Though he isn’t the leader most trusted to handle certain issues, Justin Trudeau does represent a serious threat to Thomas Mulcair as the go-to alternative to the Harper Conservatives, according to a new poll.

The Nanos survey for CBC’s Power and Politics conducted earlier this month suggests Trudeau stacks up very well against current Canadian leaders on questions of trade agreements, taxes and the environment.

But when it comes to taxes, a top issue for Canadians, none of our leaders are seen as up to the task. A plurality of Canadians said they trusted none of the current crop of leaders or Trudeau to spend taxes wisely, at 26 per cent. Stephen Harper came second, with 18 per cent, while Thomas Mulcair and Trudeau each scored 17 per cent on the question.

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  • The following data comes from<a href="http://www.nanosresearch.com/library/polls/POLNAT-W12-T559E.pdf" target="_hplink"> a Nanos Research telephone survey for CBC's Power and Politics of 1,000 Canadians</a> 18 years or older. It was taken between October 13 and 14, 2012.

  • 5. Daniel Paillé - 1.1 per cent

  • 4. Elizabeth May - 5.5 per cent

  • Undecided - 15.7 per cent

  • 3. Justin Trudeau - 16.7 per cent

  • 2. Thomas Mulcair - 17.2 per cent

  • 1. Stephen Harper - 18.3 per cent

  • None Of Them - 25.6 per cent

Not surprisingly, Harper’s best results came in the Prairie provinces (including Alberta), while Mulcair and Trudeau had their best numbers in Quebec. Excluding the “none of the aboves," Trudeau did better than the other leaders in Atlantic Canada while Mulcair led in Quebec and British Columbia. Harper was the top choice in Ontario and the Prairies.

But for Trudeau, the hypothetical (but perhaps likely) next leader of the third-place Liberals, to tie with the current leader of the Official Opposition is problematic for the New Democrats. Other polls have suggested a Trudeau-led Liberal Party has the potential to decimate the NDP’s current edge as the party most likely to defeat the Conservatives. This poll also indicates that — so far — Trudeau stands up quite well against Mulcair.

This is particularly true for the other two questions in the Nanos survey, where Trudeau out-performed Mulcair by a considerable margin.

On negotiating trade agreements, Harper was well ahead of the others, placing first in every region of the country with 28 per cent saying they trusted him most. Trudeau edged out Mulcair on the question by a margin of 18 per cent to 12 per cent, including in Quebec.

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  • The following data comes from<a href="http://www.nanosresearch.com/library/polls/POLNAT-W12-T559E.pdf" target="_hplink"> a Nanos Research telephone survey for CBC's Power and Politics of 1,000 Canadians</a> 18 years or older. It was taken between October 13 and 14, 2012.

  • 5. Daniel Paillé - 1 per cent

  • 4. Elizabeth May - 3.5 per cent

  • 3. Thomas Mulcair - 11.7 per cent

  • None Of Them - 16.6 per cent

  • 2. Justin Trudeau - 18.4 per cent

  • Undecided - 21 per cent

  • 1. Stephen Harper - 27.9 per cent

And on protecting the environment, while Elizabeth May was predictably the most-trusted leader on the question with 31 per cent, Trudeau placed second with 15 per cent, almost double Mulcair’s eight per cent and three points up on Harper.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW SLIDESHOW

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  • The following data comes from<a href="http://www.nanosresearch.com/library/polls/POLNAT-W12-T559E.pdf" target="_hplink"> a Nanos Research telephone survey for CBC's Power and Politics of 1,000 Canadians</a> 18 years or older. It was taken between October 13 and 14, 2012.

  • 5. Daniel Paillé - 1.2 per cent

  • 4. Thomas Mulcair - 8.3 per cent

  • 3. Stephen Harper - 12.0 per cent

  • 2. Justin Trudeau - 15.0 per cent

  • None Of Them - 15.2 per cent

  • Undecided - 17.0 per cent

  • 1. Elizabeth May - 31.4 per cent

Trade agreements and the environment may not be top of the mind for many Canadians, but for those who feel these are vital, deal-breaking issues it is likely their votes are already in the bag for Harper and May, respectively. But it should be worrisome for the NDP that on these two issues their leader trails Trudeau, supposedly an empty suit with nice hair. And on the question of taxes, Trudeau is effectively tied with both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Official Opposition.

This could all change after months of campaigning for the Liberal leadership puts a little more meat on the bones of Trudeau’s political profile, and partisans of both the Tories and the NDP will be quick to say so. But both parties also need to recognize that if Canadians are this quick to lend their support to Trudeau, their attachment to the two other major leaders must already be quite weak. That may say more about them than it is does about Trudeau, but it is a problem that will need to be tackled if either Harper or Mulcair intend to decisively win the next election.

Éric Grenier taps The Pulse of federal and regional politics for Huffington Post Canada readers on most Tuesdays and Fridays. Grenier is the author of ThreeHundredEight.com, covering Canadian politics, polls and electoral projections.

