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Trudeau seen as best pick for PM, but faces trust issues as election ramps up: poll

Click to play video: 'Canada election: Trudeau has strongest leadership numbers in Ipsos poll' Canada election: Trudeau has strongest leadership numbers in Ipsos poll
Canada election: Trudeau has strongest leadership numbers in Ipsos poll – Aug 20, 2021

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is seen as the best candidate for prime minister among the party leaders vying for the job in the federal election, according to a new poll, with 39 per cent of Canadians saying he should get a third term.

But the Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News found an even larger number of those surveyed — 44 per cent — feel Trudeau will say anything to get elected, while 36 per cent said he has a hidden agenda. Both numbers also outstrip the other party leaders, suggesting Trudeau is facing trust issues while remaining the frontrunner in the campaign.

“For Justin Trudeau with the Canadian public, it’s very much a mixed bag,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.

“When they look at the record of the government’s performance and they associate him with it, he tends to do reasonably well. But when you ask questions about his own personal character, that’s when things tend to fall down.”

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Read more: Canada election: How the major party leaders stack up so far

Bricker noted this is the first time since Ipsos began asking the question in 2004 that a Liberal leader has been seen as the one with a hidden agenda. Up until now, polling showed voters largely believed it was Conservative leaders like Stephen Harper and Andrew Scheer who had something to hide.

“There’s an opportunity there for the opposition parties to start talking about what Justin Trudeau isn’t talking about, in terms of what he’s going to do if he is re-elected as prime minister,” he said.

Trudeau still led all the other leaders in every other question asked in the poll, including the ability to best represent Canada on the world stage and simply “getting things done.”

Ipsos surveyed over 2,000 Canadians online and over the phone last weekend before and after the election was officially called on Sunday.

A quarter of those surveyed said Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole would be the best prime minister, with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh polling slightly behind at 23 per cent. Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul each earned four per cent support.

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Polls still unclear for parties to make gains in 44th federal election – Aug 17, 2021

The results also show how the experience of just one prior campaign has positioned Singh ahead of O’Toole, who has lead the Conservatives for less than a year, in a number of key areas.

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Only eight per cent of those polled said the NDP leader has a hidden agenda — compared to 26 per cent for O’Toole — and seven per cent said Singh will say anything to get elected, while 27 per cent said the same about O’Toole.

Singh was also seen as more sincere, would fight harder for the middle class, and would better protect the interests of cultural and religious minorities better than O’Toole.

Yet the Conservative leader scored higher marks than Singh on handling taxpayer money (21 per cent said he would do so wisely, compared to 15 per cent for Singh) and managing during tough economic times (22 per cent versus 13 per cent) — though not as high as Trudeau.

Read more: Canada election: Leaders debates set for Sept. 8, 9

O’Toole was only seen as the best choice to be prime minister in Conservative strongholds like Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as well as among older voters, while Trudeau outperformed in every other region and age group.

Bricker says all the opposition leaders are battling Trudeau’s name recognition and familiarity with the Canadian public — particularly O’Toole and fellow novice party leader Paul, who have struggled to introduce themselves amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But all the party leaders, including Trudeau, are facing a more serious problem: for many questions asked in the poll, more voters said none of the leaders were preferable. Nearly 40 per cent said they don’t believe any of them will keep their election promises, while 24 per cent said Trudeau would.

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“There’s an opportunity there for somebody to really stand up,” Bricker said. “Whether it’s (Trudeau) getting back to Canadians and to really demonstrate that he is sincere about what he believes in, to re-establish a relationship with Canadians similar to what he had in 2015; or whether it’s going to be another leader who’s going to rise to the occasion and convince the public that they can do better.

“I think there’s opportunities for both of those things to happen here.”

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between August 13 and 16, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of n = 2,001 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. A sample of n = 1,501 was interviewed online, via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources, and respondents earn a nominal incentive for their participation. A sample of n = 500 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed by live-interview telephone interviewers by landline and cellphone, using random-digit dialing. Quotas and weighting were employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos polls which include non-probability sampling is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. Ipsos abides by the disclosure standards established by the CRIC, found here:

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