As Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau travels across the country in what appears to be a campaign trail for snap polls that are likely this year; polling data suggests his Liberal Party could once again end up with a minority government.
Trudeau’s Liberals currently have 157 seats in the 338-seat parliament; having fallen short of the majority mark of 170 in the 2019 election in which he became PM for a second time, but formed a minority government.
Main opposition Conservatives had won 121 seats – and a larger share of the votes – in the 2019 polls.
When Trudeau first became PM in 2015, he had come to power with a majority government; having then secured 184 seats.
Canada’s next round of federal elections are scheduled for October 2023.
Lately, his administration has been negotiating a wide range of issues in the build-up to a possible snap election this year; some which include his handling of the pandemic, administration of Covid-19 vaccines, economic recovery; recent discoveries of unmarked graves of indigenous children at former church school sites, and deaths from an unprecedented heatwave in western Canada.
A new poll from the firm Ipsos, conducted for the outlet Global News; has concluded that “a Liberal majority is now in doubt given tight races in seat-rich provinces and only a six-point lead nationally”.
Trudeau, however, is still in prime position to lead the next government; regardless of the number of seats his party wins if there’s a snap election.
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According to Ipsos, the ruling party has lost 2% support over the last one month, while the Conservatives have gained 4%.
Trudeau’s party continues to lead by 36% support against 30% backing for the Conservatives.
While 58% of the respondents are “closer to the opinion that it is time for a change in Ottawa”; if the 42% who believe Trudeau deserves re-election vote accordingly, Liberals “would cruise to a majority victory”.
Another recent poll, conducted by the non-profit Angus Reid Institute (ARI); noted that the Trudeau administration’s “handling of the pandemic has been a relative strength for the Liberal government over the last year and a half. Now, just one-in-five (19%) identify it as a top issue, down from 45% in March”.
According to the ARI survey, issues that are taking over voter consciousness include the climate crisis, economic recovery; size of the deficit, and indigenous issues, with the latter picking up “notable traction in recent months”.
The ARI poll also places the two main parties in a “statistical tie”; with the Liberals at 33% and the Conservatives at 31%.
A key challenge for Trudeau before he decides to go ahead with snap polls is gauging the mood of the voter base; which as of now seems not to favour federal elections.
As much as 37% of the electorate is “upset at the thought of a fall election”, 34% is “unsure about it”, and just 26% is “happy” with the prospect.