Majority (63%) of Canadians Say Trudeau Elbow Incident is “No Big Deal” as Approval Ratings (62%) Remain Strong

Four in Ten (37%) Canadians – Mostly Conservative Voters – Say Issue Raises Serious Questions about Trudeau’s Maturity and Judgement

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Toronto, ON – While “elbowgate” has dominated news headlines and columns for nearly a week now, a majority (63%) of Canadians believe the incident was no big deal, and it doesn’t appear to have hurt Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval rating, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News.

The issue has piqued many Canadians’ interest as eight in ten (83%) are aware of it, with 37% saying they’re actively following the story. Two in ten (17%) are unaware of the incident in Canada's House of Commons involving Prime Minister Trudeau crossing the floor to forcefully lead a Conservative MP to his seat and accidentally elbowing a female NDP MP in the chest in the process.

Reflecting on the incident, a majority (63%) of Canadians more closely believes that ‘this is no big deal’, that it ‘was a momentary lapse in judgment by the Prime Minister that he has already apologized for’, and that ‘we should all just move on’. Conversely, a minority (37%) more closely believes that ‘there is no excuse for Prime Minister Trudeau behaving like this’ and that ‘it raises serious questions about his maturity and judgment.’

Interestingly, Conservative voters are the only voters with a significantly-different opinion from the rest of Canadians: 70% of Tory voters believe it is a serious issue which raises questions about the Prime Minister, while 30% think it’s no big deal and we need to move on. Even among NDP voters, more think it’s no big deal (56%) than a serious issue (44%). Liberal voters are the most likely to see “elbowgate” as no big deal (84%), with only 16% saying it’s a serious issue.

The incident doesn’t appear to have hurt Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval rating in any meaningful way. Six in ten (62%) Canadians ‘approve’ (19% strongly/43% somewhat) of ‘the performance of the Liberal government under the leadership of Justin Trudeau’, while only four in ten (38%) ‘disapprove’ (17% strongly/21% somewhat). The approval rating is down just 4 points from March of this year, immediately after the Prime Minister returned home from a State Visit to the White House. By comparison, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s approval rating prior to E-Day, 2015, was 43%.

The extended honeymoon for the Liberals continues: if an election were held tomorrow, the Liberals under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would receive 46% of the decided popular vote compared to just 30% for the Tories under Interim Leader Rona Ambrose. The NDP and out-going leader Tom Mulcair would receive 15% of the vote, while 4% of the vote would go to the Bloc (19% in Quebec), and 5% to the Green and other parties. One in three (13%) don’t know who they would vote for, and 7% wouldn’t vote or would spoil their ballot.

In seat-rich Ontario, the federal Liberals (52%) have a commanding lead over the Conservatives (34%), NDP (10%) and others (4%). In Quebec, the Liberals (46%) are well ahead of the NDP (19%), Bloc (19%), Tories (14%) and others (3%).

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between May 20 and 24, 2016, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,002 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ - 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker, PhD
Global CEO
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos in Canada

Ipsos is Canada’s market intelligence leader, the country’s leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos’ marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos in Canada is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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Majority (63%) of Canadians Say Trudeau Elbow Incident is 
“No Big Deal” as Approval Ratings (62%) Remain Strong


Darrell Bricker
CEO, Global
Ipsos Public Affairs