Canadians equally divided over whether they approve or disapprove Trudeau

Promising news about a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer, of which Canada has already purchased 20 million doses has been met with ebullience on Bay Street and cautious enthusiasm in Ottawa.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the development a potential “light at the end of the tunnel” he’s also underscored the end of the pandemic remains out of sight.

As Canadians head into what is shaping up to be a long and challenging winter, the latest study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds most say the federal government continues to handle the COVID-19 pandemic well. Two-thirds say the government has done a good job -a level relatively unchanged since late March.

Further, with opposition criticism over the WE Charity scandal on an apparent hiatus, Trudeau’s personal approval has recovered to 49 per cent, having sat in the mid-40’s over the summer.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the first world leader to call and congratulate President Elect Joe Biden on his victory in the American election. The two leaders discussed a shared commitment to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the ongoing challenge of climate change.

While the next U.S. President is most likely to be sworn in on January 20, 2021, Trudeau and his Liberal government govern with a minority mandate at home. This situation, and the recent successes of incumbent governments in three provincial elections during the pandemic, have led some to suggest that the Liberal Party may welcome an election.

That said, the vote intention picture remains extremely competitive. Currently 35 per cent of Canadians say they would cast a ballot for the incumbent Liberals if an election were held, while a near identical 33 per cent say they would support the Conservative Party. One-in-five (18%) prefer the New Democratic Party, while the Bloc Quebecois remain competitive in Quebec.

More Key Findings from the study:

  • Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole’s favourable rating has increased six points since early September (30% to 36%), but his unfavourable rating has increased nine (31% to 40%).
  • NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is viewed favourably by 49 per cent of Canadians and unfavourably by 41 per cent. New Green Party leader Annamie Paul remains relatively unknown among the public (50% say this)
  • COVID-19 and healthcare are chosen by a wide margin as the top two issues facing Canada currently. Climate change and the economy are atop the second tier of important issues, but well behind the top two.

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