Majority say Justin Trudeau government is more style than substance: Ipsos poll

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair reflected on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's first year in office, saying that he has committed to wanting to tackle many issues, but has failed in making them reality.

He may be riding high in the polls, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s policies aren’t registering with Canadians, according to polling results released Wednesday.

Despite the prime minister’s popularity, nearly half of all poll respondents were at a loss when asked to name an accomplishment the government has achieved in the past year, the Ipsos poll conducted for Global News suggests. And, one year after the election, six in 10 Canadians either strongly or somewhat agree the Trudeau government is more “style” than “substance.”

Still, most say Trudeau’s approach to politics is good for Canada and for Parliament.

READ MORE: One year in, how are the Justin Trudeau Liberals doing on their election promises?

“Canadians are still hopeful about all the things the Liberals promised,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO at Ipsos. “They haven’t confronted the factor of substance yet.”

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The idea that voters continue to trust Trudeau will make good on his election platform is reflected in the dichotomy between two findings in Wednesday’s poll: Forty-five per cent of respondents either couldn’t think of what the government’s greatest accomplishment was or said, “nothing.” At the same time, 45 per cent also responded positively when asked, on an open-ended basis, to identify the first thing that came to mind when thinking of the Liberals under Trudeau.

WATCH: Trudeau’s 1st year: Mulcair says PM more about image than substance

Trudeau’s 1st year: Mulcair says PM more about image than substance
Trudeau’s 1st year: Mulcair says PM more about image than substance

Some of those positive answers included: they’re satisfied with the government’s performance; the prime minister is young and has new ideas; the government represents positive change for the better; and is progressive, open-minded or dynamic.

READ MORE: Nearly two-thirds of Canadians approve of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government: Ipsos

“Justin Trudeau has got a lot good will capital out there,” Bricker said Wednesday. “But at a certain point you have to deliver on peoples’ expectations, otherwise a gap starts to form and that’s where trust falls.”

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Regardless of perceived accomplishments, or lack thereof, Canadians still like Trudeau’s governing style – setting him apart from his predecessor former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper.

WATCH: Looking back at Trudeau’s first year as prime minister

Looking back at Trudeau’s first year as prime minister
Looking back at Trudeau’s first year as prime minister

Forty-six per cent of Canadians polled said they “somewhat agree” with the notion that Trudeau’s approach to politics has been good for Canada; another 19 per cent “strongly” agreed, for a combined 65 per cent. Compare that to the 46 per cent who said the same for Harper at the end of 2014.

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Similarly, where 64 per cent of respondents said Trudeau’s approach to politics has been good for Parliament, 43 per cent said so for Harper at the end of 2014.

READ MORE: Canadians split on whether Trudeau government is spending their money wisely, poll finds

When asked straight up whether Trudeau’s government is more or less doing the same as Harper’s did, two-thirds disagreed with the statement.

The disparity between the leaders’ numbers is less striking, however, when you compare Trudeau’s to those Harper received after his first year, Bricker said.

It’s a honeymoon period almost all new governments experience, he said, though eventually, voters will be looking for specific action on specific files.

“Over a certain period of time, the rhetoric has to catch up with actual results,” Bricker said. “What causes the honeymoon to erode is a series of events and how the government responds to them, and how well promises match up with action.”

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.”

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.

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