Weekly Issue Tracking (September 2020 Week 1)
Many Canadians tuned out from politics over the Labour Day long weekend, but among those who are paying attention the controversy surrounding the Governor General has piled on top of the existing WE Charity controversy and both issues are now hurting the Prime Minister.
With no parliament in session, only 4-in-10 (41%) Canadians have read, seen, or heard something about the Prime Minister and the federal government, a record low in our 2020 tracking and down from a high of 77% in March.
The impact of news on the Trudeau government is steady and mostly negative. Among those that recall something, only 1-in-5 (21%) feel more favourable towards the Prime Minister and the federal government, with nearly half (48%) who feel less favourable towards them.
Within the portion of Canadians who recall the WE controversy, the government hasn’t moved the needle on public opinion. We still see a strongly adverse reaction to the WE Charity news, with 7-in-10 (71%) who feel less favourable towards the government afterward and only seven percent who feel more favourable towards the PM.
Even though opinion has hardened on the WE controversy, most Canadians are no longer paying attention. INNOVATIVE’s numbers in early August showed that, among those who recall something, 7-in-10 (70%) Canadians have read, seen, or heard something about the WE controversy. Now 36% of those that remember hearing something and only 15% of all Canadians recall it. And the government’s response, proroguing parliament (8%), and the cabinet shuffle of Morneau (5%) are mentioned by only a handful of respondents.
The government’s response on COVID-19 (21%) is still top-of-mind, among those paying attention, and shows a positive (37% more favourable to 20% less favourable) response towards the PM.
The controversy over Governor General Payette’s alleged harassment of employees and Trudeau’s defense breaks through this week into the top three issues, crowding out the government’s response to the WE Charity. The news is no help to the Trudeau government, as, among those who recall something, it reads just as damaging as the WE charity: 7-in-10 (70%) feel less favourable towards the Trudeau government after hearing about Trudeau’s defense of the Governor General.
The government’s response to the pandemic helps Trudeau among aware Canadians. Still, as long as the government continues to find itself in one controversy after another, the overall negative impression is unlikely to change.
For detailed results, download INNOVATIVE’s full report here.