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 – according to market research company Leger.
The results suggest 47 per cent of respondents want the next election to be held in the fall of 2023 – four years after the last election – and 10 per cent would like one to be held in 2022.
Twenty-five per cent of respondents say they want Canadians to head to the polls next spring and 18 per cent next fall.
“The context of the pandemic tends to favour stability,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.
“I believe it’s probably sort of a natural or a normal reaction to the context of the pandemic.”
There were sharp regional variations.
Fifty-three per cent of respondents in Quebec and 51 per cent of those in Ontario want the Liberals to govern until 2023, while 42 per cent of those in Alberta and 36 per cent 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 per cent 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. Thirty-seven per cent say they would vote for the Liberals, versus 30 per cent for the Conservatives and 18 per cent 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 per cent of respondents are satisfied with the measures the federal government has put in place to fight COVID-19, while 25 per cent are unsatisfied.
Meanwhile, 25 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent of respondents said Ottawa has been slow to increase public health measures as the number of COVID-19 cases grew. Thirty-nine per cent said Ottawa politicians are too focused on politics on Parliament Hill.
The poll suggests different levels of satisfaction when it comes to how each provincial government is handling the second wave.
Thirty-one per cent of those living in Atlantic provinces, where travel restrictions have helped keep case numbers low, say their provincial government is doing a better job this time around.
But 39 per cent of those in Alberta and 29 per cent 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.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2020