The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is losing support among Canadian voters, according to a new poll by Nanos Research and the Institute for Research on Public Policy.
The latest survey results show that more Canadians than ever before dislike Prime Minister Trudeau's Liberal government, whose approval ratings are now identical to the Conservative government of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper before the last election.
The share of Canadians who say Mr. Trudeau's government is doing a bad job has jumped to 39% from 33% a year ago and 23% in 2015, according to the annual “Mood of Canada” survey conducted by Nanos Research and the Institute for Research on Public Policy.
A year of ethical lapses and the botched rollout of small business tax changes have taken a toll on the current government. It is the second consecutive year of falling job approval ratings for Prime Minister Trudeau in the annual survey, and a sharp deterioration compared with his early post-election honeymoon in 2015.
The share of Canadians who say Mr. Trudeau's Liberals are doing a "very good" or "somewhat good" job has tumbled to 37% in the latest poll, down from 43% in 2016. Mr. Trudeau and his team enjoyed a surge of popularity in the aftermath of their 2015 election win, when 60% of respondents judged the government was doing a good job.
"It's kind of ironic that the positive evaluations now are comparable to Stephen Harper at the end of his mandate," said pollster Nik Nanos, President of Ottawa-based Nanos Research. "When the Liberals were elected, there was a certain sense of exuberance with the change of government and people being positive. What we're seeing now is the government transitioning from the promises they've made to the day-to-day grind and the reality of governing."
The combined telephone and online survey of 1,000 Canadians was conducted from December 27 to 29. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. It marks the eleventh year the poll has been done.
The Liberal government has been knocked off message by months of negative headlines. In December, the federal ethics watchdog said Mr. Trudeau broke government rules in 2016 when he and his family vacationed on the Aga Khan's private Caribbean island Earlier in the fall, the Liberal government faced a backlash after Finance Minister Bill Morneau moved to limit tax breaks for small businesses while leaving untouched family trusts that the minister and other wealthy Canadians use.
The Ethics Commissioner is also examining whether Mr. Morneau was in a conflict of interest when he introduced Bill C-27, pension legislation that could have potentially benefited his former firm, pension consultant Morneau Shepell Inc. Mr. Nanos said the negative headlines are a distraction from the agenda that got the Liberals elected – helping the middle class and engaging in a different style of politics.
On the positive side, neither the opposition Conservatives or the NDP have managed to capitalize on the government's missteps in recent months. Other recent polls show that the Liberals have maintained their lead among decided voters.