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Most Canadians disapprove of Trump’s coronavirus response: Ipsos poll

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Canadians overwhelmingly disapprove of U.S. President Donald Trump’s handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, a new poll has found.

Polling conducted by Ipsos exclusively for Global News found that only 16 per cent of Canadians approved of Trump’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

READ MORE: New York’s coronavirus death toll tops 9/11 as lockdown in Wuhan ends

Trump was the only politician included in the survey who Canadians “aren’t impressed by,” Ipsos CEO Darrell Bricker said.

“It’s just proving that the common aphorism, which is that a rising tide lifts all boats — well, not in the case of Donald Trump.”

Of the 1,006 respondents, only five per cent said they strongly approved of Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Eleven per cent said they somewhat approved of his performance.

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Bricker said while a low approval rating among Canadians is not new for Trump, the results are a little surprising.

“His approval level among Canadians has been very bad since the first day it became known that he would be running for the president of the United States and became even worse after he won,” he said.

Approval ratings for Canada’s premiers and prime minister have gone up by huge amounts, so one might expect to see growth in Canadian approval for Trump as well, Bricker said. “But we’re just not seeing it.”

READ MORE: 30,000 ventilators to be made in Canada amid coronavirus pandemic, Trudeau says

The poll showed Trump’s approval was higher in Alberta, at 34 per cent.

But, Bricker said this is just reflective of the province’s political culture.

“They just tend to be more conservative in general,” he said. “But still, I mean, he doesn’t have 50 per cent of the population approving of him in Alberta.”

The polling data was collected between April 3 and 7, as the U.S. and Canada clashed over desperately needed personal protective equipment.

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On Thursday, Trump invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act, giving his administration the power to bar Minnesota-based company 3M from shipping N95 respirators to Canada or Latin America.

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But by Monday, the administration’s stance had changed, and during his daily COVID-19 response meeting, Trump announced a deal with 3M to produce 166.5 million face masks for health-care workers.

Following the announcement, 3M confirmed it would continue to ship the much needed supplies to Canada.

READ MORE: Trump threatens to pull back funding from WHO over agency’s coronavirus response

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Canada’s deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland said the outcome was good.

“We achieved that result by making the case to our American friends and neighbours that when it comes to medical equipment and medical services, the relationship between Canada and the United States is one of interdependence,” she said.

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Bricker said he’s not sure how much the situation impacted Trump’s approval rating, saying it was likely “just one more log on the fire” for Canadians.

“I think since the start of this crisis, the way that he has managed every aspect of it — none of it has given any Canadians any cause for optimism,”  he said.

Chris Sands, director at the Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said when the U.S. makes nationalistic decisions, it “tends to make Canadians feel excluded or more aware than usual about not being part of the core of U.S. interests.”

“And it makes that bilateral trust and friendship a little bit harder. It may actually help in some ways for Canadians rallying around each other, but it certainly makes Canada-U.S. relations more tense than periods when we’re actually being seen to cooperate, he said.

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Trump has been butting heads with officials from other parts of the world amid the pandemic, as well.

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to pull back funding from the World Health Organization (WHO) over the agency’s response to the pandemic.

Speaking at a press conference, Trump told reporters the U.S. was considering ending funding, saying the WHO “missed the call” on the outbreak.

“I’m not saying I’m going to do it, but we will look at ending funding,” he said.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said the world is “still in the acute phase of a pandemic.”

“So now is not the time to cut back on funding,” he said.

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Sands noted that Canada and the U.S. will likely have another argument during the COVID-19 outbreak.

READ MORE: U.S. ‘wasted’ months before preparing for COVID-19 pandemic, former health secretary says

Bricker said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several of the country’s premiers who voiced concerns over the spat saw a large boost in approval.

“Having this kind of unanimity of opinion among Canadians political leadership also strengthens the hand of the prime minister in dealing, at least from a domestic perspective, with the president of the United States.”

The poll revealed the majority of Canadians — 74 per cent — approve of Trudeau‘s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Of those who approve, 29 per cent said they strongly approve, and 45 per cent said they somewhat approve of the prime minister’s actions.

However, 26 per cent of respondents said they disapproved of Trudeau’s COVID-19 response.

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. This poll was conducted between April 3 and April 7, 2020, using a sample of 1,006 Canadians aged 18+ who were interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll has a credibility interval of +/-3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled.

-With a file from Global News’ Emerald Bensadoun and Reuters