As Justin Trudeau marks the second anniversary of his party’s electoral victory, Canadians are becoming a little jaded by the prime minister’s photo-ops and PR-heavy style of governance, according to a new poll by the Angus Reid Institute.
The poll comes at a crucial time for the Trudeau Liberals. The party has been taking flak for its small-business tax proposals and revelations that the finance minister didn’t put millions of shares from his family-built company into a blind trust.
Half of poll respondents described Trudeau as charismatic, 43 per cent described him modern and 31 per cent said he was compassionate. However, 26 per cent said he was arrogant, 23 per cent felt he was flaky and 22 per cent thought he was weak.
Trudeau’s skillful use of social media is a drastic departure from the reclusive style of governance that Stephen Harper preferred during his time in office. However, not all Canadians are supportive of his internet celebrity status. While 34 per cent like it, 32 per cent dislike it, and the remaining 34 per cent are neutral about it.
However, a breakdown reveals that only 7 per cent of respondents said it was one of their favourite things about the prime minister, while 17 per cent said it was one of their least favourite things about him.
While seemingly larger controversies like the abandoning of electoral reform barely dented the Liberals’ early popularity, the party has been at the helm for two years now, and Canadians are beginning to question how much progress has been made, according to the poll.
Right after the 2015 elections, a quarter of Canadians said they felt real progress was being made in the country. Today, only 13 per cent of Canadians still feel that way. Meanwhile, the proportion of people who thought too much was being spent on photo-ops and public relations exercises rose from 36 per cent two years ago to 44 per cent today.
There are differences, of course, between voters from the different parties. Conservative party voters were most likely to give Trudeau the poorest marks, with 79 per cent saying that he spent too much time being “PM Selfie.” But even among left-leaning voters, sizeable proportions felt the same way. Among NDP voters, 39 per cent felt that way, and 24 per cent of Liberal voters did too.
Liberal voters were most likely to give him positive marks though, with 26 per cent saying that Trudeau has been making real progress. An additional 32 percent felt that he was getting things done and putting too much emphasis on photo-ops.
Looking abroad however, Trudeau is back by much higher levels of support, indicating that Canadians may be irked by the lack of progress at home, but feel that he represents the country well on the international stage. More than half of respondents said that Trudeau was good or great for Canada, while another 27 per cent were neutral.
Granted, it’s always easy to get voters to rally around their leader when it comes to international arena. Back at home, Canadians are agitating for a sense that their country has changed for the better two years after deciding to oust the Conservatives.