Canadians give federal and provincial leaders modest support for handling of Omicron

PM's approval unchanged, slight decline in premiers' support

Canadians continue to provide modest backing to the federal and provincial governments’ handling of the Omicron wave of the pandemic, according to a new poll. 

The Ipsos poll, conducted for Global News, found Canadians split over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s response to the Omicron variant.  Forty nine per cent approved of the prime minister’s performance, while 51 per cent disapproved. Trudeau’s level of support remains unchanged from December. 

Canadians rated the provincial premiers’ performance slightly higher – 51 per cent approved, while 48 percent disapproved. Support for the premiers has declined slightly overall since December.

“Our survey found that Canadians are losing patience with both our political leaders and the pandemic itself,” said Ipsos senior vice-president of public affairs Sean Simpson during an online interview.

The poll also found support falling for lockdowns to control Omicron’s spread.  Fifty-two per cent of the poll’s respondents approved of their use, while 48 per cent disapproved.  But Ipsos noted that overall support is down four percentage points since December, and down 17 percentage points since July.  

Canadians are questioning lockdowns’ effectiveness, Simpson said. “They (lockdowns) are reducing case counts, but they’re not getting rid of COVID-19 and Omicron.”

And Canadians want the premiers to address the growing backlog of elective and non-urgent surgeries caused by the surge in Omicron-related hospitalizations. Eighty-nine per cent want the provinces to tap into emergency funding to get elective procedures up and running and clear up the pre-existing surgical backlog.

While the poll shows some premiers enjoy strong approval for their handling of Omicron, (Quebec premier François Legault has the highest approval at 66 per cent), only 46 per cent of Ontarians support Premier Doug Ford’s actions.

“Ford has had a rocky ride over his handling of the pandemic,” Simpson said. “It’s quite concerning as he (Ford) heads into an election this June.”

However, a recent Abacus Data poll shows the provincial PCs hold a nine-point lead over the Liberals in voter preference.  

“You don’t need everyone, just enough to believe you are doing a good job,” David Coletto, CEO and founding partner of Abacus Data said in a phone interview. “Half of Ontario thinks Ford is doing a good job and that is where the PC vote comes from.” 

Coletto said it helps the premier that the anti-ford vote is split between the opposition New Democrats and Liberals. “All Ford has to do is come up the middle to win.”

While the Abacus Data poll shows 50 per cent of Ontarians want a change in government, polls during the last federal election also showed half of Canadians wanted a change in government, Coletto said.  “Yet Trudeau still got re-elected.”

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between Jan. 14 and 17, 2022, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. The poll is considered accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The Abacus Data survey was conducted online with 1,210 Ontario residents over 18 from Jan. 7 to 12, 2022. The margin of error f+/- 2.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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Posted: Jan 22 2022 11:48 am
Filed under: COVID-19 News Politics