For both Trudeau and Biden, polls suggest an upward political path | ET REALITY


The next time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Biden meet, they will have something to commiserate about: their dismal poll numbers.

For months now, Trudeau’s Liberal Party has been sinking rapidly in public opinion polls, while more recent polls suggest the Conservatives under Pierre Poilievre would win any election held now.

Similarly, new polls by The New York Times and Siena College have found Biden trailing Donald J. Trump in five of the six most important battleground states.

(Read: Trump leads in five critical states as voters criticize Biden, Times/Siena poll finds)

(Detailed data from the Times/Siena poll)

Comparing the political situations in Canada and the United States is a complicated matter due to a variety of differences between the countries and their political systems. And of course, Americans won’t be voting for another year, and the next federal election in Canada is likely two years away.

But disaffected voters in both countries share one important concern: inflation and the economy in general.

“There is ample evidence that inflation is destructive to the performance of a sitting government and how people feel about it,” David Coletto, president and CEO of Abacus Data, told me.

Mr. coletto latest survey found that 39 percent of committed voters would vote Conservative and 26 percent would vote Liberal, while the New Democrats were supported by 18 percent of those voters. (In Quebec, the Bloc Québécois received the support of 34 per cent of committed voters.)

This is a far cry for Trudeau from his early days as prime minister, when his leadership approval ratings reached an astonishing 73 per cent in one poll. The current Abacus poll found that 53 per cent of respondents had a negative opinion of Trudeau, and only 29 per cent had a favorable opinion.

Many factors, Coletto said, contribute to that dissatisfaction, but inflation, higher interest rates, housing costs and a general feeling of dullness about the economy are at the top.

Voters surveyed in the Times/Siena poll, by a margin of 59 percent to 37 percent — the largest gap related to any issue in the survey — said they had more confidence in Trump than Biden on the economy.

Some of the criticism of Trudeau’s economic record, Coletto said, is based on perceptions that don’t match reality. In a previous Abacus survey, Coletto found that most Canadians incorrectly believed inflation was higher in Canada than in other countries. International Monetary Fund Statistics for October show that Canada’s 3.6 percent rate is well below Germany’s 6.3 percent or France’s 5.6 percent. Similarly, Biden receives little to no credit for the significant job creation under his leadership.

“But it doesn’t calm the nerves to say, ‘Friends, things are good here relatively speaking,’ when compared to five years ago, things are no better,” Coletto said. “And that’s how people evaluate their situation, because people don’t live in those other countries where inflation is still very high.”

The other important factor for Trudeau, Coletto said, is simply that many voters are tired of a leader like him, who has been around since 2015 and led his party through three successful elections. Biden may only be in his first term as president, but he has been a national political figure since he was first elected to the Senate 50 years ago.

Biden’s age, 80, is also a problem. In the Times/Siena poll, 71 percent of respondents said he was “too old” to be effective as president. Only 39 percent thought the same about Trump, who is 77 years old.

“Inflation kills governments and time kills governments,” Coletto said.

While the Trudeau Liberal government’s standing has never before fallen this low in the polls, there have been other periods when its popularity has declined, only to recover. And relatively few liberals have publicly suggested that it might be It’s time for the Prime Minister to step aside. despite his repeated promise to fight in the next election. Similarly, calls for Biden to withdraw among prominent Democrats remain limited.

“Will the Prime Minister stay or go?” Mr. Coletto said. “I have no idea. But where his leadership is today is a very different place than it was five months ago.”

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Originally from Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has reported on Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrausten.

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