Will Justin Trudeau quit? Should he?
The PM says he's staying. But what do the latest numbers mean for him, his party, and the country.
There’s a fine but distinct and important line between political gossip, idle speculation, and substantive talk about political processes, fortunes, and futures. Political decisions, even personal ones, that affect the country are public things. That’s why we need to talk about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his numbers.
A new poll by Abacus Data puts the Liberals deep underwater with voters and shows a majority of respondents preferring that Trudeau step down. The poll will likely produce chatter that weaves in and out of all three categories of political coverage. In this post, I’m going to try to focus on process and scenarios — mostly, anyway. Like I said, Trudeau and the Liberal Party’s futures have a serious impact on policy and the state of the country’s institutions, not to mention its political future. So, it matters what happens next and it matters how folks are feeling.
The Abacus poll finds 56 percent of people want Trudeau to go, while 27 percent say he should stay and 17 percent are unsure. The full breakdown of the poll hasn’t been released yet, so I’m going off these top line numbers for now. We ought to also keep in mind that Abacus has the Conservative Party of Canada up by 12 points over the Liberals — 38 to 26. The Trudeau leadership poll includes Liberals and non-Liberals. Presumably, the former group is more supportive than the latter, especially since some respondents are unlikely to support any Liberal. But as the Toronto Star points out in its story on the poll, “many past Liberals,” think the PM should go. The odds are that as the country turns against Trudeau, so will a greater proportion of Liberals — if not at the same high-rate as non-Liberals.
No single poll is definitive. It’s a snapshot in time, subject to error, limits, fleeting feelings, and so forth. Moreover, lots can happen between now and the next election. But the broader trend for the Liberals is bad. As 338 Canada shows, polls and projections strongly favour a CPC win given current conditions. Moreover, parties plan for elections way out — they raise money (or try to), plan strategies, test messages, develop policies, elevate and focus on certain MPs or potential candidates over others, and spend extta time in ridings they hope to win or hold. In short, the election is already underway and has been for some time, and it’s only going to ramp up from here.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to David Moscrop to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.