POLITICS
03/07/2018 13:03 EST | Updated 03/07/2018 13:03 EST

Justin Trudeau's India Trip Caused Political Damage At Home: Poll

The fallout isn't over yet.

EPA via CP
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau inspects a guard of honour during a ceremonial reception at the presidential estate in New Delhi, India, on Feb. 23, 2018.

Support for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party is at its lowest point since the 2015 election, and his recent trip to India could have played a significant role in that dive, a new poll suggests.

The latest survey from Abacus Data, released Wednesday, asked respondents to name the party they would vote for if an election was held tomorrow. Thirty-six per cent said they'd go for the Liberals, 33 per cent would opt for the Conservatives and 18 per cent said they'd vote for the NDP.

Abacus found that Canadians' impressions of Trudeau, as well as their satisfaction with the direction the country is going and the government's performance, has declined.

Impressions of Singh, Scheer unchanged

"For the first time since before he was elected, as many people have a negative view of the Prime Minister as have a positive view," the firm wrote in its report.

The firm found impressions of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh have "not really changed," which suggests the Liberals' dip in support is self-made and not from any opponents' political blows, Abacus said.

But the biggest drop in support for Trudeau was in Canadians' views of the way he has represented Canada internationally.

Thirty-eight per cent of Canadians said he is doing a "good" job in that department, while 37 per cent felt his performance is poor. That's a big shift from October 2017, when 53 per cent said he was doing a good job at representing Canada to the world.

The poll's results come less than two weeks after Trudeau concluded his whirlwind eight-day trip to India. Though his first official visit there as prime minister netted a business deal that would see Indian companies invest $250 million in Canada, the trip became engulfed in controversy after CBC News revealed that a failed assassin was invited to two of the prime minister's events.

Jaspal Atwal, who was convincted of attempting to murder an Indian cabinet minister visiting B.C. in 1986, even posed for a photograph with the PM's wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.

Speaking to CTV this week, Gregoire Trudeau said it was "shocking" to learn who she was standing next to in that photograph.

After the CBC report, the Prime Minister's Office quickly rescinded an invitation for Atwal to a reception in New Delhi. Liberal MP Randeep Sarai later took the blame for what happened.

The story only got more bizarre. While Trudeau was still in India, an unnamed Canadian security official suggested to reporters that factions within the Indian government may have had a part to play in Atwal's invitation, a suggestion that Trudeau stood by while the Indian government denied.

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The trip also generated plenty of headlines on a perceived "snub" from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Trudeau family's outfits during the visit, which one local outlet described as being "too Indian even for an Indian."

Abacus' David Coletto said the firm doesn't have the appropriate data to find out which specific aspects of Trudeau's trip resulted in political damage, but concluded it had a "negative impact" on the PM's image.

And though the survey's findings aren't exactly good news for the government, they're not as dire as those from a recent Ipsos poll conducted for Global News.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family meet Indian MP Narendra Modi at the ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Feb. 23, 2018 in New Delhi, India.

That survey, released this weekend, found that Liberals would score 33 per cent of the national decided vote, while 38 per cent of Canadians would opt for the Conservatives.

The Ipsos poll found that 40 per cent of respondents felt Trudeau's trip was negative for Canada-India relations, while just 16 per cent saw it as a positive move.

Abacus' survey was conducted online with 4,023 Canadian adults between Feb. 23th and March 4th, 2018. Abacus said a similar poll would carry a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.