Canadians are giving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the thumbs-up when it comes to his handling of Canada’s relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump, according to an Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News.
Sixty per cent of respondents said Trudeau is doing a good job handling Trump, according to the poll, conducted between Dec. 10-14.
Respondents were also asked which federal party leader was best equipped to deal with Trump, with Trudeau winning out by a big margin. Thirty-four per cent said Trudeau is best equipped to deal with Trump, compared to only 12 per cent opting for Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, and seven per cent selecting New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh.
That means that 47 per cent of respondents chose “none of the above” as their option, but this isn’t necessarily a critique of Trudeau, says Sean Simpson, vice-president of public affairs for Ipsos.
“The ‘none of the above’ option isn’t necessarily a repudiation of Trudeau’s handling of Trump,” Simpson told Global News. “I think it may be an acknowledgement that nobody can handle him.
“The only predictable about [Trump] is his unpredictability.”
Simpson adds that the 60 per cent figure suggests that approval for Trudeau’s handling of Trump exists along party lines.
“There’s a general acknowledgement in Canada that Trudeau is doing about as good a job as he could managing Trump. Yes, it’s lower among Conservatives for sure, but its still 60 per cent of Canadians overall who say he’s doing a good job,” Simpson said.
The poll also revealed a consistent correlation between the level of education of respondents and their likelihood to criticize Trump’s presidency and support Trudeau’s efforts in handling Trump.
The less education a respondent had, the more likely they were to offer a favourable opinion of Trump’s presidency and its impact on Canada, and more likely to criticize Trudeau.
For example, 35 per cent of people who didn’t graduate high school said the Trump presidency has been better than expected, compared to 21 per cent of university graduates. Thirty-two per cent of people who didn’t finish high school said Trudeau should work to align himself more with Trump’s international policies, compared to only 19 per cent of university graduates.
Simpson says this is a trend that’s also noticed in the United States.
“The more educated you are, the less likely you are to favour Trump… more highly educated people — university degrees, graduate degrees — tend to support the Democratic Party, while those with less formal education tend to support the Republicans,” Simpson said.
Along with education, age was another predictor of responses. People aged 55 and over were more likely to say that Trump’s presidency has been better than expected, that Trump is good for Canada and that Trudeau should align himself more with Trump.
Simpson says this isn’t unexpected, given the interaction between education and age.
“University graduation rates are higher among younger people and we already know that more educated people are more likely to not support Trump, and less educated people are more likely to support Trump,” he said.
“And also as people age, they become more conservative, or in the United States context, Republican, and we know that there’s a little bit more support for President Trump among Conservative supporters. By no means is it a majority, but it’s slightly higher than among supporters from other parties.”
Still, Conservative Party supporters hardly gave Trump a ringing endorsement. While they were more likely to give a favourable opinion of Trump’s presidency, only 38 per cent of them said it had gone better than they expected, and the amount of Conservative supporters who said Trudeau should align Canada’s policies with Trump’s constituted a minority.
Simpson says that Canadians’ overall assessment of Trump’s presidency is that it has turned out worse than they imagined.
“After Trump won the election, we did some polling in Canada… and we asked people whether they thought the election of Trump as president would be good or bad for the U.S. Fifty-eight per cent said negative, 16 per cent said positive and 27 per cent stayed neutral,” Simpson points out.
“Now fast-forward to the poll that we’ve just conducted, and 77 per cent agree that it’s been a disaster. So for many people, it may be a little worse than what they were expecting.”
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between December 10 and 14, 2017, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 2,098 Canadian aged 18+ 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 ±2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population.