October 16, 2018 4:56 pm

Jagmeet Singh trails in latest poll — what could that mean for the 2019 election?

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks with the media during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday Aug. 30, 2018.

Adrian Wyld/CP

Canada’s federal election is just one year away. That means in about one year, the country could see a swap in leadership in Ottawa.

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An Angus Reid survey took a closer look at where federal party leaders — Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh — stand within their own parties.

READ MORE: Growing desire in Canada for politician willing to ‘break the rules,’ Ipsos poll finds

The survey asked potential voters of each party how happy or unhappy they were with the leader’s performance.

Liberal party supporters were among the most likely to say they approve of Trudeau, with 79 per cent saying he is doing a “very good” or “good” job in the position.

Sixty-five per cent of Conservative supporters said the same of Scheer.

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Singh ranked lowest from the three leaders at 47 per cent. The bulk of potential NDP voters, at 39 per cent, said they are undecided about Singh.

Angus Reid’s executive director, Shachi Kurl, explained that Singh’s low ranking is not necessarily a surprise, but time is running out for him to change things.

“This is now prime time for Mr. Singh, and I think the expectation would be that he’s got to be able to start turning that around.”

Part of the problem is that many voters aren’t too familiar with Singh, who is new to federal politics. Forty-six per cent of potential NDP voters surveyed said they didn’t know enough about Singh to describe his personality and leadership.

READ MORE: What Liberal losses in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick mean for Justin Trudeau in 2019

Kurl added that if Singh’s support remains low, it could have a notable impact on the 2019 federal election.

Singh was at first seen as a threat to Trudeau, who managed to round up centre and left support over former NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, Kurl said.

WATCH: Year of ups and downs for NDP and its leader Jagmeet Singh

“If you are Justin Trudeau, you might have been worried with the arrival of Jagmeet Singh on the scene, because Singh at least when he came in looked like he might be somebody who would take those left and centre votes back,” Kurl said.

“As it stands today, I think if you’re a Liberal Party organizer, you’re going to say those deflated numbers for Jagmeet Singh are good news for us. That still means Mr. Trudeau once again has the opportunity to collect the left and centre vote around him.”

But much of the effect it will have on the election is uncertain, and it depends on how Singh proves himself in the coming months.

READ MORE: Liberals rise in polls as Canadians rally behind Trudeau in spat with Trump, Ipsos poll finds

Nelson Wiseman, a University of Toronto politics professor, agreed that Singh isn’t doing well and that’s not really surprising. But he said one year is a long time to change things — especially considering it’s what happens during the election campaign that really matters.

“During the election campaign, Jagmeet Singh is going to get a lot of coverage. The fact that he isn’t well-known now doesn’t mean very much,” he told Global News.

“People often pick someone completely new [to vote for] because they were all of the sudden impressed by them in an election debate.”

He noted that the added attention could be a good or bad thing, but it’s too early to tell.

“All the time between now and August is irrelevant,” Wiseman said.

For Scheer, Kurl explained that this survey offers both good and bad news.

The Conservative base of potential voters is larger than the Liberal and the NDP bases. That means more Canadians are open to voting for the Tories than its competitors.

Thirty-seven per cent of Canadians said they would “never” vote for the Tories, compared to 49 per cent who said they would not vote for the Liberals and 50 per cent who ruled out the NDP.

WATCH: What will it take for Jagmeet Singh to win in B.C.?

“The challenge for Mr. Scheer is that he is finding himself offside from a third of his base from supply management issue. A significant number of the Conservative tent also find someone like Maxime Bernier quite appealing,” Kurl said.

Bernier, who left the Conservative Party to form the People’s Party of Canada, has prompted some interest with 31 per cent of the Conservative base saying they find him at least “somewhat appealing.”

This Angus Reid survey was completed online from Oct. 3-8, 2018 by 1,500 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. It is considered accurate +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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