LILLEY: Latest poll shows Trudeau in lead but he shouldn’t be smiling

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Despite all the negative headlines, despite all the controversy surrounding China’s interference, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals still lead in the latest national poll.

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Sure, that two-point lead is driven by overwhelming support in Atlantic Canada, but Trudeau could still win if an election were held today.

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Seems shocking, but it’s further proof that you can’t ever count the federal Liberals out, especially not with Justin Trudeau at the helm.

The latest Leger poll puts Trudeau’s Liberals at 33% voter support nationally, the Conservatives under Pierre Poilievre at 31%, Jagmeet Singh’s NDP at 19%, the Green Party at 6% and the People’s Party at 2%. Regionally, the differences across the country are at times shocking.

In Atlantic Canada, Trudeau’s Liberals take 50% of voter support and yet but don’t lead in any other region of the country. Trudeau trails the Bloc in Quebec and the Conservatives in every other region of the country.

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Demographically, Trudeau has a six-point lead among women and a seven-point lead among those 55 and older but trails in all other demographics. Still, given how things have played out over the last couple of elections, where the Liberals have squeezed out victories by the slimmest of margins, this could be enough to win an early vote.

The bright points for the Conservatives include that the Liberals are down five points in Ontario compared to the last election, sitting at 34% support, while the Conservatives are up two points in the province to 36% support. In Quebec, the Liberals are down about two points, which could see them lose a few seats to the Bloc Quebecois.

Across the Prairies, the Conservatives continue to dominate but in British Columbia, the numbers are similar to the last election with the Conservatives slightly ahead in the three-way race with the NDP and Liberals.

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What this poll shows is that even if most Canadians don’t have faith in David Johnston and his report on China’s interference – and only 27% have confidence the report is impartial, and even if 69% of Canadians say they are concerned about China’s interference in our elections, very few are willing to change their votes.

In the last election, the one where Leger was one of the most accurate polling companies, the Conservatives received 33% of the popular vote nationwide, the Liberals 32% and the NDP 19%.

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Despite two years of bad government, a disaster at airports last summer, a collapse of the passport system, an immigration system that can see a skilled trades person wait four years or more to be processed, the Trudeau Liberals are still in play. In that same timeframe, the Conservatives have dumped their old leader, taken on a new one, and had no end of problems to pick apart with this government and nothing has changed.

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Liberals might be tempted to feel smug at this and Conservatives might feel disheartened. Here’s my caution to both parties: Be humble because things can change in an instant in politics. Campaigns matter greatly and we haven’t even started an election campaign at this point where things can change on a dime.

In the last election, the Liberals won a minority government with the smallest percentage of the national popular vote in Canadian history and while they might want to pump their fists in the air that they are still in the game, they are also where they were in the fall of 2021.

None of the parties should be happy with results like this that show, in essence, that voters aren’t happy with any of the parties or leaders.

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