Canadians Hold Mixed Views on Which Leader is Best on Issues

Just under one-in-five Canadians (17%) say they intend to vote by mail in this year’s federal election.  
Vancouver, BC [September 6, 2021] – As the federal election campaign continues, the three main federal party leaders are connecting in different ways with Canadians on the most important issues facing the country, a new Research Co. poll has found.  
In the online survey of a representative national sample, just under a third of Canadians (32%) think Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau is the best person to handle crime and public safety.  
Trudeau is also the preferred choice of Canadians to manage immigration (30%), health care (29%) and the environment (28%).  
Official opposition and Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole is the top option for Canadians to handle the economy and jobs (34%), energy and pipelines (32%), and accountability and leadership (27%). O’Toole and Trudeau are tied, with 30% each, when Canadians are asked about the best leader to manage foreign affairs (30%).  
New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh is the most popular leader to deal with housing, homelessness and poverty (27%), with Trudeau and O’Toole tied at 24%.  
Health care is identified as the most important issue facing Canada for 26% of respondents, followed by the economy and jobs with 20%, housing, homelessness and poverty with 15% and the environment with 13%.  
The survey also asked Canadians about other characteristics and topics related to the three main federal party leaders. Trudeau emerged as the most popular option to be the Prime Minister in the event of another Quebec referendum (31%) and to represent Canada at the next round of climate change talks (30%).  
The incumbent prime minister is also ahead on four personality traits: having a drink with you at the local bar (28%), being on your sports team (also 28%), babysitting your kids or a relative’s kids (25%) and being part of your trivia quiz team (23%, with Singh close behind at 21%).  
Singh is practically tied with Trudeau on two of the items tested: having a coffee or tea with you at the local coffee shop (27%, with Trudeau at 26%) and giving you a good recommendation on a book to read (22%, with Trudeau at 21%).  
More than three-in-ten Canadians express a preference for O’Toole on three separate matters: negotiating with U.S. President Joe Biden on trade and security issues (34%), being the Prime Minister in the event of a terrorist attack (32%) and negotiating with Russia over Arctic sovereignty (31%).  
“There is a theme developing when it comes to the perceptions of Canadians on the three main party leaders,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “While Trudeau and Singh score highly on some of the personality traits, like hanging around at a bar or coffee shop, O’Toole has a decisive advantage on foreign policy items.”  
This week, there will be two televised debates organized by the Leaders’ Debate Commission. More than two-in-five Canadians (42%) agree with the Commission’s decision to not extend an invitation to these debates to People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier, while 33% disagree and 25% are undecided.  
The results are similar when Canadians are asked about the presence of Maverick Party leader Jay Hill on the televised meetings, with 44% agreeing with the decision to leave him out, 27% disagreeing and 29% saying they are not sure.  
Almost half of Quebecers (49%) are in favour of the Commission’s decision to leave both Bernier and Hill off the stage.  
Across the country, 17% of Canadians say they plan to vote by mail this year—a proportion that includes 30% of British Columbians and 21% of Albertans.  
While more than one-in-four Canadians (26%) plan to cast their ballot during Advance Voting from September 10 to September 13, more than two-in-five (44%) intend to vote on Election Day (September 20).
Results are based on an online study conducted from August 28 to August 30, 2021, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error – which measures sample variability – is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.