How Trudeau's polling stacks up against his predecessors
The historical precedent is thin, but not great, for Trudeau's Liberals
There’s been lots of talk lately about whether Justin Trudeau’s time might be running out. That his government is trailing in the polls and starting to show the wear-and-tear that could lead to its defeat. That Trudeau might need to consider whether he is helping or hurting the Liberal Party’s re-election chances.
I tend to be a contrarian when it comes to the consensus discourse — people tend to forget their history or overreact to the latest set of poll numbers. So, I wanted to look into how Trudeau’s current struggles compare to his predecessors to see whether things really are so bleak.
Turns out, he might indeed be in trouble.
The Liberals have averaged 31% support nationwide in polls conducted since the beginning of December. They trail the Conservatives by an average of 4.2 points. Compared to the election that brought Justin Trudeau to power in 2015, the Liberals have shed 8.5 percentage points’ worth of support.
On all those measures, that puts Trudeau near the bottom of the list compared to his predecessors at this stage of their time in office, right next to those that met defeat in their next election.
Before getting into the numbers, we do have to note that the sample size we are working with is small. Trudeau is only the seventh prime minister to be in office for at least seven years since the emergence of modern public opinion polling in Canada, which began in the very early 1940s. The six prime ministers who meet this criteria that came before him each governed in different contexts and against different opponents. It isn’t inevitable that Trudeau will suffer their historical fate.
But the numbers don’t look good.