Liberals and Trudeau favoured over NDP to be next government, but Harper could still win: Ipsos Reid poll

Justin Trudeau  Photo by Chandra Bodalia
Justin Trudeau
Photo by Chandra Bodalia

HEADING into an election year, a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of Global News has revealed that NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has a higher approval rating than Trudeau and Harper, but the Liberals and Trudeau are favoured over the NDP to be the next government.

An Ipsos Reid / Global News poll released earlier in December had the Liberals (34%) and Conservatives (33%) tied in popular vote with the NDP (24%), Bloc (5%) and other parties (4%) trailing. But when it comes to approval of their leader’s individual performance, approval of Thomas Mulcair as Leader of the Opposition and NDP (57% — 12% strongly/45% somewhat, up 13 points from two years ago) bests Justin Trudeau as leader of the Liberals (55% — 14% strongly/41% somewhat) and Prime Minister Stephen Harper (49% — 16% approve/34% somewhat, up 4 points).

While Harper’s approval rating trails his chief rivals at 49%, since the 35th General Election of 1993, majority outcomes have ranged from 38.5% to 40.8% of all ballots cast. This suggests that if the Prime Minister can convert approval of his performance into votes, the Conservatives will have a strong chance at re-election in 2015.

Harper’s approval rating also falls in the middle of the approval ratings that Canadians assign to their respective provincial Premier: 59% of Albertans approve of their Premier’s performance, followed by those living in Atlantic Canada (58%), Ontario (50%), Quebec (41%), British Columbia (37%) and Saskatchewan/Manitoba (35%).

Trudeau’s Liberals Seen as More Ready to Govern than Mulcair’s NDP…

The strong approval rating for Thomas Mulcair does not appear to be translating into votes, the belief that the he’s ready to be Prime Minister, or that the NDP is ready to govern. On these metrics, Justin Trudeau and the Liberals are in a stronger position. Four in ten (44%) ‘agree’ (14% strongly/30% somewhat) that ‘the Justin Trudeau is ready to be Prime Minister’ (up 5 points from last year), and an equal proportion (44%) ‘agrees’ (14% strongly/30% somewhat) that ‘the Liberal Party is ready to be Canada’s next government’ (unchanged).

In contrast, just 36% ‘agree’ (10% strongly/26% somewhat) that Thomas Mulcair is ready to be Prime Minister, and 37% ‘agree’ (11% strongly/26% somewhat) that the NDP is ready to be the next government’ (down 1 point).

Still, Canadians are not entirely convinced that either party is ready, as a majority (56%) ‘disagrees’ (30% strongly/26% somewhat) that Trudeau is ready to be Prime Minister, down 5 points, and that the Liberals are ready to be the next government (56% disagree – 28% strongly/29% somewhat), unchanged. Two thirds (63%) disagree (29% strongly/33% somewhat) that the NDP is ready to be the next government, up 1 point, and that Mulcair is ready to be PM (64% disagree – 27% strongly/37% somewhat).

The poll also shows that more Canadians agree that they share ‘Justin Trudeau and the Liberal’s values when it comes to where Canada should be headed’ (48% agree – 11% strongly/37% somewhat, unchanged) than share Mulcair and the NDP’s values (43% agree – 10% strongly/33% somewhat, down 4 points). By comparison, Stephen Harper’s values are aligned with 44% of Canadians who agree (12% strongly/32% somewhat), up 5 points. Similarly, more believe that Trudeau’s policies are innovative and forward thinking (51% agree – 11% strongly/39% somewhat, down 1 point) than Mulcair’s polices (45% agree – 8% strongly/37% somewhat).

Harper Still has Edge on Economy…

The economy has been the focus of the Conservative government, and on this file they still appear to have an edge. In fact, an Ipsos Reid poll released yesterday showed that 51% approve of the Harper government’s handling of the economy. In contrast, only 45% of Canadians ‘agree’ (10% strongly/34% somewhat) that they trust Justin Trudeau and the Liberals to do a good job of managing Canada’s economy’ (up 1 point), and 43% ‘agree’ (10% strongly/33% somewhat) that they trust Mulcair and the NDP to do a good job managing the economy (down 2 points).