Minority Management: Half of Canadians expect another federal election within two years

Minority Management: Half of Canadians expect another federal election within two years

Liberals hold five-point edge in vote intention; two-in-five approve of Trudeau


January 27, 2022 – Months after a fall election that returned a second minority mandate in a row, most Canadians believe they’ll be returning to the polls sooner rather than later.

Since 2004, voters have cast ballots in seven federal elections. Only two have resulted in majority governments. Now, new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds more than half (54%) believe they’ll be voting for their member of Parliament an eighth time before 2023 is over.

Much remains in flux for the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau-led Liberal minority government as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 still spreads in the country. More people believe Trudeau (48%) and the federal government (49%) are handling the pandemic well than aren’t (each 45%). For the federal government, however, that represents a declining approval rating on COVID-19, and that’s before accounting for the recent anger over the vaccine mandate for truckers.

Meanwhile, fewer Canadians approve of Trudeau in general (42%) than approve of his handling of the pandemic. He begins the year with lower approval than he did in 2020 (43%) and 2021 (50%).

Still, Trudeau is faring better on that front than the leader of the official opposition, Erin O’Toole. One-quarter (26%) of Canadians say they have favourable views of O’Toole, a slight recovery from the post-election low of 24 per cent, but still well below levels seen during the federal election. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (51%) remains the most positively viewed federal leader.

There has been little movement in vote intention as the country nears the end of the first month of 2022. One-third (34%) of Canadians say they would vote Liberal in an upcoming election, 29 per cent would vote Conservative and 20 per cent would vote NDP. Those numbers are near identical to those seen in the last months of 2022.

More Key Findings:

  • Seven-in-ten (68%) of past Conservative voters expect the minority government to last less than two years, while few (9%) expect a full four-term under the Liberals.
  • Those in Alberta and Saskatchewan are the least likely to offer Trudeau and the federal government a thumbs up on their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • There remains a significant gap between how O’Toole is viewed by past voters of his own party when compared to other party leaders. Two-thirds (65%) of past CPC voters offer positive assessments of O’Toole. Past NDP (90%), Bloc Québécois (86%) and Liberal (86%) voters offer much higher grades to their own leaders.

 

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.

Note: Because its small population precludes drawing discrete samples over multiple waves, data on Prince Edward Island is not released.

 

INDEX

Part One: Canadians split on Trudeau, federal government’s COVID-19 handling

Part Two: How long will this minority government last?

  • Slight bump in Trudeau’s favourability

Part Three: Vote intention virtually unchanged since November

  • Age and gender

  • The regional story

 

Part One: Canadians split on Trudeau, federal government’s COVID-19 handling

Half of Canadians believe Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (48%) and the federal government (49%) are doing a good job handling the COVID-19, slightly more than those who believe (45%) otherwise. Overall, the numbers for both the prime minister and the government he leads are nearly identical.

Notably, however, these data were taken prior to the reversal and re-announcement by the Canada Border Services Agency that truck drivers would need to be fully vaccinated before they crossed the border into Canada. The vaccine mandate for truck drivers has inspired a “freedom convoy” driving across the country to Ottawa to protest.

Throughout most of the pandemic, the federal government’s handling of the COVID-19 response has received slightly higher approval than Trudeau himself. Indeed, while Trudeau’s approval has remained relatively flat since December, the number of Canadians who say the federal government has done a good job handling COVID-19 has declined by six points. Provincial governments have tried to redirect blame on the lack of rapid tests in their jurisdictions, which is on the federal government to procure and distribute:

Across the country, those in Alberta and Saskatchewan are less likely to offer praise to the federal government or Trudeau for their handling of COVID-19. Majorities in Quebec and Atlantic Canada say both have done a good job (see detailed tables).

Part Two: How long will this minority government last?

Canadians are now intimately familiar with living with a minority parliament. Since 2003, when the Progressive Conservative and Reform parties formed the united federal Conservative Party, five out of the seven elections held have returned minority governments to parliament. Prior to that, in 37 elections between 1867 and 2000, only 10 resulted in minority governments.

