POLL: Trudeau’s personal approval rating drops, but voters still back his federal Liberal Party

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s personal approval rating has dropped nearly 10 points since last May, but the Liberal Party of Canada has yet to take a hit, polling as strongly as it did when the Grits won a majority in the 2015 federal election, according to the latest poll from Campaign Research.

The poll showed 44 per cent of respondents said they approved of the job Mr. Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) was doing as prime minister, while 42 per cent said they did not approve, and 14 per cent said they didn’t know.

The poll was conducted online between Feb. 8 and 10—before a series of recent negative news headlines about Mr. Trudeau’s trip to India—and surveyed 2,227 Canadian voters. Online polls are not considered to be truly random, but a similar-sized random poll would have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

While still positive, Mr. Trudeau’s approval rating has slowly trended downwards over monthly polls conducted by Campaign Research since last May, when 53 per cent of respondents said they approved of the job he was doing.

However, 39 per cent of respondents still said they would vote Liberal if a federal election were held the next day, which would give the Grits roughly the same popular vote they received in the 2015 election. The Conservative Party was the choice of 32 per cent of respondents, about the same as in the 2015 election, while the NDP got the support of 16 per cent, down from the nearly 20 per cent of the popular vote the party received two years ago.

The latest poll from Nanos Research gave the federal Liberals 36.6 per cent support, the Conservatives 30.8, and the NDP 20.3. That poll was released Feb. 16, and included data aggregated from the previous four weeks.

“The prime minister is taming the heat directly and personally for all of the, sort of, issues that have come up towards the end of 2017 and into this year,” said Eli Yufest, the CEO of Toronto-based Campaign Research.

However, “there isn’t any sort of viable alternative at the party level that’s giving reason for voters to consider them,” he said.

The Liberal government and its leaders have been grilled over several controversies since last May, including accusations of a conflict of interest against Finance Minister Bill Morneau (Toronto Centre, Ont.) for a pension bill he introduced, a finding that Mr. Trudeau broke the Conflict of Interest Act when he vacationed with the Aga Khan, a backlash to planned tax changes, and more.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer (Regina-Qu’Appelle, Sask.) and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh remain relative unknowns to roughly half of Canadians, according to the poll, which showed 54 and 55 per cent, respectively, of respondents didn’t know whether either was doing a good job leading their party.

However, the fact that the Conservatives sit at 32 per cent support without a leader who is well-known is a sign that the party’s brand remains strong, with plenty of time to close the gap before next year’s federal election, said Mr. Yufest.