The March 15 poll found that 35 per cent of those surveyed approve of Mulcair’s job as NDP leader, essentially unchanged from a month before. But his support among the small group of NDP partisans interviewed by Forum fell to 67 per cent, down from 74 per cent in February.
Perhaps more troubling for the party, however, is that 36 per cent of self-identified NDP voters told Forum they’d vote Liberal if an election were held tomorrow.
“Like in the federal election, the Liberals are eating the NDP’s lunch. That’s a big defection rate,” Lorne Bozinoff, the president of Forum Research Inc., said in an interview Thursday.
“What it tells me is that the Liberals are still encroaching on the NDP’s territory.”
Bozinoff likened it to the situation at Queen’s Park, where Premier Kathleen Wynne’s left-of-centre positions have marginalized the provincial NDP.
For the new Liberal government in Ottawa, the shine has yet to wear off. Forum found that 46 per cent of respondents still supported the government, down from a high of 55 per cent the week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first cabinet was sworn in.
The Conservatives enjoyed the support of 34 per cent of respondents, up four points since their defeat in the October 2015 election. Only 12 per cent of respondents said they’d support the NDP—support Forum’s polling has put between 13 per cent and 10 per cent since that election.
Both Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose and Mulcair appear to be having a difficult time stealing the spotlight from Trudeau. Forum found that while 29 per cent of respondents approved of Ambrose’s work as interim leader, 41 per cent responded they “don’t know” enough to pass judgment.
For Mulcair, 35 per cent said they approved of his performance as NDP leader, while 32 per cent were unsure.
Trudeau, fresh off highly publicized back-to-back trips to the United States, had a 54 per cent approval rating as of March 15. The prime minister’s popularity was greatest in British Columbia (65 per cent) and Atlantic Canada (63 per cent), while weakest in the Conservative heartland of Alberta, where only 36 per cent say they approved of his work.
While only 13 per cent of self-identified Conservatives gave their approval, 57 per cent of NDP voters said Trudeau is doing an acceptable job.
The Forum poll of 1,567 randomly selected Canadian adults was conducted by interactive voice response on March 15. Results are considered accurate within two percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Some data has been statistically weighted by age, region, and other variables to ensure the sample reflects the actual population according to census data. Poll results are housed in the data library of the University of Toronto political science department.
Author: Alex Boutilier