Canadians Like Trudeau Much More Than Harper, Poll Finds

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New numbers from the polling firm Abacus show Justin Trudeau has a +9 per cent net favourable rating among voters while Stephen Harper is at -18 points. | CP

It's been a week of bad number for Stephen Harper. First came the news that his party is falling even further behind the Liberals and now a poll shows Canadians have a much more favourable impression of Justin Trudeau.

New numbers from the polling firm Abacus show Trudeau has a +9 per cent net favourable rating among voters while Harper is at -18 points. NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has a +6 rating. The rating is generated by adding together the percentage of voters who have an unfavourable opinion with those who have a favourable impression.

The online poll of 1,614 respondents was conducted between August 15 and 18 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent.

Harper engenders negative feelings among 45 per cent of voters, positive feelings among 26 per cent and neutral/no feelings among 28 per cent. Trudeau's numbers are 38 per cent positive, 29 per cent negative and 33 per cent neutral/no feelings. Mulcair's numbers are 27 per cent positive, 21 per cent negative and 51 per cent neutral/no feelings, a much higher score on the final metric than Harper or Trudeau.

The poll also provides detailed breakdowns of how voters view the three leaders on the metrics of values, judgment, ideas and attitude.

Across all four areas, Trudeau was ranked more favourably than Harper by a wide margin. Trudeau fared better than Mulcair in three out of four (though to a less extent), tying the NDP leader on judgment.

While judgment was the area Trudeau fared least well, he still did better than Harper, with 36 per cent of voters giving the Liberal leader a good/excellent rating compared to 31 per cent for Harper.

The numbers on judgment are particularly telling since the Conservatives have focused their attacks on Trudeau in this area, branding the Liberal leader as "in way over his head."

The authors of the poll summary, Bruce Anderson and David Coletto, write that the Tory attacks have not worked and may even be backfiring.

"Conservative efforts to damage the reputation of the Liberal leader appear to have had little of the desired effect. It’s even plausible that the more these attacks occur, the more potential they have to backfire: feeding the view that the PM is unhealthily partisan, and giving Mr. Trudeau more opportunities to show unflappable optimism, which seems to be striking voters as the attitude they are looking for," the pair write. "If the Conservatives decide to persist in attacking the Liberal leader, these numbers say they are going to need to find more effective ways of doing so."

The poor numbers for Harper come after a series of polls that show his party losing momentum.

On Monday, polls from both Ipsos Reid and Abacus found the Tories are falling even further behind Trudeau's Liberals. The Ipsos poll put the Liberals at 38 per cent, the Tories at 31 per cent and the NDP at 24 per cent. In both polls, the Tories' numbers were down compared to when the polling firms were last in the field, indicating that the party is headed in the wrong direction.

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