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A good first year in office: Canada PM Justin Trudeau’s popularity soars

world Updated: Oct 19, 2016 08:45 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Hindustan Times
Justin Trudeau

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses for a picture in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.(Reuters Photo)

A year ago, Justin Trudeau led his Liberal Party to a surprising majority in Canada’s federal elections. If the Prime Minister were to call a snap election now, he could well capture a supermajority in the House of Commons.

Over the past 12 months, not only has the honeymoon period persisted, Trudeau’s romance with the voting public has grown stronger.

On October 19 last year, the Liberals captured 184 of the 338 seats in the lower house, equivalent of the Lok Sabha, while tallying approximately 40% of the vote share. According to a new poll from Toronto-based Forum Research, if elections were held today, that percentage would rise to 49, translating into a whopping 240 seats. 

Trudeau, the face of the party, is spurring this gain in popularity. “That’s a big factor. His personal approval rating is even higher. At 56%, he’s actually ahead of his party,” Lorne Bozinoff, Forum Research’s president and founder, told Hindustan Times. The latest poll had a sample size of 1,437 and was conducted during October 11-12. 

And this is a countrywide trend, not limited to Liberal bastions, as Bozinoff pointed out, “It’s high in just about every demographic group in the country, it’s high in just about every region of the country.”

There are exceptions in Conservative strongholds, but even there, the numbers are impressive for a Liberal. In places such as the province of Ontario, where the regional unit of the party is floundering, the Federal Liberals are above 50% in support. These numbers have been fairly consistent over the past six months or so.

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau celebrates after tapping the keg at the opening ceremony for Oktoberfest in Kitchener, Ontario. (AP Photo)

But the numbers from a recent poll conducted by Vancouver-based Angus Reid Institute were even better for Trudeau. Its executive director Shachi Kurl said, “Today some two-thirds of Canadians approve of Justin Trudeau’s job performance. That's an enviable approval rate for most politicians. The honeymoon ‎has indeed lasted a year, which is an age in political time spans. He's achieved it by significantly shifting the tone coming from the PMO, his cabinet and his caucus - both when it comes to communication and symbolism.”

Also helping is the fact that the principal opposition Conservative Party has yet to elect a full-time leader to replace former prime minister Stephen Harper.

It’s been a good first year in office for Trudeau, and he has plenty of nationwide support to take his agenda forward as he enters the second.