Winter of Discontent: As Justin Trudeau’s approval deteriorates, can his rivals make gains?

TORONTO – At the end of what has been a challenging and at times chaotic year across the federal political landscape, Canadian approval of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to decline.

With less than a year before an expected election, the number of people who favour Trudeau has fallen to 35 per cent, down from 46 per cent this time a year ago.

For the first time since October 2015, someone other than Trudeau is seen as best PM

For the first time since October 2015, he is no longer seen as the national party leader who would be the best prime minister. That mantle now narrowly rests with Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leader Andrew Scheer (33% prefer Scheer; 27% Trudeau), although many say they don’t know just who would be ideal in the top job (26%).

Underlying the downward shift in the PM’s approval is a tumultuous twelve months that saw his government face criticism for its handling of a number of key files, including pipelinestrade negotiations, and irregular border crossings.

More Key Findings:

  • Asked to name the top issue facing the country today, Canadians are most likely to say it is “the deficit/government spending” (28% do, compared to 21% each for the economy, environment/pollution, and health care)
  • Younger Canadians, who were outliers in their majority approval of Trudeau until now, appear to have lost some Liberal love. The Prime Minister’s approval drops to 42 per cent among 18-34-year-olds, from 56 per cent last year at this time
  • NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer remain a question mark to significant segments of potential voters. But while Singh holds the approval of just one-in-five (21%), Scheer’s approval is tied with Trudeau’s (36%)