Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Justin Trudeau still in strong position in polls, but recent drop suggests vulnerability


For most of 2016, public support for Justin Trudeau's Liberals appeared to be invulnerable to the slings and arrows of the opposition. But a series of recent polls suggests some of the attacks might be leaving a mark — though the extent of the damage isn't entirely clear just yet.

The first indication of Trudeau's troubles came a little over a week ago in a Forum Research poll conducted for the Toronto Star. It was the first survey done in the aftermath of the government's decision to approve two oil pipelines and reject a third. It was also taken as the controversy surrounding the prime minister's attendance at $1,500-per-ticket fundraising events was in full tilt.

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5 comments:

  1. I think Eric it's almost inevitable that as time passes from an election the winning party will lose support.

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  2. And yet your own numbers on the support polls show the Liberals almost 20 points ahead of their nearest competitor the Conservatives. So I think we can all relax.

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  3. Peter -- when Chretien was in power, the Liberals would poll significantly better between elections than they would get on election day. Perhaps this was because the opposition parties were divided and had leadership issues, leading to a low profile and mainly negative coverage between elections. After 1993, the Progressive Conservatives were in perpetual existential crisis between elections and cycled through three leaders. Even Quebec independence supporters questioned the Bloc's purpose for being in the federal parliament when they did not support the premise of federalism. The NDP went through several leadership elections. The Reform Party went through its own existential crisis in rebranding as the Canadian Alliance, while Stockwell Day had a dozen caucus members caucus break away for a time. These problems were the only main news generated by the opposition, and so government support stayed sky-high. When election time came, the media gave more attention to the opposition leaders and their platforms.

    There are some parallels today, with the Conservatives and NDP in outrageously long leadership campaigns that have generated little interest, the Bloc in existential crisis without official party status, and even the Green leader questioning out loud whether she should stay or go.

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  4. The honeymoon is definitely waning. Some particularly bad numbers for the Liberals on the economy and standard of living but, the cash-for-access scandal is the real danger for Trudeau: It sure looks as if the Liberals have learned nothing and forgotten nothing in terms of fund-raising. Electoral reform may also come back to bite le petit Trudeau a la derriere. Many Dippers and others voted for the Liberals based on their promise of electoral reform. If the New Democrats, Greens and Others who supported the Liberals in 2015 return to their natural homes victory in 2019 becomes very difficult. Liberals win when the NDP is weak and Tories win when the NDP is strong. The NDP is still in very serious trouble but, if Justin keeps giving them slow pitches on ethics, pipelines and electoral reform 13% may prove to be a bottom for the Dippers. The Dippers aren't out of the woods yet but, Justin's and Liberal incompetence may have put a stop to NDP bleeding.

    The BQ is in real trouble. 70% of Quebeckers tell pollsters they would vote "Non"; clearly a radically new strategy is needed for the BQ-PQ and separation ideology in general. On both the provincial and federal scene the "Nationalist" vote is split. Provincially the PQ and CAQ are tied for the role of lead nationalist voice with a QS add-on. And a three-way split federally between the BQ, Conservatives and NDP. The federal and provincial scene mirror one another almost identically.

    Of the six "Nationalist" parties: CPC, CAQ, QS, NDP, BQ, PQ; three are opoosed to separation and three in favour but, the QS has as a main focus Socialism not separatism. The focus of Quebec nationalism seems to be moving away from complete independence into Autonomism. I'm not sure the BQ and PQ have much of a future when nationalism evolves from separation to self-government even with greater powers. A split Quebec vote helps Liberals to a point. The fear of separation draw many "loose Liberals" (those who would consider voting for other parties) toward the Liberals to prevent catastrophe. With separation a remote possibility some federalist may vote for their "first choice" CAQ, QS, NDP, CPC without fear. This is a particularly dangerous scenario for M. Couillard whose Government is far from universally popular. My take is that Quebec nationalism is moving toward the autonomatism advocated by the Union National; where Quebec's place in Canada isn't questioned but, the role, scope and powers of that place are up for debate.

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  5. Goalie
    I agree with most of your comments but point out that Justin is a much different person from those you have named. The party probably hasn't changed that much but the leader is a different story for sure.

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