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National Mood Soars as Direction of Federal Government Hits Highest Levels since 2001


[Ottawa – December 11, 2015] A year end check up on the national reception to the new Liberal government is producing nothing short of a dramatic reversal of years of torpor and division about the federal government. Confidence in the country has shot up almost 20 points to 61 per cent positive since the last read when the Harper government was sitting. More significantly, confidence in the direction of the federal government is almost as high as national direction at 58 per cent and this is the highest score for federal direction since 2001. For a neophyte Prime Minister who was depicted as ‘not ready’ and languished in third place entering the recent campaign, this is a strong public endorsement.


The good news for Justin Trudeau carries over to his approval rating which is also soaring at 64 per cent. There are some quibbles and quarrels over the directional measures; Alberta and Saskatchewan are much less ebullient, while Conservatives are underwhelmed. Overall, however, these are giddy numbers for the new government and can be seen as broad relief at the new style and focus of this incipient government.


While most an anecdotal curiosity, vote intention shows the Liberals close to what would be a majority even in a pure proportional voting system. Their 46 points is over twice the support they had in the spring. For the NDP, the news is as bad as it is good for the Liberals. Their support has plummeted to the mid-teens and they appear to be going backward in a hurry. After a brief but real flirtation with forming government, the NDP has retreated to pre-2011 levels and they are in danger of being squeezed out of the new political order. Their leader still scores respectably on approval, although he is down slightly from the heady days when he seemed destined for highest office.

The response to the broad framing of the new government’s agenda is quite instructive and puts to rest the idea that fiscal rectitude was a more pressing priority than a more active government. This, of course, was the critical misjudgement of the NDP in the last election and if the new government is looking for vindication of its return to boldness and activism it need look no further than to public response to the Speech from the Throne.



Noting that the throne speech signalled what might well have been the boldest and most ambitious federal agenda ever, the response has been very clear. Not only did the levels of attention to the throne speech eclipse all previous records, it also achieved very strong endorsement from the public. It might be interesting to compare the public response of the new throne speech to the last one delivered by a Liberal government in Ottawa. Paul Martin’s throne speech of 2004 received much less attention and much more tepid approval. The clear majority approved of this throne speech in what may have been another record positive for such a speech.

It is notable that the modal response was moderate – not strong – approval and the public have yet to see the bill for this boldness but it has the earmarks of causing possible sticker shock at some future date. This will become doubly true if the economy continues to sputter and the public outlook on the economy is decisively gloomy. We may be seeing a democratic boom but most see the economy in a state of bust.

Vote intention by region and demographics:




Direction of country/government:




Tracking approval ratings:





This study was conducted using EKOS’ unique, hybrid online/telephone research panel, Probit. Our panel offers exhaustive coverage of the Canadian population (i.e., Internet, phone, cell phone), random recruitment (in other words, participants are recruited randomly, they do not opt themselves into our panel), and equal probability sampling. All respondents to our panel are recruited by telephone using random digit dialling and are confirmed by live interviewers. Unlike opt-in online panels, Probit supports margin of error estimates. We believe this to be the only probability-based online panel in Canada.

The field dates for this survey are December 7-10, 2015. In total, a random sample of 1,956 Canadian adults aged 18 and over responded to the survey (1,811 online, 145 by phone). The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Please note that the margin of error increases when the results are sub-divided (i.e., error margins for sub-groups such as region, sex, age, education). All the data have been statistically weighted by age, gender, region, and educational attainment to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population of Canada according to Census data.

Click here for the full report: Full Report (December 11, 2015)

12 comments to National Mood Soars as Direction of Federal Government Hits Highest Levels since 2001

  • Just goes to show, the smarter they were, the less they wanted Harper

  • Joseph Lee

    Thanks for the information about the recent polls and how it is formulated.It certainly is opening my eyes.Compiling all those polls that companies like yours are no doubt beneficial to the voter and even those who do not vote.

  • Richard Truman

    All promising, the hatred, dishonesty and corruption is behind us, Trudeau is a wonderful Prime Minister.

  • Toni Davies

    Great report. Makes it worth taking part.

  • Pierre Cyr

    Take with a grain of salt as the gov has yet to run through its normal honeymoon period. I mean for example what has Liz May done to get such high approval ratings when she is in effect almost completely off the radar. Or do people understand that with 60% approval of his ‘middle class’ tax cut that 75% of people will nothing.

  • RDP

    Trudeau found himself in an extremely fortunate situation. One, unlike Harper, he stepped to the front of a solidly-established party that was never on the outs. He simply had to toss his hat in the ring and he had the election in the bag. He also called home an area where no one else ever stood a chance. Hard to have any respect for a guy whose biggest claim to fame was being the son of another Prime Minister. Had Layton still been alive, things would have been much, much different for Trudeau.

