10/24/2012 09:31 EDT | Updated 10/24/2012 09:35 EDT

Justin Trudeau Poll Results Show He Stacks Up Well On Key Issues


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.


Who Do We Trust On Taxes?

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.


Who Do We Trust On Trade?

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.


Who Do We Trust On The Environment?

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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