Majority (72%) of Canadians Approve of Trudeau’s Handling of Trump Situation, but Acknowledge (81%) that it has Hurt Bilateral Relations

Majority (55%, down 6 points) Remains Confident in Trudeau Government’s Ability to Renegotiate NAFTA in Canada’s Best Interests. Seven in Ten (70%) Canadians Are Taking The Matter Into Their Own Hands Saying They Will Avoid Made In USA Products.

The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
  • Sean Simpson Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs
Get in touch

Toronto, ON, June 16, 2018 — In the wake of the recent G7 meetings in Quebec which caused U.S. President Donald Trump to call Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “dishonest and weak”, a new Ipsos poll conducted for Global News has found that a majority (72%) of Canadians approve (26% strongly/46% somewhat) of how Trudeau is handling the situation, while just three in ten (28%) disapprove (9% strongly/19% somewhat). In stark contrast, just 14% of Canadians approve of how President Donald Trump is handling the situation. In fact, Ipsos polling in the U.S. shows that a majority (57%) of Americans approve of how Prime Minister Trudeau is handling the situation, while only 37% of Americans approve of how President Donald Trump is handling it.

Moreover, Canadians believe the Prime Minister Trudeau should play hardball with President Trump, with eight in ten (79%) agreeing (36% strongly/43% somewhat) that Canada should retaliate against U.S.-imposed tariffs with tariffs of our own against the U.S.

However, a majority of Canadians (55%) agree (17% strongly/38% somewhat) that there could be danger in doing so, saying that they’re concerned that the Trudeau government could push President Trump too far, and that he will do something to really hurt the Canadian economy. Further, half (49%) agree (14% strongly/35% somewhat) that they’re concerned that the Trudeau government could Push President Trump too far, and that he will do something that will make it harder for Canadians to travel to the U.S. for business or vacations.

Impacting Canada’s bargaining position somewhat, a slim majority (53%) agrees that, in the end, Canada needs the U.S. much more than the U.S. needs Canada.

While most (81%) Canadians agree (24% strongly/57% somewhat) that the situation has damaged relations between the U.S. and Canada, a majority (57%) believes (15% strongly/42% somewhat) that Canada shouldn’t overreact to President Trump’s comments, believing it was just political posturing related to the NAFTA negotiations.

Given the situation, Canadians appear to be rallying around the government and Canadian businesses:

  • Nine in ten (88%) agree (45% strongly/43% somewhat) that they’re glad to see politicians from other Canadian political parties state their support for the Federal Liberal Government’s decision to push back on U.S. tariffs.
  • Seven in ten (70%) agree (25% strongly/45% somewhat) that now that they know about the trade dispute, they will start to look at where products are made and avoid buying products made in the U.S. if they can.

The situation in Quebec and the aftermath has had an impact on how Canadians feel about Trump, the U.S. government, and other players. The chart below demonstrates the percentage of Canadians who are more or less favourable towards various people or entities as a result of recent events.


% more favourable

% no impact

% less favourable

The American people




The American government




The G7 Alliance




U.S. President Donald Trump




Canadian PM Justin Trudeau




French President Emmanuel Macron




German Chancellor Angela Merkel









Canadians Still Positive on NAFTA, Despite Trade Woes

The poll shows that Canadians are still positive on NAFTA and trade in general, despite the challenges that the Canadian government is facing in negotiating NAFTA:

  • A strong majority (85%) supports (37% strongly/49% somewhat) being in NAFTA with the United States and Mexico, while 15% opposes it (4% strongly/10% somewhat). Support for NAFTA in America is also high at 72% -- although not as high as it is in Canada.
  • A majority (54%) believes NAFTA has benefitted Canada (down 2 points since a poll last July), while just 16% say it has hurt Canada (up 1 point), and 11% say it’s had no impact either way (up 2 points). Two in ten (19%) don’t know (up 1 point).
  • Overall, Canadians are more likely to believe that renegotiating NAFTA will be a good thing (44%, up 7 points) rather than a bad thing (20%, down 2 points) for Canada, while 13% say it won’t make any difference (down 3 points) and 23% don’t know (down 2 points)

Despite the recent altercation between Trump and Trudeau, a majority (55%) of Canadians remain confident (16% very/somewhat) in the Liberal government’s ability to renegotiate NAFTA in the best interests of Canadians, although this is down 6 points since last July. Nearly half (45%) of Canadians are not confident (15% not at all confident/31% not very), up 6 points. Interestingly, American confidence in Donald Trump’s ability to renegotiate NAFTA is only 48%, suggesting that more Canadians have confidence in their own government than Americans have confidence in theirs.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between June 13 and 15, 2018, 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. Quota sampling and weighting were employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. 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 Canadian adults 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

Sean Simpson, Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs, Canada
+1 416 324 2002

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of Canadian American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.
Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, Ipsos Public Affairs is the polling partner for Global News. Internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.
With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.
Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.
Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,782.7 million in 2016.

The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
  • Sean Simpson Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs