Approval of prime minister, premiers soars amid coronavirus response: Ipsos poll

Canadians are giving their political leaders high marks for their handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to an exclusive Ipsos poll conducted for Global News.

Nearly three out of four Canadians (74 per cent) approve of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s handling of the crisis, according to the poll.

An even greater number in most provinces — a combined 84 per cent — said they approve of their own premiers’ handling of the pandemic.

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“As much as we complain about government in this country … the truth is when something like what we’re seeing with with the COVID-19 crisis happens, the universal institution of choice for people to turn to for help is the government,” said Ipsos Public Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker.

“When governments actually deliver what it is that they hope governments are going to be able to deliver, the public responds positively.”

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Not surprisingly nearly all (97 per cent) of Liberal voters gave Trudeau top marks, but a majority of NDP voters (71 per cent) along with 54 per cent of Bloc supporters also approve of the prime minister’s performance.

Just under half of Conservative Party voters (46 per cent) said they approve of the way Trudeau is handling the situation.

Bricker said programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), tax relief and loans for small business are all tangible ways the federal government has been able to intervene to help during the crisis.

He said that’s translated into a nearly 30-point jump in Trudeau’s approval since the 2019 election.

At a provincial level, the poll found most Canadians responding even more favourably to governments’ response to the crisis.

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In Quebec, Premier François Legault earned an eye-popping 96 per cent approval rating.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I’ve never seen anybody on a poll get 96 per cent approval,” Bricker told Global News.

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While COVID-19 has hit Quebec particularly hard, Bricker said Legault has been able to connect with people in an authentic way during the crisis.

“As a result, Quebeckers have really lined up almost unanimously,” he said.

The poll found 79 per cent of Quebec residents backed Trudeau’s handling of the crisis.

In Ontario, the COVID-19 crisis has translated into a remarkable political revival for Premier Doug Ford, who has had a difficult couple of years since winning a majority government in 2018.

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The poll found 83 per cent of Ontarians approve of Ford’s handling of the pandemic.

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Bricker said that’s a nearly 50-per cent jump in approval in just a few months, something he credited to Ford’s “small town appeal.”

“He has a plain-speaking way of talking to Ontarians, he’s demonstrated himself as a man of action — when he’s seen some things that have been irritating to him, he’s acted very promptly on them,” he said.

“Even today, we were seeing pictures of him going to warehouses and picking up masks to take to workers.”

The poll found 75 per cent of Ontarians backed Trudeau’s handling of the crisis.

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The lowest marks for both Trudeau and a provincial premier came from Alberta.

Just 61 per cent of Albertans support Trudeau’s handling of the pandemic, while 67 per cent approved of Premier Jason Kenney.

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Bricker said those numbers likely reflect the devastating economic situation in the western province.

“The problems in the province of Alberta are beyond just the issue of dealing with the coronavirus. They have deep, deep issues relative to the very structure of their economy,” Bricker said.

“Sixty-seven per cent, by the way, is still really strong — six points out of the prime minister, but compared to other premiers he is having more of a struggle.”

Like Ontario’s premier, B.C. Premier John Horgan also won 83 per cent approval for his handling of the crisis.

However, Bricker warned that Horgan — along with Trudeau and other top performing premiers — could run into trouble based on those high-flying numbers.

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“The expectations are now very, very high,” he said.

“If these things don’t transpire in the way that they’ve been promised, there’s going to be difficulty for both the provincial premiers and for the prime minister.”

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British Columbians gave Trudeau the second best marks on his handling of the crisis, with 78 per cent approval.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba have the second least confidence in the federal government’s handling of the crisis, with 65 per cent saying they approved of Trudeau’s job.

The prairie provinces expressed much stronger confidence in their own premiers, giving them 78 per cent approval for their handling of the pandemic.

In Atlantic Canada, 68 per cent said they approved of Trudeau’s job, while 77 per cent said they approved of their own premier’s handling of the crisis.

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.”

This Ipsos poll on behalf of Global News was an online survey of 1,006 Canadians conducted between Apr. 3-7. The results were weighted to better reflect the composition of the adult Canadian population, according to census data. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.