Anger towards Trudeau government at six-year high: poll

Canadians are angrier and more pessimistic about Justin Trudeau than ever.

A Nanos survey shows a six-year high for such feelings about the federal government, as it continues to lag in polls.

“Feelings of anger toward the federal government have increased or held steady in every region, with the largest increases among residents of Quebec (December: 12%; March: 24%) and Atlantic Canada (December: 21%; March: 38%),” reads the survey.

“Pessimism and anger remain the top emotions Canadians say best describe their views of the federal government in Ottawa.” 

The research firm has been measuring Canadians’ feelings of “optimism, satisfaction, disinterest, anger, pessimism and uncertainty” regarding the federal government since 2018.

While Nanos’ most recent survey found that optimism had rebounded slightly, up to 10% from its all-time low of 8% in September of last year, pessimism and anger have surged among the bulk of respondents. 

The majority of Canadians, 62%, said they were equally split between feeling either angry and pessimistic about the Trudeau government in March.

“What we’ve seen is, the anger quotient has hit a new record,” Nanos Research founder Nik Nanos told CTV News in an interview on Wednesday.

A small minority of Canadians, 11%, felt satisfied with the Trudeau government while another cohort of 11% said they had become disinterested. 

According to past surveys, the trend of anger towards the federal government has steadily been on the rise throughout Canada since March 2023, with satisfaction declining in tandem. 

It’s important to mention that the survey was conducted before the government announced its latest fiscal budget, meaning it’s possible that Canadians’ anger and pessimism may subside, however the budget has already been met with swift criticism as well. 

Nanos conducted a separate survey for Bloomberg aiming to find what the most important issues Canadians felt they were facing that would influence how they voted in the next federal election. 

The respondents said inflation and the cost of living, healthcare, climate change and the environment, housing affordability and taxes. 

The new budget includes spending on housing, the implementation of a national disability benefit and carbon rebates for small businesses. 

The federal government also plans to raise taxes on Canada’s wealthiest earners. 

Promising $52.9 billion in new spending, the budget also pledges to maintain the 2023-24 federal deficit at $40.1 billion. 

Currently, the federal deficit is projected to be 39.8 billion for the 2024-25 fiscal year. 

Nanos believes that if the details of the latest budget aren’t enough to turn around Canadians’ sentiments towards the Trudeau government, no amount of spending will.  

“If the Liberal numbers don’t move up after this, perhaps the listening lesson for the Liberals will be (that) spending is not the political solution for them to break this trend line,” he said. “It’ll have to be something else.”

Meanwhile, Nanos ballot tracking shows the Conservatives continue to have a strong lead on voters.

“Any way you cut it right now, the Conservatives are in the driver’s seat,” he said. “They’re in majority territory.”

According to the firm’s ballot tracker, for the week ending Apr. 12, the Conservatives were in the lead among respondents at 40%, with the Liberals at 23.6% and the NDP at 20.6%.

Nanos believes that the real decision Canadians need to make is whether or not government spending is the key to helping them improve their lives.  

“Both of the parties are fighting for working Canadians … and we have two competing visions for that. For the Liberals, it’s about putting government support into their hands and creating social programs to support Canadians,” he said. “For the Conservatives, it’s very different. It’s about reducing the size of government (and) reducing taxes.”

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