serious challenges to his popularity until later in 2017, when the Conservatives and NDP have new leaders and Trudeau has several budgets behind him for the opposition parties to pick apart, said Bricker.
Fifty-eight per cent of Canadians surveyed say that the Trudeau government has met or exceeded their expectations – and younger people are more likely to say so.
Only 29 per cent of Canadians aged 18-34 say the government has fallen short, compared to 55 per cent of people aged 55 and up.
Trudeau’s personal approval rating also remains quite high, at 64 per cent.
Oddly, given how positive young people were about Trudeau in other parts of the poll, about half of people aged 18-34 said that the country would be better off if Harper was still in power.
“This is the gap between expectations and feeling about the government, and delivery,” said Bricker. Young people turned out in unusually high numbers, and many of them voted Liberal – meaning they have high expectations about how a Trudeau government is going to change their lives.
“So at this point do they think that he’s doing better than Harper on that measure? They’re expecting that he hopefully will do something, but the delivery to date has not necessarily been at a level that they would like to see.”
Overall, relatively few Canadians are hankering for the old days – only 36 per cent agree that Canada would be better off if Stephen Harper and the Conservatives were still in power.
This Ipsos poll on behalf of Global News was an online survey of 1,000 Canadians conducted between Oct. 11-14. The results were weighted to better reflect the composition of the adult Canadian population, according to census data. This poll is considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.