Two-thirds of Canadians think Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is doing a good job handling the COVID-19 crisis, according to a recent poll. It’s a number that has grown larger over the course of the last few weeks. That still ranks him below some provincial premiers in this country, and some world leaders overseas.
But not all of them.
A survey published on Thursday by the Angus Reid Institute found 64 per cent of Canadians think the federal government has done a good job handling the pandemic. That number is up six percentage points over a Mar. 13-15 poll.
And the number is very similar to another survey conducted by Léger, which found 65 per cent of Canadians satisfied with the performance of the federal government on this issue.
According to the ARI poll, however, more Canadians in every region of the country thought their provincial governments were doing a good job. In Ontario, 74 per cent of respondents reported that Premier Doug Ford’s government was handling things well, a number that was also corroborated by the Léger poll.
But the highest score came in Quebec, where 93 per cent of respondents said Premier François Legault’s government was doing a good job. That is an extraordinarily high result — almost unbelievable. But even that score was backed up by the Léger poll, which found a 94 per cent satisfaction rating for Legault.
That likely makes the Quebec premier one of the most popular leaders in the world right now, despite the increase in cases in his province. On Thursday, the number of confirmed cases in Quebec grew to 1,629. That figure is higher than the ones being reported by any other province, or even some big countries such as Japan.
Nevertheless, significantly more Quebecers are satisfied with Legault’s leadership than with Trudeau’s. Only 49 per cent of Quebecers said they thought the federal government was doing a good job on coronavirus, according to the ARI survey.
Trump getting a bump
That’s about even with how many Americans approve of the job U.S. President Donald Trump is doing on the pandemic.
A recent YouGov poll gave Trump an approval rating of 49 per cent on his handling of the crisis, with 44 per cent disapproving (broadly in line with other surveys). That is a relatively good mark for Trump and better than his overall approval rating. On Thursday, his average approval rating hit 45 per cent, the highest it’s been since the first weeks of his presidency.
Still, Trump’s numbers rank him quite low among major world leaders.
A sampling of recent polls puts Trudeau somewhere in the middle of the rankings of how citizens think their governments and leaders are managing the health emergency.
Merkel, Conte, Johnson rated highly
One recent poll found 75 per cent of Germans saying they are satisfied with how Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has managed the crisis. The country has more than 10 times as many confirmed cases as Canada, but is also doing more testing than anywhere else in the world.
Nearly the same proportion of Italians thought positively about the work the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was doing in their country, according to an Instituto Ixe survey conducted earlier this week.
Italy is one of the worst-afflicted countries in the world, with nearly as many reported cases as China — where the first cases of the virus were reported — and more deaths.
In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has seen his favourability ratings move into positive territory for the first time since he took the job, and 70 per cent of U.K. residents told YouGov they thought his government was handling the coronavirus well as it imposes more restrictions on the country.
Macron’s numbers fading
But while leaders like Trump, Johnson and Trudeau are receiving a bump in public opinion over their management of the crisis, others are taking a hit.
French President Emmanuel Macron has been unpopular for most of his time in office, but his numbers were beginning to improve as the virus spread in his country. Those numbers are now falling back down, with polls by Ifop and Elabe finding confidence in his government’s crisis management sliding.
The Elabe survey found just 44 per cent of French citizens thinking Macron and his government were handling it well, compared to 56 per cent who thought it was managing things badly. In an earlier survey, 57 per cent of those polled said Macron’s government was managing things well.
The numbers are worse for Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has persisted in holding mass rallies and has downplayed the significance of the pandemic. A recent poll for the Reforma newspaper found just 37 per cent of Mexicans approving of his management of the issue.
Undoubtedly, the social and economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will be enormous. But there will also be political consequences, though it’s too early to say just what they might be in the long term. For some leaders, however, it appears there could be opportunities in this crisis.