Liberals best-placed to lead economic recovery, but Tories close second: survey

Published August 17, 2021 at 2:58 pm


OTTAWA — New survey results suggest Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are the top choice of Canadians to lead an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives are not far behind on the question of the most competent party to shepherd Canadians back to prosperity.

Twenty-six per cent of respondents to the survey, conducted by Leger in collaboration with The Canadian Press, said the Liberals were the best party to lead Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

Twenty-four per cent named the Conservatives, 15 per cent the New Democrats and three per cent the Greens.

Fifteen per cent said none of the major parties was best-placed to spearhead a recovery, while 18 per cent did not know who to choose.

The online survey of 2,007 Canadians, conducted Aug. 13 to 15, cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered truly random samples.

The survey was done before the release Monday of the Conservative platform, which pledged billions of dollars in fresh spending to help reinvigorate a pandemic-pillaged economy.

Andrew Enns, Leger’s executive vice-president, expected the governing Liberals to have more of a head-start on persuading voters they should lead a national recovery from the health crisis that suddenly turned livelihoods upside-down in March last year.

“If that’s going to be the issue — the ballot box question, as they say — they’ve got work to do,” Enns said.

The 36-day campaign, the shortest allowed under the election law, concludes Sept. 20.

Overall, there were no seismic shifts in voter support on the eve of the campaign, which Trudeau quickly framed as a referendum on the party most able to guide the country through the months and years after COVID-19 subsides.

Thirty-five per cent of decided voters expressed support for the Liberals, 30 per cent for the Conservatives and 20 per cent the NDP. 

Seven per cent would vote for the Bloc Québécois, which is fielding candidates only in Quebec, while five per cent supported the Greens and two per cent the People’s Party of Canada.

Thirty-eight per cent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the Trudeau government and that it is time for another party to have a chance to govern.

Another 16 per cent said they were dissatisfied with the government, but still preferred the Liberals to the alternatives.

That pool of vaguely disgruntled voters represents “low-hanging fruit” for the parties trying to unseat the Liberals, Enns said.

Trudeau raised eyebrows, and some objections, by pulling the plug on his minority government as another wave of the pandemic loomed.

Even so, 67 per cent said the prospect of voting in a summer or fall election did not worry them, while 24 per cent did express concern.

Meantime, 62 per cent of respondents said they would follow the campaign either closely or very closely.

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

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