Coronavirus: Legault’s approval rating slides amid push to reopen economy

Quebec Premier François Legault responds to reporters during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Monday, May 11, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

A new poll suggests Quebecers are beginning to cool towards Premier François Legault‘s handling of the crisis caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

According to a new joint poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, 77 per cent of Quebecers currently approve of Legault’s job performance.

While in ordinary times, that number would be considered quite high, it’s actually nearly 20 points beneath its highest point in the early days of the pandemic, when the same poll found 95 per cent of people in the province approved of the job he was doing.

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Legault’s tumble comes as his government pushes ahead with the controversial reopening of businesses and schools outside Greater Montreal, even as the province’s caseload continues to increase both on and off the island.

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After leading Canada’s 10 premiers for weeks, Legault now ranks in the middle of the pack in approval ratings, with British Columbia’s John Horgan (88 per cent) at the top and Alberta’s Jason Kenney (62 per cent) at the bottom.

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The poll also found Legault had pulled even with his federal counterpart: 76 per cent of Quebecers are satisfied with the job Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is doing amid the pandemic.

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And as Quebec’s economy begins to slowly reopen, the survey also found Quebecers may be growing restless with the lockdown. On the eighth week of confinement, a full third of Quebecers — 33 per cent of those surveyed — admitted to having violated at least one social-distancing rule. That figure has risen by seven points in the past three weeks.

A total of 1,526 Canadians, including 421 Quebecers, were surveyed for this poll between May 8 and 11. Like all online surveys, a margin of error cannot be calculated.

— With files from the Canadian Press’s French-language service

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