Canadians Give Middling Approval Ratings to First Minsters in Response to Omicron

Support for Lockdowns Declines (-5) to 52% as Most (89%) Support Emergency Investment in Hospitals to Increase Capacity and Restart Elective Procedures

The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, January 19, 2021 – Canadians have given middling approval ratings to the Prime Minister and provincial premiers in their response to the Omicron wave of the pandemic, and according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News, they’re also evenly split on whether recent actions to stem to the tide of the variant have been too much or too little. Moreover, support for lockdowns continues to decline as most support emergency funding for hospitals to increase capacity to restart elective and non-urgent procedures.

One half (49%) of Canadians approve (12% strongly/37% somewhat) of the performance of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in response to the Omicron variant, while the other half (51%) disapprove (27% strongly/24% somewhat). This approval rating is identical to the PM’s approval rating in December, when Canadians were asked to assess Trudeau’s COVID-related actions throughout 2021. Approval ratings are highest in Atlantic Canada (72%) and Quebec (60%), but lower in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (51%), British Columbia (45%), Ontario (44%) and Alberta (33%).

Canada’s premiers continue to outperform the Prime Minister in the eyes of Canadians, although they’ve lost a bit of their lustre since December: a slim majority (52%) approves (16% strongly/35% somewhat) of the performance of their provincial premier, while nearly half (48%) disapproves (26% strongly/22% somewhat). Collectively, their approval rating is down by 5 points since last month. Premier Legault continues to have the highest rating, but it is no longer as sky-high as it was earlier in the pandemic; Premier Kenney continues to have the lowest approval rating of all first ministers, tied with Justin Trudeau’s own performance ratings within Alberta.

 

Table 1: Provincial Premier Approval Ratings

Premier Approval Ratings

% Approval within Own Province

(Change from Dec 2020)

National average

52% (--)

British Columbia

57% (-6)

Alberta

34% (+1)

Saskatchewan/Manitoba

47% (+10)

Ontario

46% (-6)

Quebec

66% (-9)

Atlantic Canada

63% (+2)

 

Reflecting on the recent measures instituted by their respective provincial governments in response to the Omicron variant, roughly one in three (35%) Canadians believe that response has been ‘too little’, and that we need to take more drastic action to stop the spread of Omicron. Conversely, a similar proportion (31%) believes that recent measures have been ‘too much’, and that the restrictions are too harsh and are hurting more than they are helping. This leaves the remaining third (33%) in the middle, believing that recent measures have been ‘about right’.

Regionally, those in Canada’s Prairie provinces are most likely to believe that their province’s response has been ‘too little’, while Quebecers are by far the most likely to say that their province’s response has been too drastic – given that Quebec had reinstituted its curfew.

 

Table 2: Recent Provincial Measures in Response to Omicron

 

Too little

About right

Too much

National average

35%

33%

31%

British Columbia

27%

38%

35%

Alberta

51%

29%

20%

Saskatchewan/Manitoba

52%

29%

19%

Ontario

43%

29%

27%

Quebec

15%

39%

46%

Atlantic Canada

36%

38%

27%

 

There are also significant differences based on age:

  • Those aged 18-34 are much more likely to believe that recent measures to stem Omicron within their province are ‘too much’ (43%) rather than ‘too little’ (31%) or ‘about right’ (35%).
  • Those aged 35-54 are evenly split between believing the response has been ‘too much’ (34%), ‘too little’ (31%) or ‘just right’ (35%) in their province.
  • Those aged 55+ are most likely to believe that recent measures enacted by their province have been ‘too little’ (41%) or ‘just right’ (39%), with relatively few (21%) believing it has been too heavy handed.

Over the course of the pandemic, Canadians have become less tolerant of lockdowns as a tactic to control the spread of COVID-19. Presently, half (52%) of Canadians agree (17% strongly/35% somewhat) that we should have lockdowns for as long as it takes to get Omicron under control, while the other half (48%) of Canadians disagree (25% strongly/24% somewhat) with this position. The proportion who supports lockdowns is down 4 points since December, and 17 points since July, when 69% said they’d support more lockdowns if another wave of COVID hit Canada. Lockdowns are more supported by men (55%) than women (49%), and by those aged 55+ (56%) than those aged 18-34 (51%) or 35-54 (47%). Regionally, support for lockdowns is higher in Atlantic Canada (58%), Ontario (56%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (56%) than it is in British Columbia (49%), Alberta (47%) or Quebec (46%).

Lockdowns have hit businesses hard, and many have done their best to follow the ever-evolving rules and guidelines. In response to the challenges that businesses face, fully one half (50%) of Canadians disagree (18% strongly/31% somewhat) that governments are providing adequate support to businesses and organizations who have been impacted by closures due to the recent Omicron variant. The other half (50%) of Canadians agree that there has indeed been enough support, however just 10% ‘strongly agree’ while 40% only ‘somewhat agree’.

The recent surge in hospitalizations had led many provinces to cancel elective and other non-urgent procedures in order to maintain capacity to deal with the rise in Omicron-related admissions. In response to this, Canadians are near unanimous in their reaction: 89% agree (47% strongly/42% somewhat) that we need emergency investments into the healthcare system to increase capacity, re-start elective procedures and address delays caused by the pandemic. Just one in ten (11%) Canadians disagrees (3% strongly/8% somewhat) with this point of view.

 

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between January 14 and 17, 2022, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online via the Ipsos I-Say Panel and non-panel sources. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.


For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker
CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs
+1 416 324 2001
[email protected]

 

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The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs

Society