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Most Canadians don’t want federal election until at least 2022, new poll suggests

The online poll of 1,523 adult Canadians was carried from Oct. 23 to 25

October 27, 2020  The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — A new poll suggests most Canadians don’t want a federal election during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic — or even next year.

The results suggest 47% of respondents want the next election to be held in the fall of 2023 — four years after the last election — and 10% would like one to be held in 2022.

25% of respondents say they want Canadians to head to the polls next spring and 18% next fall.

“The context of the pandemic tends to favour stability,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.

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“I believe it’s probably sort of a natural or a normal reaction to the context of the pandemic.”

There were sharp regional variations.

53% of respondents in Quebec and 51% of those in Ontario want the Liberals to govern until 2023, while 42% of those in Alberta and 36% of those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan want to cast ballots next spring.

The desired timing also varies along party lines, with nearly half of Conservative supporters saying they want an election next spring and 70% of Liberal supporters choosing 2023.

The online poll of 1,523 adult Canadians was carried from Oct. 23 to 25 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random.

The poll suggests the Liberal party is still leading among decided voters. 37% say they would vote for the Liberals, versus 30 per cent for the Conservatives and 18% for the NDP. The Bloc followed with eight per cent and the Greens at five.

The last six months of polling have shown the Liberals four to nine points ahead, said Bourque, adding the new Conservative leader has not yet managed to improve results for his party.

“We’ve yet to see sort of an ‘Erin O’Toole effect’ on the intentions,” he said.

The survey also shows that 71% of respondents are satisfied with the measures the federal government has put in place to fight COVID-19, while 25% are unsatisfied.

Meanwhile, 25% of respondents feel that the federal government has done a worse job managing the second wave of the COVID-19 worse than it did for the initial wave last spring. Only 14% feel it has done a better job this time around.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents said Ottawa has done a better job trying to keep some businesses open and the economy going this time around. Just over half said the federal government is being more proactive in helping provinces manage this wave.

When it comes to what is not going well, 63% of respondents said Ottawa has been slow to increase public health measures as the number of COVID-19 cases grew. 39% said Ottawa politicians are too focused on politics on Parliament Hill.

The poll suggests different levels of satisfaction when it come to how each provincial government is handling the second wave.

Thirty-one per cent of those living in Atlantic provinces, where travel restrictions have help keep case numbers low, say their provincial government is doing a better job this time around.

But 39% of those in Alberta and 29% of those in Manitoba or Saskatchewan say their provincial governments are doing a worse job than they did in the spring.

“They tend to hold, in part, their provincial government responsible for the slowdown in the economy,” Bourque said.