Despite having cleared the halfway point of their mandate, the governing Liberal Party has maintained its lead over the Conservatives, according to the first poll of 2018 performed by Abacus Data.
Support for the party has been dented, but not irreparably damaged, with the Liberals commanding a lead of 38 per cent compared to the Conservatives’ 32 per cent. The numbers reveal that despite the controversies that swarmed Justin Trudeau’s government in 2017, the damage isn’t substantial. The NDP, meanwhile, languished at 18 per cent support, despite the election of a new party leader, Jagmeet Singh, in October 2017.
And they are in an advantageous position to win the next election based on the current polling data. In Quebec and British Columbia, more people want to see the party reelected than voted for it in 2015. The Liberals largely held onto their support in Ontario, seeing a one point drop in comparison. The numbers suggest that the Liberals will have even more room to grow in two of Canada’s three most populous provinces. More people say they want to reelect the Liberals than voted for them in 2015.
Nationwide, 75 per cent of Liberal voters wanted the government re-elected, along with 47 per cent of NDP voters. The overwhelming majority of Conservative voters, 91 per cent, said they wanted a change in government.
Furthermore, the prime minister remains the most prominent of all the party leaders. Love him or hate him, Canadians know who he is, where he is and what he’s doing. Nearly half of respondents, 47 per cent, say they have a positive impression of the prime minister, while 31 per cent said they had a negative one.
Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer remains relatively obscure, with 25 per cent having a positive impression of him and 24 per cent having a negative impression. Canadians have a 24 per cent positive impression of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and a 22 per cent negative impression. “Both opposition leaders enjoy low negatives, although they have the handicap of low visibility,” says Bruce Anderson, chairman of Abacus Data. “The numbers also are another reminder that attacking Justin Trudeau has not proven hugely successful.”
A plurality of Canadians also say they are happy with the government’s performance so far. Nearly half of voters, 48 per cent, say that they approve of the government, while 33 per cent say they don’t. Support was strongest in the Maritime provinces, where the Liberals swept all 32 seats in 2015. And predictably, it was weakest in the Alberta.
With the elections just under two years away, Canadians will be assessing what the Liberals do with their remaining time in office. In the meantime, which party do you support?