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Trudeau’s blackface shame darkens Liberal prospects, yet CPC support still remains static

The question was not whether damning revelations that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had participated in the demeaning act of blackface (not once, but on at least three occasions) would hurt Liberal re-election prospects in this election campaign, but how much?

Canadian voters have now had the better part of a week to consider the prime minister’s past behaviour and his subsequent apologies.

As a result, new polling data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute exposes a vote landscape wherein the incumbent Liberals have once again yielded some support among a key demographics – younger voters – namely to the Green Party – and overall, in the battleground province of Quebec.

But while opinions of Trudeau have worsened and as the governing party once again sees its key left-of-centre base drift, other signs show the Liberals and their leader may have enough time to recover from this embarrassing disclosure.

To begin, the Conservative Party is seeing no gains from last week. While the party’s loyal and motivated base remains steady, leader Andrew Scheer remains unable to persuade voters unhappy with Trudeau to look at the CPC.

Further, Trudeau has given no ground on the key question of which of the two main party leaders would make best prime minister. And notably, the Liberals hold a slight lead in vote intention among Canadians who identify as visible minorities.

The outstanding questions heading into the third week of the campaign continue to be whether the Liberals can (once again) pull the left of centre base back together, and whether Trudeau, bruised a damaging week on the campaign trail, can convince younger voters to cast ballots come voting time.

More Key Findings:

  • The Liberal Party has lost support in Quebec over the past week, but still hold a 12-point advantage in that province. In Ontario, vote intention remains near identical to last week, with the Liberals and CPC both garnering support from 35 per cent of voters
  • As was the case one week ago, Trudeau and Scheer are locked in a statistical tie (52 versus 48 per cent respectively) on the question of which head of the two leading parties would of the best prospect for the top job
  • After losing a portion of their 2015 voting based in every poll since April of this year, the NDP has gained in vote retention after the blackface scandal. Half of 2015 New Democrats (51%) say they will support he party again, up from 44 per cent last week

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