Cruel Summer: Trudeau’s Liberals trail opposition CPC by seven points at midway mark of federal election cycle

Cruel Summer: Trudeau’s Liberals trail opposition CPC by seven points at midway mark of federal election cycle

Trudeau maintains personal appeal advantage over Poilievre; 39% approve of PM’s performance

August 14, 2023 – A challenging summer for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau personally, as he and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, announced they would be separating, is becoming a challenging summer politically.

A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Trudeau’s Liberal Party behind the Conservative Party of Canada among decided and leaning Canadian voters.

Currently, 38 per cent say they would support the CPC led by Pierre Poilievre. The opposition party’s lead is seen in nearly every region of the country, except in Quebec, where the Liberals edge the second-place Bloc Québécois, and Atlantic Canada.

Rampant concerns about the cost of living and housing affordability likely loom much larger in Canadians’ lives than the prime minister’s personal life — or his movie choices. But even as the CPC harvests gains from Canadians’ pocketbook pain, Poilievre continues to struggle to resonate personally. Just 36 per cent of Canadians view the opposition leader favourably. Comparatively, 39 per cent approve of Trudeau. Meanwhile, Half (52%) view Poilievre unfavourably.

More Key Findings:

  • More than two-in-five (44%) of women approve of Trudeau while half (50%) disapprove. Among men, 34 per cent approve while 64 per cent disapprove. The reverse is true for Poilievre, who holds a 44 per cent favourable versus a 50 per cent unfavourable rating among men. Among women, this rating is 28 per cent favourable and 55 per cent unfavourable.
  • Trudeau enjoys a notable nine-point jump in approval among 18- to 34-year-old women compared to June, from 36 to 45 per cent.
  • Poilievre’s favourability has not changed in almost one year of tracking. In September 2022, right after he was first elected to lead the CPC, 35 per cent of Canadians viewed him favourably, while 51 per cent held unfavourable views. Now, those figures stand at 36 per cent and 52 per cent respectively.

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.



Part One: The federal leaders

  • Liberal leader and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

  • Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre

  • NDP leader Singh and BQ leader Blanchet

Part Two: Vote intention at the mid-point in the election cycle

  • Regional results

  • The battle to maintain support among 2021 voters

  • Age and gender


Part One: The federal leaders

Liberal leader and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

With parliament on recess for the summer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s personal life has captured more headlines than his political one in recent weeks. First, came news of his separation from his wife of 18 years Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Trudeau became the first prime minister to announce a separation from his wife while in office since his father did the same in 1977.

Trudeau and family then took off for a week of vacation in B.C., after Trudeau’s son and daughter chose sides in the summer’s “Barbenheimer” debate.

While the personal stories sparked much recent intrigue, political ones simmer in the background. As Trudeau vacations on the west coast, a potential public inquiry into foreign election interference hangs over his head. Meanwhile, the ripple effects of the cannonball in the pool that was the passage of Bill C-18 continue to rock the media industry and housing affordability continues to be a top concern, despite Trudeau’s efforts to distance the federal government from the issue.

Against this backdrop, Trudeau’s approval continues to hover at two-in-five (39%), up three points from June. This may be a relief to Liberal strategists, but still represents a figure consistent with the range of approval seen in the last two years:

More striking is a significant rebound for Trudeau among younger women, from 36 per cent approval in June to 45 per cent now. Trudeau’s persistent overall advantage among women remains. Among all age groups, women are significantly more likely than their male peers to have a positive view of the prime minister. Approval among women over the age of 54 is key, given that cohort’s consistent likelihood of voting more than any other. Approval among women younger than 35, however, is more unpredictable in terms of converting to support. That said, young women, too, traditionally outvote their male counterparts:

Trudeau’s approval rate is highest in Quebec (45%) where it equals his disapproval level (47%). Everywhere else in the country the majority view is disapproval. Two-in-five (40%) strongly disapprove of the prime minister, including three-in-five in Alberta and Saskatchewan:

Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre

Conservative Party and opposition leader Pierre Poilievre has undergone a public image refurbishment in recent months. His trademark glasses are gone, and his strict business look has been replaced with an at times more casual attire. While it is early days, the makeover is so far not helping his personal brand.

Currently, 35 per cent of Canadians view Poilievre favourably, a number unchanged from June, and identical to that from last September:

While Trudeau holds an advantage among women in terms of his personal appeal, Poilievre holds the opposite, a massive advantage among men. Comparing views between similarly aged respondents, Poilievre is viewed much more favourably by men than women:

Poilievre’s strength currently stands in Alberta and Saskatchewan, while he is least favoured in Quebec, at just 24 per cent:

NDP leader Singh and BQ leader Blanchet

Meantime, both NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet play a critical role in current and potential federal political alignments. The NDP currently supports a minority Liberal government through a Confidence and Supply Agreement, and though in 2021 Singh stated his party would not be a part of a coalition, this has not stopped some from speculating about what such an arrangement would look like. Both Singh and Blanchet currently have positive ratings higher than those of Trudeau and Poilievre:

Of the party leaders of the four largest political parties in Canada, only Blanchet is viewed more favourably than not, but just barely:

Part Two: Vote intention at the mid-point in the election cycle

While Poilievre’s personal brand may not be resonating with voters, his party’s messaging on the ongoing crisis in affordability may be leading voters to look to the CPC. The 38 per cent who say they intend to vote Conservative if an election were underway represents a high-water mark for the party in the last two years and a seven-point lead over the Liberals.

One-in-five (18%) say they would vote NDP if an election were held today, consistent with their results in the 2021 federal election and polling in recent cycles:

Regional results

The CPC have made significant gains in British Columbia. There, two-in-five (41%) say they would vote Conservative in a potential election. B.C. continues to represent a key region on the electoral map as it was near evenly divided in vote (33% CPC, 29% NDP, 27% Liberal) and seats (13 CPC, 15 Liberal and 13 NDP) in the 2021 election. Poilievre’s Conservatives are slightly ahead in Ontario while maintaining the party’s traditional prairie stronghold.

The Liberals lead in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. In the latter, the lead is a narrow one over the second place Bloc:

The battle to maintain support among 2021 voters

The Conservatives under Poilievre continue to hold ground among the party’s 2021 voters better than any of the Liberals, NDP or Bloc Québécois. They also have siphoned off potential support of at least 10 per cent from those three other parties. The NDP fare the worst by this metric, with only seven-in-ten 2021 NDP voters saying they would repeat a vote for the party if an election were held today. This may represent a saving grace for the Liberals:

*Smaller sample size, interpret with caution

Age and gender

Men of all ages are currently propelling the CPC to its advantageous position, as that party holds a considerable lead within each group. The situation is less clear among women. Younger female voters place the CPC third, offering high levels of support to the NDP (41%). Meantime, women between the ages of 35 and 54 are closely divided between all three major parties, while their older peers give the Liberals an eight-point edge over the CPC (41% to 33%):

Survey Methodology:

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Aug. 8 – 11, 2023 among a representative randomized sample of 1,606 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.

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

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here

To read the questionnaire, click here.

Image – Adam Scotti/PMO


Shachi Kurl, President: 604.908.1693 @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821

Jon Roe, Research Associate: 825.437.1147

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