It’s only the end of week one of the campaign and there is plenty of time for any one of the three main party’s to gain ground. Many observers believe the voters don’t pay much attention until the leaders’ debate. But even those events have become so over-rehearsed that seldom in recent memory has there been a game-changing screw up a la John Turner’s “I had no choice,” in 1984- 37 years ago, and frankly Canadians don’t watch leaders’ debates in the numbers the once did-pre streaming.
It may be a blip, but if there was a loser in the first week it was Justin Trudeau who saw a big lead over Erin O’Toole dwindle to less than 2 percentage points. With COVID well into the Fourth Wave those mass rallies with adoring crowds are not possible, and again that is a disadvantage to Trudeau,
The old tried-and-true Liberal tactic of portraying the Conservatives as having a hidden agenda on abortion seems to have run its course. O’Toole is clear that he is pro choice and Friday he went a step further and said his government would force physicians who refuse the procedures to make patient referrals to those who will.
In fact, the “hidden-agenda” knock on the Tories may have backfired . An Ipsos poll conducted for Global News found 44 per cent of respondents — feel Trudeau will say anything to get elected, while 36 per cent said he has a hidden agenda. Both numbers also outstrip the other party leaders, suggesting Trudeau is facing trust issues while hanging onto frontrunner status in the campaign. “For Justin Trudeau with the Canadian public, it’s very much a mixed bag,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs. “When they look at the record of the government’s performance and they associate him with it, he tends to do reasonably well. But when you ask questions about his own personal character, that’s when things tend to fall down.”
What the early polling suggests that if things stay where they are Trudeau will fall short of his goal of regaining a majority. He is still in the driver’s seat, however, when it comes to which party will win the most seats. The CBC Poll tracker suggests the Liberals would win 150 seats to the Conservatives 111 if things stay as they are. The Conservatives also suffer from voter imbalance in that their popularity in the West is so overwhelming that it becomes overkill that doesn’t translate into extra seats.