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As Justin Trudeau’s approval deteriorates, can his rivals make gains?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pauses for a selfie during a visit with BC Wildfire Service employees and local politicians in Prince George Thursday morning. Bill Phillips photo

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, 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 per cent prefer Scheer; 27 per cent Trudeau), although many say they don’t know just who would be ideal in the top job (26 per cent).

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 pipelines, trade 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 per cent do, compared to 21 per cent 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 per cent), Scheer’s approval is tied with Trudeau’s (36 per cent)

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