    Given the flurry of ads depicting him as “just not ready” and “in way over his head,” Harper did not underestimate the guy in the least. Furthermore, Harper has also made sure to attach an extreme price tag to his loss; Trudeau cannot treat Calgary the way Chretien did without fear of serious blowback. No Liberal leader can ignore Alberta or tweak their noses ever again.

    • SJB

      RDP, I do not believe Prime Minister Trudeau found himself “in an extremely fortunate situation”: 1/he was leading the third party in Parliament; 2/he was running third during the campaign; 3/his riding of Papineau was held by the BQ 4/what exactly was former Prime Minister Harper’s own “claim to fame” other than President of the National Citizenship Coalition or a Senior Staffer for Deborah Grey?… As for the NDP, the campaign decided to run a balanced budget before implementing their progressive platform and Mr Mulcair supported human rights and wearing the Niqab. This strategy would probably have been similar to the late Jack Layton’s position…Liberal Leaders Stephane Dion, Michael Ignatieff and Interim Leader Bob Rae (all who were subjected to endless series of attack ads)paid more attention to Calgary and Alberta than then Prime Minister Harper did. This pattern is unlikely to change under Prime Minister Trudeau. What I will say is “fortunate” is the attack ads on Justin Trudeau did not stick. Fortunate for him and for Canada. I live in Calgary, Alberta and it is time to stop the real and imagined grievances of the past. Let’s progress together please.

  • Sam Simard

    I cannot believe that Canadians would take a very sharp turn to the left just for a changae. I cannot believe that Canadians do not mind if new Canadians wear a NIGAB during citizenship ceremony. I cannot believe that Canadians with dual citizenship that are jailed for terrorism cannot loose their citizenship. I cannot believe that Canadians are prepared to spend millions and millions of dollars on refugees, when we have children going to school hungry and sniors struggling! But I BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY. CANADIANS HAVE VOTED.

    • Douglas Keith

      What you need to understand is that the large majority in Canada is solidly progressive. The right wing is a distinct minority. Harper’s right wing reign was an anomaly produced by FPTP, a system that a solid majority of Canadians want changed so that undemocratic rule over them by the right wing minority cannot happen again.

  • Alain

    Thank you Ekos,

    I think the ‘Federal vote intention’ graph is the most telling.
    It is clear that after the Fear & War mongers threat with austerity policies were defeated the whole country returned to sound economic practices and Canadian values.
    Just like an individual who invest in his-her education and qualifications will get a better career and higher wage so is our country, time to invest.
    Canadians are all immigrants and refugees these hard workers young refugees will enter the workforce, participate in the economy and pay taxes that will help give breakfasts to hungry children and assist seniors.
    Do not bring problems bring solutions.
    People like RDP scare me.
    His views are biased and barely in touch with reality, and of course their objective is to destroy and block any initiative until they get their way.
    The Liberals were in shamble when JT showed-up, in part due to the relentless, reckless attack ads of the harperists, PMJT called Canada his home and promised to represent everyone.
    harper did poison the incoming government with future illegal and amoral appointments that will only cost Canadians money or would tie the hands of the current democratically elected government. As for AB, our tar-coholic relative this is not the 1980’s, a good part of AB has realised its addiction and its cost and seeking detox treatments. The insane calls to kill Rachel are like the angry bubbles from withdrawal. harper woke up with Naheed as his mayor, Rachel as his PM, the Liberal party correcting his collision course for our country and the son of his chosen arch-enemy at the head of the country.
    He has been unable to show up for work since.

  • Garry Francis

    I immigrated to this country forty years ago. I’m a person of colour and I’m a visible minority! It may surprise you that I’m a card carrying Conservative! I’m still glad to hold my head high as a Conservative after the election and I’m also glad that the Liberals won a majority! Why am I happy that the Liberals won? It’s their turn to have some “original thinking” how to govern the county. I somehow “sense” that if some of promises for economic equality does not pan out there will be repeat of what happened in Ontario under Bob Rae. For the sake of the country… I hope not!

  • George Wilkinson

    The responses above seem to reflect the diversity of the Canadian population. Thank goodness the mean-spirited, reactionary attitude of the Conservative “base” is limited to 30% or less. The Conservatives won over ten years because Harper deviously “united” the right (while drowning the progressives) and the “left” remained divided. Finally the “anybody but Harper” sentiment led to the government more representative of the dominant Canadian attitude.

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