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Voters still looking for a national economic champion


May 6, 2019  


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Five months from an October national election, voters remain undecided on who they think would best grow the economy — the latest signal of a wide-open race.

According to Bloomberg News, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer are neck-and-neck as the top choices to best manage the country’s growth. But fully half the country favours neither of them, Nanos Research found in a poll commissioned by Bloomberg.

Asked which leader they trusted to support economic growth, 26 per cent of respondents picked Scheer and 25 per cent chose Trudeau, a statistical tie. Another 20 per cent of respondents said they don’t trust any. Four leaders of smaller parties received single-digit support. Another 14 per cent of respondents said they didn’t know.

“There’s a fundamental lack of confidence in any of the political leaders to manage the economy,” pollster Nik Nanos told Bloomberg News, adding the results are bad news for both Trudeau and Scheer. “Whoever wins this will have an advantage going into the election. Right now, neither has an advantage and it looks like Canadians aren’t happy with what they’re seeing.”

The wide lead Trudeau once enjoyed evaporated earlier this year amid a scandal involving SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., after his former Attorney General alleged he and his office pressured her to end a prosecution against the Montreal-based construction company.

As poor as the results for Scheer and Trudeau are, their competitors fared worse.

New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party has the third-most seats in the House of Commons, was the choice of just four per cent of respondents, the same share as former conservative Maxime Bernier, who has launched his own party.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May received seven per cent.

Trudeau led Scheer in Atlantic Canada, British Columbia and Quebec, and was essentially tied in Ontario — he was chosen there by 27.4 per cent, to Scheer’s 26.6 per cent, the poll found.

Scheer had a wide lead in the energy-rich prairies, where he has tried to cast himself as a champion of the oil sector. He led Trudeau there 42 per cent to 14 per cent, the survey found. Nationally, Scheer was ahead of Trudeau by nine percentage points among men, while Trudeau led Scheer by seven percentage points among women.

“It should be a wake-up call that neither of them are doing a good job on connecting themselves to an economic agenda,” Nanos said. “The economy’s a key driver for votes.”

The poll is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

(Bloomberg News)


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