TORONTO – The Conservative attack ads aimed at Liberal leader Justin Trudeau are not working, according to a new poll.
Only four in 10 Canadians have seen the television ads, and 38 per cent of them are more likely to vote for the Liberals after seeing them, according to the Ipsos Reid poll conducted for Global News and Postmedia News.
In comparison, only 13 per cent of people who have seen the ads are more likely to vote for the Tories.
The advertisements, which use video of Trudeau taking off his shirt at a Canadian Liver Foundation fundraiser, depict the Liberal leader as a lightweight who lacks the judgment to be prime minister.
The biggest surprise the poll found is that the ads seem to be taking away votes from the NDP in favour of the Liberals.
Nearly three-quarters of NDP supporters dislike the ads, with one in five current NDP supporters saying they’re more likely to vote Liberal now.
Liberal MP Marc Garneau, who ran against Trudeau in the leadership before dropping out and supporting him, said he’s not surprised the ads are backfiring.
“It could be very bad news for the Conservatives,” he said.
“They’re going to have to re-think their approach that they’re taking. It is not working, and I think they’re beginning to realize that.”
But Conservative House leader Peter Van Loan said the ads are about presenting a choice to the public.
“We think it’s important to communicate to Canadians the choice that they have, between an inexperienced Liberal leader with a famous name, and an experienced prime minister who’s delivering on lower taxes and job creation,” he said.
When asked if there was any plan to change strategy, Van Loan said, “I think Canadians have the intelligence to judge for themselves. They’re very smart, and they will make the right choice when it comes time to decide who they want to trust with the leadership of this country and our economy.”
The poll found for those who have seen the ads, the Liberals have a nine-point lead over the Tories (41 per cent Liberals versus 32 per cent Conservatives), while the NDP are down at 21 per cent.
But among those who have not seen the ads, the three parties are much closer, with the Liberals and Conservatives both getting 31 per cent vote support and the NDP getting 27 per cent.
With the next federal election not until October 19, 2015, IPSOS Reid Senior Vice President John Wright told Global News that it’s “too early to say if this will have an impact.”
The poll interviewed 1,059 Canadians online between April 26 and April 30, 2013. It is accurate to within +/- 3.4 percentage points.