When asked how long they expect this one will last, half (54%) say it will fall sometime in the next two years, including approaching one-in-five (17%) who believe there will be another election in the next year. Three-in-ten (31%) are more optimistic this parliament will hold past that, including 14 per cent who believe the Liberals will get a full four-year term.

Past Conservative voters are more likely to believe Canadians will be back to the polls sooner rather than later. Seven-in-ten (68%) expect the minority government to last less than two years, while few (9%) expect a full four-term under the Liberals. Conversely, one-in-five (21%) of those who voted Liberal in the fall election expect the government to last the full four years and a further one-in-five (22%) see at least two years under Liberal minority rule:

After the 2019 election, Canadians were asked the same question. They were less likely to predict an immediate election. Two-in-five (41%) said they expected the government to last 18 months to two years or more than two years, but less than a full term. The Liberals were in power for 22 months.

This time, there are more Canadians who throw up their hands and are unsure what to expect:

Slight bump in Trudeau’s approval

Two-in-five (42%) say they approve of Trudeau, a six-point rise since the election was held. Still, the prime minister’s approval starts 2022 at a lower point than it did in 2020 and 2021:

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh remains the most positively viewed federal leader, though notably these data were observed prior to the controversy around Singh tagging a furniture company in an Instagram post after his wife Gurkiran Kaur Sidhu received a rocking chair as a gift for posting about it on her own Instagram page. Half (51%) say they view Singh favourably.

Blanchet’s favourability has declined somewhat from November, while O’Toole’s has rebounded slightly from the valley seen after the election:

O’Toole’s bump in favourability is also seen among CPC supporters. Two-thirds (65%) of those who voted Conservative in September say they have positive assessments of the party’s leader, while one-quarter (27%) view him unfavourably. However, that is still a significant decrease in party supporters who viewed him favourably, and an increase in those who view him unfavourably, from the election period.

The Conservative leader faces criticism for taking an ambiguous position on the trucker protest, as party MPs publicly back the movement. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan Conservatives confirmed Senator Denise Batters as part of their caucus after O’Toole ousted her from the national one. Batters had called for an early review of O’Toole’s leadership, a call now being echoed by three riding associations. All this suggests continued division in the Conservative ranks.

There remains a significant gap between O’Toole’s favourability among his party’s past voters when compared to the leaders of Canada’s other major political parties. Nearly all of NDP supporters (90%) view Singh favourably, and slightly less but still most past Liberal (86%) and Bloc voters (86%) say the same of their leaders:

*Trudeau is measured by approval rather than favourability

Part Three: Vote intention virtually unchanged since November

When asked how they would vote if an election were held tomorrow, one-third of Canadians (34%) say they would vote for the Liberals, three-in-ten (29%) would vote Conservative, and one-in-five (20%) would vote for the NDP. Those numbers are virtually unchanged from data observed in November.

Since the last federal election was held in September last year, the Conservatives have trailed the Liberals in voting intention. Notably the 29 per cent who say they would vote Conservative in an upcoming election is about four points less than the percentage of votes the party received in September.

Age and gender

A plurality of men of all ages would vote Conservative while a plurality women aged 35 and older would vote Liberal. Two-in-five women between the ages of 18- and 34-years-old say they would vote for Singh and the NDP:

The regional story

In Quebec, a majority (55%) believe Trudeau has done a good job handling the pandemic, one of the highest rates in the country (see detailed tables). These views are reflected in current vote intent. Elsewhere, the Liberals enjoy plurality support in Atlantic Canada and Ontario, while half of those in Alberta (48%) and Saskatchewan (51%) would vote Conservative if an election were held:

Survey Methodology:

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Jan. 7-12, 2022 among a representative randomized sample of 5,002 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 +/- 2.0 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.

Note: Because its small population precludes drawing discrete samples over multiple waves, data on Prince Edward Island is not released.

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 in English and French, click here.

Image – Dennis Sylvester Hurd/Flickr

MEDIA CONTACT:

Shachi Kurl, President: 604.908.1693 shachi.kurl@angusreid.org @shachikurl

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


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