Fire, fury… and failure? Canadians increasingly negative, pessimistic about rest of Trump term

Fire, fury… and failure? Canadians increasingly negative, pessimistic about rest of Trump term

Alberta more likely to offer positive assessment of administration thus far, though just three-in-ten do

January 18, 2018 – U.S. President Donald Trump began 2018 in much the same way he ended 2017: as a leader mired in controversy, insisting on his genius in the face of frequent criticism that he is damaging the office he holds.

In Canada, too, Trump’s performance as President has been uninspiring to most. A new public opinion poll from the Angus Reid Institute finds seven-in-ten Canadians (70%) expressing a negative opinion of the performance of the Trump administration, while one-in-eight (13%) say they have a positive view.

Canadians’ views of the presidency have worsened since Trump’s first few weeks in office, and more than three-quarters of respondents (77%) say they are pessimistic and worried about the three years remaining on Trump’s term.

These findings come as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government continues to seek common ground with the Trump administration on trade disputes and North Korea in the coming weeks.


More Key Findings:

  • The percentage of Canadians saying they have a “very negative” opinion of the Trump administration’s performance has increased 13 points, to 54 per cent. Just six per cent say they have a “very positive” view.
  • Three-quarters of Canadians (77%) now say they are pessimistic and worried about the Trump presidency when they look forward to the next three years. This represents a 9-point increase over the number who said this last February
  • Albertans are significantly more likely to say they have a positive view of the President and his leadership team (29%), though half (49%) still say they view it negatively overall.



  • Negative performance review for the administration so far

    • Regionally unified, except for Alberta

    • Men more positive than women

  • Pessimism for the next three years

    • Men and Conservatives rosier on the next three years

    • Hope for Trump’s term trending downward


Negative performance review for the administration so far

The Trump presidency has been like no other in United States history. The President’s bombastic nature on social media has had people around the world talking about him seemingly every day. Between the ongoing Russia investigation, the Fake News Awards, and the revolving door of White House staff, there has been no shortage of intrigue in Washington.

The President’s supporters point to a historic tax cut passed in December as his signature policy achievement. That bill, much like the president himself, is historically unpopular. The markets on Wall Street however, have responded positively to the Republican policy of deregulation, and have reached historic highs.

North of the border, the impact of the new administration has been felt too. An early 2017 attempted travel ban sent thousands of asylum seekers across the border last summer, for example. Further, Trump’s decision to pull his country from the Trans Pacific Partnership led to a significant jump in support for the idea of this country participating in a new version of that trade deal – the so called TPP 11. And ongoing negotiations for a new North American Free Trade Agreement has many business owners in this country waiting to make long terms plans.

Related: What Canadians want most from a new NAFTA


Regionally unified, except for Alberta

So how are Canadians feeling about the leader of the free world? Not great.

The most common response, offered by more than half of Canadians overall (54%), is “very negative” when asked for their overall impression of the White House since the inauguration last January. In fact, seven-in-ten Canadians say they have a negative view of the President and his administration overall.

Angus Reid Trump

Canadian opinions of the Trump administration’s performance, never particularly warm, have worsened since they were first asked just a few weeks after the inauguration. At the time, in mid-February last year, four-in-ten Canadians (41%) said they had a very negative opinion, 13 points lower than now. The graph below shows the change in public opinion over this period.

Angus Reid Trump

Canada’s conservative stronghold is where Trump finds the most support. Although, while some Albertans appear to have an affinity for the President, even here support is relatively meek. Three-in-ten (29%) say they have a positive view of Trump, double the next highest levels recorded across the country. Another 16 per cent say they have a mixed view, some good, some bad, while half of those from Wild Rose Country (49%) say they have a negative view at this point in the term:

Angus Reid Trump

Men more positive than women

While Canadians are profoundly negative in their assessment of the administration across the board, men are quite a bit more positive than women. In fact, one-in-five men (19%) say they have an overall positive view of the White House’s performance, more than double the number of women saying the same – just eight per cent. Men are also slightly more likely to offer a mixed view of the administration:

Angus Reid Trump

Notably, while the stock market has led many Canadians’ investment portfolios to flourish, that doesn’t translate to a significantly more positive assessment among higher income households. A slight increase in enthusiasm for Trump is found among households with a combined income over more than $100,000. Again, however, their sentiment is still overwhelmingly negative:

Angus Reid Trump

Pessimism for the next three years

While seven-in-ten Canadians say they hold a negative view of Team Trump after its first year, an even greater number say they are pessimistic and worried about the rest of the four-year term. Three-quarters of Canadians (77%) say this, while just one-in-four (23%) say they’re hopeful. Again, Albertans are most likely to hold a positive view, while the rest of the country hovers around the one-in-five mark for that same opinion:

Trump approval

Men and Conservatives rosier on the next three years

While no Canadian demographic is particularly hopeful for the rest of the term under the Trump administration, there are pockets of optimism to be found. Men are again more positive than women overall. They’re close to twice as likely to say so.

Trump approval

The President’s approach appears to resonate within much of Canada’s conservative population. Indeed, the highest level of hope across any demographic is among past Conservative Party voters – more than four-in-ten of whom (44%) say they are optimistic heading toward 2020. Supporters of Canada’s other two major federal parties hover closer to one-in-ten:

Trump approval

Hope for Trump trending downward

These numbers paint a picture of negativity among the Canadian public, and one that has worsened the more Canadians have seen from the US leadership. Despite their higher levels of apparent support for Trump, men represent the biggest drop in optimism between February and December of last year. Further, across gender and political affiliation, each demographic has seen waning optimism heading into year two under Trump:

Trump approval

Across each income group, a similarly negative trend is evident:

Trump approval

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.


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

Click here for the full report including tables and methodology

Click here for the questionnaire used in this survey



Shachi Kurl, Executive Director: 604.908.1693 @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Associate: 250.899.0821