According to a recent survey by Angus Reid, just under three-quarters of Canadians believe Donald Trump to be arrogant, followed closely by the 62 per cent who perceive him as a liar.
The survey took a look at how Canadians regard G7 world leaders ahead of the upcoming summit in Quebec.
“I think if anything, it continues to underscore just how dimly Canadians view Donald Trump,” explained Angus Reid executive director Shachi Kurl. Canadians also viewed Trump as a bully, as dishonest and as corrupt. “These are pretty damning views of the president, but I think we’ve known that for a while.”
In addition, however, Canadians seem to hold mixed opinions about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was primarily viewed as charismatic by Canadians, followed by weak, compassionate, arrogant and bumbling.
Trudeau’s popularity has taken a hit in 2018 following several public relations gaffes, largely attributed to the prime minister’s recent trip to India which was widely criticized both domestically and abroad.
“People are inclined to see him as a mixture of good and bad,” explained Kurl. “He is a bit of a contradiction to most Canadians. Aside from the personal charisma, Canadians are pretty divided in how they see him.”
She compared Trudeau to his predecessor, former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, who Canadians largely saw as secretive, arrogant, dishonest, strategic and boring when a similar survey was conducted in 2014.
Kurl also notes that we don’t see “strategic” topping the list of qualities used to describe Trudeau, especially at a time when relations with the United States aren’t at their finest and Canadian leadership truly needs to be strategic.
It’s important to note that these more negative opinions of the prime minister seem to have ballooned slightly since the end of last year. While today, 31 per cent of Canadians view Trudeau as weak, 28 per cent view him as arrogant and 27 per cent view him as bumbling, these numbers are up from an Angus Reid survey on the Trudeau brand released in October 2017.
At that time, 26 per cent of respondents viewed him as arrogant, 23 per cent of respondents viewed him as flaky, and 22 per cent of respondents viewed him as weak.
Other G7 leaders remained the same in the eyes of Canadians, while others found themselves in the doghouse and some weren’t remembered at all.
Notably, Canadians have become much more familiar with Chinese President Xi Jinping since the 2014 survey was conducted. Back then, fewer than four-in-ten (39 per cent) said they knew who the Chinese leader was. Today, a full majority, more than half, are familiar with Xi.
“In some respects, he is seen by more Canadians as more influential,” said Kurl. Though it’s not clear whether or not Canadians view him as a positive or negative influence.
Kurl also expressed some surprise at the world leaders Canadians weren’t able to name. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Michel Temer are relatively unknown to Canadians.
“These are important trading partners at the end of the day, so I think it’s a little surprising that Canadians don’t know who these leaders are.”
She also noted, however, that “President Trump is just taking up so much oxygen at the moment,” making it more difficult for Canadian news consumers to focus on anyone else.
The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from March 29 – April 3, 2018, among a representative randomized sample of 1,524 Canadian adults who are members of Maru Voice Canada. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.