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After 8 years, Trudeau’s approval rate falls short of Chretien but beats out his father and Harper

By Alexandra Mae Jones

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    Toronto (CTV Network) — Canadians are split in their opinions on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to a new national poll, with two in five Canadians saying they approve of the prime minister, while slightly more than half answered that they disapprove.

A study run by Angus Reid sought to create a picture of the long-term trends of approval rates to see how Trudeau compares to his predecessors in their eighth year in office — and the results are largely favourable, despite a large percentage disapproving.

At 40 per cent approval, Trudeau has a higher approval rate than three past prime ministers at similar stages in their careers, with only Jean Chretien surpassing him.

The current approval rate comes from a survey of around 1,600 Canadian adults in early May.

Trudeau’s approval rate at the eight-year mark sits four points higher than former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s approval rate, as well as eight points higher than his father Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

Brian Mulroney had an approval of only 12 per cent of those polled eight years into his premiership. Mulroney resigned as prime minister the following year, before his party was decimated in the 1993 federal election.

However, with 55 per cent of those polled stating that they disapprove of Justin Trudeau, and a full 40 per cent selecting “strongly disapprove,” it’s clear that Canadians are far from united in their opinions on Trudeau.

Since the 1970s, nearly all prime ministers had a higher percentage of Canadians saying they disapproved of them than those who said they approved, according to this data.

The exception is Chretien, who had a 54 per cent approval rate in December of 2001, with 42 per cent of Canadians saying they disapproved of him.

OPINIONS ON TRUDEAU OVER TIME Angus Reid noted that several events this spring may have impacted Trudeau’s approval rate, such as the “launching of an investigation into foreign election interference, scrutiny over a $160,000 vacation to Jamaica, a divisive budget re-forecast, and the leaking of an admission that Canada will likely never meet its NATO obligations.”

Nevertheless, opinions on the current prime minister have remained within a few points of 40 per cent since last spring, with the lowest drop in the past year being 37 per cent in March.

In February 2020 — a month which saw massive national protests sparked by hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation challenging pipeline construction on their land and the novel coronavirus beginning to gain speed in Canada — Trudeau’s approval rate was at 33 per cent, according to the study, with a 64 per cent disapproval rate.

However, by May 2020, he had jumped to a 55 per cent approval rate, the highest he has received, according to Angus Reid’s data, between February 2020 and May 2023.

BREAKING DOWN THE DATA When broken down by political party, nearly 90 per cent of past Conservative party voters said they disapprove of Trudeau, with 81 per cent saying they “strongly” disapprove.

The majority of Liberal party voters — 80 per cent — approve of Trudeau, with 25 per cent saying they “strongly approve.” New Democrat voters have the next highest number of those who approve of Trudeau, at 53 per cent, although half of the 43 per cent who disapprove do so strongly. One in four Bloc Quebecois voters approve of Trudeau, while 68 per cent disapprove.

Trudeau’s approval rate among women has been one of the more consistent aspects of his approval over the years, according to Angus Reid. Women above the age of 55 years have consistently had the highest percentage approving of Trudeau compared to other age groups, with the approval rate for Trudeau coming in at 48 per cent when only women above 55 are counted.

Since September 2022, Trudeau has seen a dip in approval among women aged 35-54, garnering a 37 per cent approval rate from this group as of May 2023, compared to 45 per cent in September.

Trudeau’s approval rates have long been lower among men in general, with the approval rate of men aged 18-34 years in particular showing many ups and downs since the start of 2021. Currently, this age group gives Trudeau a 38 per cent approval rating, while 36 per cent of men aged 55+ approve of Trudeau, and 34 per cent of men aged 35-54 years.

METHODOLOGY

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from May 8 to 10, 2023 among a representative randomized sample of 1,603 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.

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