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  • They Like Him, They Really, Really Like Him

    Justin Trudeau has captured the imagination of Canada's political media. Here are the 11 most ridiculously flattering things they've said about him so far this year.

  • 11. "He's got great hair"

    <a href="http://www.torontosun.com/2012/06/16/justins-the-one-10-winning-reasons-why" target="_hplink">- Warren Kinsella</a>

  • 10. "The man is genuinely, immensely likable"

    "Justin Trudeau does not shake your hand; he inhabits it. The wrist cocks out and up, the fingertips down; the elbow shoots off to his right; the shoulder rises slightly. Then a friendly grin dawns as he delivers a firm but not crushing grip, looking you in the eye, with a twinkle in his own. The effect is of someone who is warm, slightly embarrassed by the fuss, almost goofy, and genuinely happy to meet you. It is likely that some of this is practised; he would have spent his early social years deflecting other peoples' preconceived ideas about class and snobbery. Either way, it is effective. The man is genuinely, immensely likable." <a href="http://o.canada.com/2012/08/17/electrifying-and-elusive-justin-trudeau-quietly-mulls-his-political-destiny/" target="_hplink">- Michael Den Tandt</a>

  • 9. Sisyphus & Icarus?

    "Trudeau is part Sisyphus, driven by his nature and upbringing to push his political rock up the hill. And he is part Icarus, driven to prove himself in spectacular ways, whether by crossing rapids, speaking off the cuff about separatism or exposing himself to defeat and humiliation in the ring." <a href="http://o.canada.com/2012/08/17/electrifying-and-elusive-justin-trudeau-quietly-mulls-his-political-destiny/" target="_hplink">- Michael Den Tandt</a>

  • 8. Or Hamlet?

    "A leadership race without Justin Trudeau would be both Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark, and one more yawn before sleep." <a href="http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/06/16/rex-murphy-why-justin-trudeau-has-to-run-for-liberal-leader/" target="_hplink">- Rex Murphy</a>

  • 7. "Tantalizing"

    "Mr. Trudeau is tantalizing, but whether he is galvanizing is another question." <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/justin-trudeau-is-the-best-hope-for-liberals-and-conservatives/article4249423/" target="_hplink">- Lawrence Martin</a>

  • 6. "He isn't an old fart"

    "He isn't an old fart. The Liberal party -- like the Conservatives -- has been run by, and for, old farts for too long. The party is in desperate need of a new generation of leadership. Trudeau, like Barack Obama in 2008, has the greatest ability to mobilize young people to work for him, and vote for him."<a href="http://www.torontosun.com/2012/06/16/justins-the-one-10-winning-reasons-why" target="_hplink"> - Warren Kinsella</a>

  • 5. "Expressive mane of hair"

    "You, with the expressive mane of hair and the explosive pronouncements that sometimes rival the idiocy of our other Justin, the Beeb." <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/is-it-time-for-the-second-coming-of-trudeaumania/article4484207/?cmpid=rss1" target="_hplink">- Judith Timson</a>

  • 4. "His mane of black hair was tousled"

    "Under his suit jacket, the sleeve buttons on his dress shirt were undone. His necktie was knotted, but left loose over an open top button. His mane of black hair was tousled. Even in genteel disarray, even dressed more or less like a couple hundred of his parliamentary colleagues, the 40-year-old Liberal MP for the Montreal riding of Papineau looked like a million bucks." <a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/05/04/justin-trudeau-should-be-the-next-leader-of-the-liberal-party-no-seriously/" target="_hplink">- Paul Wells</a>

  • 3. "He's got more charisma than the royal family and Lady Gaga combined"

    "He's got more charisma than the royal family and Lady Gaga combined. In Ottawa, which is Hollywood for ugly people, that matters. To win, political parties need some sizzle with their steak; Trudeau has sizzle in abundance. On the election hustings, when measured against Trudeau, Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair will look like Angry Old Guys, because, er, they are." <a href="http://www.torontosun.com/2012/06/16/justins-the-one-10-winning-reasons-why" target="_hplink">- Warren Kinsella</a>

  • 2. "Impossibly handsome"

    "The 41-year-old Liberal MP from the Montreal riding of Papineau, impossibly handsome, charming and much more comfortable in his skin than the bearer of such an iconic yet troublesome political name has any right to be..." <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/is-it-time-for-the-second-coming-of-trudeaumania/article4484207/?cmpid=rss1" target="_hplink">- Judith Timson</a>

  • 1. "Lion-maned clothes horse with dimples like moon craters"

    "So the rail-thin, lion-maned clothes horse with dimples like moon craters, a giant-killing right hook and a weapons-grade surname will position himself as the loyal helpmate of a post-leadership-fixation Liberal Party? It's so crazy it just might work." <a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/05/04/justin-trudeau-should-be-the-next-leader-of-the-liberal-party-no-seriously/" target="_hplink">- Paul Wells</a>