The Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News found 35 per cent of Canadians surveyed believe Poilievre is the best candidate for prime minister, while 31 per cent said the same of Trudeau, who trails the new Opposition leader in a majority of provinces — including Ontario.
Those numbers mark the latest sign of trouble for Trudeau’s Liberals, who are facing an increasingly dissatisfied public that polling suggests is concerned with affordability and inflation.
“Now that Mr. Poilievre has come on the scene, it’s not so much a result of anything he’s done or said, but really more a result of people looking for someone else other than the current prime minister,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.
“It’s pretty clear that the plurality of Canadians right now are looking for alternatives.”
Even in British Columbia, where his support was strongest at 38 per cent, Trudeau was only two points ahead of Poilievre. Other than Quebec and Atlantic Canada, Poilievre outranked the current prime minister in every other province.
That includes Ontario, where Conservatives have tried for years to break through in the vote-rich Greater Toronto Area in an effort to topple the Liberals. Poilievre’s 41 per cent support there, compared to 34 per cent for Trudeau, suggests he may have cracked the code.
Poilievre’s support also stands in stark contrast to the eve of last year’s election, when polling found Trudeau in a dead heat with former Tory leader Erin O’Toole, who was still one point behind the prime minister’s 28 per cent support. That ultimately played out in the vote itself, although it was O’Toole’s Conservatives who won the popular vote by about one per cent.
The new survey comes on the heels of polling released Wednesday that found the Conservatives as a whole now hold a five-point lead over the Liberals among decided voters. That margin rose to seven points in Ontario, where the Tories polled at 37 per cent support.
That poll found two-thirds of voters say it’s time for another party to take over for the Liberals, while support for Trudeau’s re-election fell four points from last fall to just 33 per cent.
Thursday’s polling was conducted at the same time, from Sept. 19-20, and surveyed over 1,000 Canadian adults.
The results suggest voters have soured on Trudeau, who was seen in a more negative light by respondents compared to his new chief political opponent.
Although Poilievre trailed Trudeau in favourability among those surveyed — and both trailed NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh — he was also seen as the leader most likely to have the best plan for Canada (24 per cent), get things done (24 per cent) and want to lead Canada for the right reasons (25 per cent), while Trudeau earned just 21 per cent support for all three questions.
Most significantly, 37 per cent of voters surveyed said Trudeau was “in over his head” as prime minister, a double-digit lead over Poilievre’s 21 per cent.
“That’s over someone that (voters) don’t even know,” Bricker marvelled. “So there’s a lot of questions being asked by Canadians about the prime minister.”
Trudeau was still seen as the leader who has the best temperament and maturity to be leading the federal government, at 26 per cent, and will respect Canada’s traditions and institutions (24 per cent).
However, those numbers were just two or three points ahead of Poilievre, who also outperformed Trudeau on specific questions on issues like health care policy, taxpayer spending, honesty and whether he would “fight for the middle class” as prime minister.
Notably, more than four in 10 Canadians surveyed said none of the leaders were someone they could trust, will better control government spending or has the best plan for addressing health care or the economy.
All parties seen as unable to tackle major issues
That sentiment carried over into Ipsos polling suggesting roughly one-third of Canadians believe none of the major political parties are prepared to address the top issues impacting their voting decision.
The poll found affordability and the cost of living (40 per cent) and health care (35 per cent) are top-of-mind for voters, followed by the economy and housing at 23 per cent each.
Yet 42 per cent of those surveyed said no party would be better than the others in dealing with housing affordability or availability, while 34 per cent said the same about the cost of living and 30 per cent said so for health care.
“Cost of living (is impacting voters) personally,” Bricker said. “And they’re looking at the major political parties and they’re saying, ‘I’m not seeing anything that suggests to me that you have a plan for dealing with this.'”
Among those who made a specific choice, however, the Conservatives were seen as the party best equipped to tackle the economy and inflation (42 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively). The Liberals, meanwhile, tied with the NDP at 25 per cent as the best party to address climate change.
Bricker said the numbers spell trouble for the Liberals as they attempt to tackle multiple crises at once, while also fending off the rising Poilievre-led Conservatives and keeping voters from bleeding over to the NDP.
“The headwinds that (Trudeau) is facing, that his party and his government are facing right now, are considerable,” he said.
These are some of the findings of two Ipsos polls conducted between September 19-20, 2022, on behalf of Global News. For both surveys, a sample of 1,002 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. 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. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ 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.