Liberal pony losing his shine as approval rating drops below 50% for first time since election: Poll
Liberal leader and incoming prime minister Justin Trudeau is seen on stage at Liberal party headquarters in Montreal on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015 after winning the 42nd Canadian general election.Justin Tang / THE CANADIAN PRESS
A haze of clouds is forming over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "sunny ways" as support for the Liberal leader hits a new low.
According to a new poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute released Friday, some of the sparkle is coming off the Liberal Party's 'shiny pony' as more Canadians disapprove of Trudeau than approve for the first time since the last federal election on October 19, 2015.
The online survey conducted between December 7-14 found only 47% approve Trudeau's performance compared to 49% who disapprove.
And for a country often wrought by regional divisions, disliking the PM appears to have become a unifying force.
Far from simply alienating the western provinces, Trudeau was unable to break 50% approval in Liberal-friendly Ontario and his home province of Quebec. Nova Scotia and Newfoundland are the only provinces where the PM enjoys more than a majority of support.
So what happened to the sweet-talking, sock-flashing selfie king? It's been a fall from grace from a high-point in September 2016 when the same poll found 65% of Canadians approved of the Liberal's dimpled dandy. At the same time, only 30% disapproved of his performance.
Angus Reid cites the recent events of a government dogged by ethics questions into Finance Minister Bill Morneau and what some have suggested was a bungled trade deal with China as possible reasons for the drop but more numbers show something deeper may be going on.
The big red machine swept to power on the backs of a middle-class promised "real change", but the reality of a Trudeau economy has left Canadians asking where that change went.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau holds up his party's platform at a press conference in Waterloo, Ont. on Monday, October 5, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
The survey found only 17% of the public believes that their standard of living is better now than a year ago compared to 26% who say it's worsened. Meanwhile, a majority of 55% say it has remained the same. While that may not be terrible, it's hardly real change.
That's not the only bad news for Trudeau.
The man who once said "the budget will balance itself" has found out the hard way that that's just not the case. And Canadians are beginning to turn their backs on Trudeau's tax-and-spend ways.
At the beginning of 2016, the public overwhelmingly said that the economy was their most important issue with 47% of responses. That's changed. The deficit and government spending has now eclipsed the economy as Canadians number one priority as the federal government continues to post large deficits while doling out taxpayer cash in photo op after photo op.
It seems as though even voters who were fond of Liberal red aren't a big fan of federal coffers bleeding red ink.
But it's not all bad news for the anointed one. He still enjoys greater approval ratings than his counterparts.
Newly-minted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh continue to struggle to make an impression on voters. And while the number of people who don't know how they feel about the opposition parties' new faces are shrinking, they continue to only hold 35% and 30% approval respectively.
That, however, is likely to change as more and more Canadians get to know them and the over a quarter of undecided voters fall into one of the two camps.
There's certainly an appetite to send Trudeau packing from 24 Sussex Drive even before renovations are finished and the Trudeau family are allowed to move back in.
Real change? Canadians want it.
The survey found 46% of respondents say it's time to boot the Liberals from their high horse on Parliament Hill, while only 32% say Trudeau's government should be given more time — at least for now.
That's a fairly seismic shift in the attitudes of Canadians who almost completely flip-flopped on the same question from just 22 months earlier.
Perhaps the Liberals are looking to hit a new high with delighted stoners come next Canada Day. But it looks like this Christmas, Canadians are gifting Justin Trudeau a big lump of coal as the shine of their fancy new toy begins to wear off.