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COVID-19 creates comfort zone for incumbent governments coast to coast

While provincial governments cannot yet claim full victory in the long and ongoing fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, their electoral positions are apparently gaining ground.

A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds that at least seven-in-ten residents in every region of the country say their province has done a good job in handling COVID-19.

Further, and likely owing in part to that satisfaction, in each of the provinces canvassed, the governing party holds a vote intention advantage of at least six points. In Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, the impact has been considerable, with the respective parties of the Ford, Horgan and Legault governments now each enjoying more than a 15-point lead.

Political fortunes can turn on a dime, however, and longer-term assessments of issues may portend challenges for some governments, even if they are currently the top choice of constituents.

In Alberta, just 43 per cent of residents say the United Conservative Party has done a good job of handling the economy, in Newfoundland and Labrador that number drops to just 32 per cent in assessing Dwight Ball’s governing Liberal Party. And while it has dropped down the list of priorities during the pandemic, climate change remains a top issue – one over which few provincial governments appear to be hitting the mark. Just 43 per cent of Canadians say their provincial government has handled climate and environmental issues well, dropping to just 35 per cent in Ontario.

More Key Findings:

  • Provincial governments in New Brunswick (91%), Newfoundland and Labrador (89%) and British Columbia (87%) garner the largest number of residents saying they have responded well to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • Just over one-in-three Canadians (36%) feel their province is acting too quickly to open up businesses and institutions that were shut down to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This sentiment rises to 45 per cent in Ontario
  • Half of Canadians (53%) say their province is doing a good job on health care, but just one-in-three (33%) say this when it comes to the seniors file

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