Federal Politics: Justin Trudeau’s handling of COVID-19 crisis lifts his approval to highest level since 2017

by David Korzinski | April 21, 2020 8:00 pm

While election call is highly unlikely in near future, Liberals lead CPC by 3 points among decided voters

April 22, 2020 – Justin Trudeau has been no stranger to a sustained profile on the national stage. But more than one month into an unprecedented national shutdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Prime Minister’s front-and-centre presence at daily briefings has caused his approval ratings to do something they have not done in nearly two years: crack the majority mark.

The latest study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds 54 per cent of Canadians now endorse him, a 21-point increase since the end of February.

While the Institute acknowledges the chance of a snap election call to replace this minority government anytime soon is almost-nil – it is worth noting that Trudeau’s recent surge in popularity does not necessarily translate into a significant advantage for the fortunes of the Liberal Party among would-be voters.

The governing party is now in a statistical tie, holding a slight advantage over the opposition Conservative Party (29% to 27%). A considerable group of Canadians say they are not sure who they would support if an election were held (16%). Looking only at decided voters, the Liberals lead by three points: 36 per cent to 33 per cent over the CPC.

More Key Findings:

About ARI

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.


Trudeau’s approval up 21 points

When the Angus Reid Institute last surveyed[1] Canadians asking their approval of the Prime Minister, the COVID-19 outbreak was still in its infancy, with infections centred in China and surrounding areas. Since then, its impact on Canada, like many other countries, has been widely felt. Trudeau has continually urged Canadians to do their part to “flatten the curve”, while his government seeks measures to mitigate widespread economic damage. This has included the unprecedented closing of Canada’s borders, mandatory quarantine for Canadians returning from abroad, and an $82 billion aid package[2] (with billions more[3] for other projects announced).

Canadians appear, thus far, to be satisfied with the Trudeau government’s management of the pandemic. In addition to the 62 per cent who recently said the Prime Minister himself has done a good job on that specific issue[4], his approval has also risen 21 points over the past two months:

Multiple crises led to a number of swings in approval for Trudeau this year. His handling of the Iran plane crash in early January[5], for instance, led to a temporary seven-point boost, but nationwide blockades and protests due to the Coastal Gaslink-Wet’suwet’en dispute in late February triggered a double digit drop[6].

Notably, this latest rating of 54 per cent is a level he hasn’t achieved in nearly three years:

Trudeau’s highest approval is found in Ontario, British Columbia, and Atlantic Canada, reaching at least 58 per cent in each region. Quebec and Manitoba residents are divided, with half approving and close to half disapproving in each province. Albertans and those in Saskatchewan continue to disapprove of the PM:

Past Bloc Quebecois voters and past Conservatives are close to equally negative in their assessment of the Prime Minister, while he fares much better with his own past voters and NDP supporters:

Perhaps the most notable change in approval of the Prime Minister is found when looking at the age-related data. Trudeau’s approval is up 23 points among those ages 55 and over, and now places him above a majority with all age groups, something that last happened in March of 2017:

Age and gender combinations show a different story. Women of all age are more supportive of Trudeau, while men are either divided, or lean toward disapproval:

Vote Intention

While politics is not a high priority for most Canadians right now, it is worth considering the current sentiments of voters in a minority government situation.

Asked which party they would support in an election, the Liberals hold a two-point advantage over the Conservatives, while a considerable number of Canadians – 16 per cent – say that they are undecided at this point:

Regionally, the picture is competitive in British Columbia, with the NDP in the mix. The Conservatives hold substantial advantages in Alberta and the Prairies, while the Liberals lead the CPC in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada:

The Liberals perform best with women, holding an advantage over the CPC among each age group among that gender, though trailing the NDP among young women. Meanwhile, the Conservatives are the top option among all male age groups:

Looking at decided voters, the Liberal advantage gains one more point over the CPC (36 per cent to 33 per cent). The NDP are supported by 17 per cent of Canadians, while the Green Party is supported by four per cent:

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.[7]

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here.[8]

Click here for the questionnaire used in this survey.[9]


Shachi Kurl, Executive Director: 604.908.1693 shachi.kurl@angusreid.org[10] @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821 dave.korzinski@angusreid.org[11]

  1. last surveyed: http://angusreid.org/federal-issues-february2020/
  2. an $82 billion aid package: https://globalnews.ca/news/6728936/coronavirus-canada-emergency-legislation/
  3. billions more: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/financial-aid-covid19-trudeau-1.5535629
  4. a good job on that specific issue: http://angusreid.org/covid19-return-to-normal/
  5. early January: http://angusreid.org/flight-752-iran-canada-relations/
  6. double digit drop: http://angusreid.org/federal-issues-february2020/
  7. click here.: http://angusreid.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020.04.22_federal_release-table.pdf
  8. click here.: http://angusreid.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020.04.22_COVID-federal.pdf
  9. Click here for the questionnaire used in this survey.: http://angusreid.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020.04.20_COVID_politics_sports_Qnaire.pdf
  10. shachi.kurl@angusreid.org: mailto:shachi.kurl@angusreid.org
  11. dave.korzinski@angusreid.org: mailto:dave.korzinski@angusreid.org

Source URL: https://angusreid.org/federal-issues-april-2020/