Justin Trudeau seen as ‘more likeable’ than other federal party leaders
By Patrick Vaillancourt, News Editor
The federal political landscape could experience a wave of Liberal red come the next federal election as polls show Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party pulling ahead of the Conservatives.
Surveys conducted by Nanos Research, which takes a rolling sample of 1,000 Canadians who have been interviewed over a four-week period, have consistently shown that Justin Trudeau is not only the more favourable choice of Canadians to be prime minister, but that his Liberal Party deserves another crack at forming government.
The Liberals have not formed a government since Paul Martin won a minority government in 2003, a government which went down in defeat to Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in 2006. Since then, the Liberals have had a series of different leaders, including Stéphane Dion, Michael Ignatieff, and finally Justin Trudeau.
On the question of who Canadians prefer as their prime minister, 29 per cent favoured Justin Trudeau, while Stephen Harper garnered 27 per cent. Official opposition leader Tom Mulcair was the choice of 19 per cent of Canadians.
While the gap between Trudeau and Harper may be close, the polls are done on a weekly basis and reported on a rolling 1,000 responses. The consistency of Trudeau’s numbers suggests that his two-point lead over the prime minister is a significant one.
The effects of the ongoing scandal in the Senate has played a role in Canadians’ perceptions of their leaders. The prime minister has seen dwindling personal popularity numbers while the NDP’s Tom Mulcair is on the rise. Mulcair’s performance in the House of Commons, particularly during Question Period, has won him some support as well.
On the question of who has the qualities to be a good leader, Trudeau and Harper both have 52 per cent. While Trudeau’s numbers have been relatively stable, Harper’s numbers are down five points. Mulcair scored 48 per cent on the leadership question, up from 43 per cent.
Much of Mulcair’s polling troubles lie in the notion that his grilling of the Prime Minister in the House of Commons is not being translated into support for his party or for his own quest to succeed Harper as prime minister. His leadership numbers are rising, but his overall popular support remains well below that of Trudeau and Harper.
While the polls have not been very good indicators of election results in recent years (as was demonstrated in the British Columbia provincial elections last year), Canadians appear to be wary of the prime minister’s leadership. The one certainty is that the Conservatives cannot afford another scandal.