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Most Canadians believe Jody Wilson-Raybould, say Trudeau has lost moral authority to govern: Ipsos poll

Global News logo Global News 2019-03-05 Rahul Kalvapalle
Justin Trudeau looking at the camera: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a media availability in Montreal on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a media availability in Montreal on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

A majority of Canadians are now keeping tabs on the SNC-Lavalin affair and that doesn't bode well for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News.

If an election were held tomorrow, Trudeau would receive only 31 per cent of the decided popular vote — down three points from a couple of weeks ago — while Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer would receive 40 per cent, according to the poll of 1,000 Canadians.

READ MORE: Jane Philpott resigns from cabinet over Trudeau’s handling of SNC-Lavalin affair

That's the biggest lead the Conservatives have had since the previous election campaign — and that's despite the fact that the polling data was obtained before Treasury Board President Jane Philpott resigned from Trudeau's cabinet on Monday, following in the heels of former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould and principal secretary Gerald Butts.

"This is the first time we've actually seen the Conservative Party resuscitated and looking like they could potentially form the government," said Darrell Bricker, CEO at Ipsos Public Affairs. "The Liberals, on the other hand, have been dropping precipitously over the space of the last few weeks. The question is have they hit bottom yet?"

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The national approval figures are mirrored in Canada's largest province, Ontario, where the Conservatives sit at 40 per cent, nine points over the Liberals, who are at 31 per cent.

Crucially, the Tories enjoy a commanding lead in the vote-rich 905 region surrounding Toronto.

"The Conservatives have over a 20-point lead in the 905, which has the most seats that swing back and forth in any election campaign," said Bricker.

"With that kind of lead, they're set to sweep the 905. If they sweep the 905, they probably win the election."

Also watch: Trudeau still undecided about Wilson-Raybould's future in caucus (Provided by CBC)

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The Trudeau Liberals' prospects don't look much better in Quebec either. The Liberals had a 13-point lead over the Conservatives in in Canada's second-most populous province only two weeks ago, but that lead has since been slashed by half.

The Liberals now have the support of 35 per cent of Quebecers, with the Conservatives at 29 per cent and the Bloc Quebecois and NDP well behind at 19 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

The figures also make it clear that the ongoing SNC-Lavalin affair is having a direct influence on Trudeau's flagging support.

Sixty-four per cent of Canadians say they're now following the issue — that's 15 points up from two weeks ago.

Most of them also say they believe the issue deserves all the attention it has been getting, compared to less than a third who say the matter is being blown out of proportion.

While a majority of Canadians are now following the issue, a majority — 55 per cent — also say it's going to influence their voting decisions in this year's federal election. That includes nearly one in five Liberal supporters.

Bricker says those figures prove that the SNC-Lavalin affair isn't just a story of interest to the news media and politics junkies and that average Canadians are paying attention.

"[Canadians] are coming to conclusions, and the conclusions they're coming to relate to the character of the main protagonist," said Bricker.

READ MORE: Facing heat on SNC-Lavalin, Liberals aim to shift attention to climate change with new ads

Canadians are also increasingly siding with former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould over Trudeau — 67 per cent of respondents saying they believe Wilson-Raybould's version of events regarding inappropriate political interference by the Prime Minister's Office into her prosecution of SNC-Lavalin on corruption and bribery charges.

Also watch: Wilson-Raybould to seek re-election as a Liberal: report (Provided by CBC)

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Worryingly for Trudeau, the SNC-Lavalin affair is concerning Canadians across the political divide, with Liberal Party supporters growing increasingly disapproving of the prime minister.

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Nearly a quarter of Liberal voters say they believe Trudeau should step aside while the SNC-Lavalin affair is investigated, with 73 per cent of Liberal voters agreeing that the RCMP should probe the issue and lay charges against politicians and bureaucrats where appropriate.

"There's no understanding how fundamentally this scandal has shaken the Liberal coalition to the core," said Bricker. "We're seeing it with a certain amount of meltdown at the present time, down nine points behind the Tories right now.

The severity of the challenge facing Trudeau is underscored by Canadians' opinions of him staying on as prime minister — nearly two-thirds say he's lost the moral authority to govern.

Bricker says Trudeau has three options: tough it out until the next election, step aside and let someone else lead the Liberal Party or call a snap election to clear the air — the approval figures mean Trudeau would be well-advised not to take up Option 3.

"If you're trailing by nine points — and that far behind in Ontario — that doesn't seem like a very viable option," said Bricker.

"Right now, I don't think there's any way we can overstate how seriously, fundamentally, this is hurting the ability of this prime minister and his government to continue."

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between March 1 and 4, 2019, with a sample of 1,000 adults living in Canada polled. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within +/ – 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.

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