POLITICS
12/19/2018 14:30 EST | Updated 01/15/2019 11:01 EST

Justin Trudeau's Approval Rating At Lowest Point Since 2015, Poll Says

A lot has changed in three years.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question as takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Dec. 14, 2018.
Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question as takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Dec. 14, 2018.

The wave of popularity Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rode to a majority government in 2015 seems to be at its lowest point yet, a new poll suggests.

Trudeau's approval rating among Canadians is now at its lowest level since he was elected, according to the Angus Reid Institute's latest survey.

The polling firm found that 35 per cent of respondents approve of the PM's performance. That's quite a drop from the 63 per cent rating he received in a similar poll conducted in his first month in office.

Thirty-nine per cent of respondents in the new survey said they "strongly disapprove" of the prime minister, while just eight per cent said they "strongly approve."

Angus Reid Institute

The fires of discontent for Trudeau burn brightest in Saskatchewan and Alberta, where a whopping 79 and 78 per cent of respondents, respectively, said they disapprove of the PM.

Atlantic Canada, which the Liberals swept in the 2015 election, showed the most support for the Liberal leader, though almost half of respondents there still gave him a thumbs down.

Trudeau's tension with the west has been growing, with even Alberta Premier Rachel Notley — once seen as a strong ally of the PM — publicly criticizing him for failing to help her province get more oil to overseas markets.

Earlier this month, she even took credit for a stunt that involved a projector beaming a pro-pipeline ad outside a Liberal holiday event in Ottawa.

The controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion — which would run from Alberta to coastal B.C. — and the hurdles it continues to face have also fractured Trudeau's political ties with both those provinces. That province's NDP premier, John Horgan, went to court to oppose the project.

And yet Notley isn't the only premier to throw shade on Trudeau's sunny ways. In Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, provincial Liberal premiers aligned with Trudeau have been booted out in favour of conservative leaders.

MARTIN OUELLET-DIOTTE via Getty Images
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's dynamic with Canada's premiers has changed drastically since his election in 2015.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has emerged as one of Trudeau's most vocal critics, railing against his government's carbon pricing plan and forming a tag team against it with fellow conservative leaders in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and New Brunswick.

That carbon pricing plan, his infamous trip to India as well as the marathon NAFTA negotiations — and their less-than-popular end result — also likely contributed to the dip in his approval rating, according to the institute.

The Liberal government's ballooning deficits could also be a factor, as the poll found that 28 per cent of respondents ranked the economy and government spending as the most important issue facing Canada.

Trudeau is also closing the year with a growing spat with China that started after Canadian authorities arrested a high-ranking executive for Huawei Technologies — at the request of the U.S. Two Canadians, one of them a former diplomat, have been detained in that country since.

Angus Reid Institute

The polling firm also found that, for the first time since his election, Trudeau is no longer seen as the party leader that would make the best prime minister.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer now leads the pack for that question with 33 per cent support, while Trudeau follows with 27 per cent. Seven per cent opted for Green Party Leader Elizabeth May while six per cent chose the NDP's Jagmeet Singh.

Angus Reid Institute

Approval and disapproval ratings for Trudeau's rivals are mostly in line with the findings from the question above, except for Singh. Even though he's the newest leader on the scene — and still doesn't have a seat in the House of Commons — Singh received a disapproval rating of 53 per cent . That's second only to Trudeau's 58 per cent.

The Angus Reid Institute's survey was conducted online survey from December 12 – 18, 2018, among a representative randomized sample of 3,239 Canadian adults. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size with this sample plan would carry a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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