05.23.2016 07:12 AM

Abacus on Trudeau going Raging Bull

Top two findings:

• While Ottawa politicos and media seemed captivated by the incident, just 14% of our respondents followed it very closely.

• The broad majority of those surveyed (71%) said it had no impact on their view of Mr. Trudeau, 23% said it made them feel worse about him; 6% better.  

I’ll put up a link when I can find one. Comments welcome. 


  1. Michael S says:

    Out here in the wilds people’s eyes roll when they talk about the opposition overreaction. And I include people that lean Conservative and NDP. Not partisans however.

    • Eric Weiss says:

      Yep, the only people that cared about this were the same partisan troll and talking heads who needed something to talk about. Most Canadians can’t get any lower an opinion on politicians in general and view parliament with contempt already.

  2. Larry says:

    86% of Canadians pay little attention to this incident it appears. That speaks sad volumes for our future…not because of this event, but generally. As a people we appear willing to just accept whatever is done to us by governments with little question or concern. Our Democratic rights and Rule of Law are simply not on the majority’s radar. That has not worked out too well in any number of countries … But then I suspect a poll taken of The same Canadians as this would say they pay little or no attention to history either…

    • smelter rat says:

      Perhaps they paid little attention to the “incident” because it wasn’t one.

    • Jonathan says:

      The remainder of “followed very closely” is not “paid little attention to”. Those are the two extremes. It is possible (and likely) that a large portion of the 86% paid some attention to, or have a general awareness of, the incident. As someone who did follow it closely, that is my experience when talking to others about it.

      Given that this incident had nothing to do with the government doing something to its citizens, it says very little about what their reaction would be to an action that did affect their ‘democratic rights’ or the ‘rule of law’.

      To propose an alternative opinion, given this incident was filled with the type of rhetorical posturing that engrains partisanship and distracts from real issues, the collective eye roll of the public is likely a positive sign for Canada’s democracy.

    • Eric Weiss says:

      Or the majority of Canadians just saw it as the usual childish behaviour displayed in the HoC.

  3. Art says:

    It boils down to a few media types, a few partisans commenters and a few opportunistic politicians making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s refreshing to see the common sense displayed by ordinary Canadians.

  4. lori says:

    reading facebook comments and my amateur polling of people around me, most felt Trudeau took care of business and improved their thinking of a Man in Charge, (ie don cherry too !) Ndpers and apolitical types, thought the NDP overreaction was a joke and really angered them, i see Mulcair stepping down before House rises in fall.

  5. Brendan says:

    This event is the definition of a tempest in a teapot, and the backlash directed toward the NDP is evidence of that. They come off worse by far by leaping to ‘violence against woman’ comments, which is ridiculous. I would suggest the next national poll may find them a point *behind* the Green Party.

    Internationally, here is where we are at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geUaExNq9-Y&feature=player_embedded

    • Richard says:

      I agree. It’s embarrassing seeing some of the media trying to establish this as some sort of long-term turning point for Trudeau and his favourable ratings. A guy on CBC said that it would be a “barnacle” sticking on the SS Trudeau, while David Akin says Trudeau “brought dishonour to his office and he fouled the legislature.” It’s absurd. Was it an inappropriate act unbecoming of a Prime Minister? Yes. But he promptly apologized for his action. I think most Canadians will end up viewing this the same way as Chretien’s Shawinigan handshake.

  6. Matt says:

    A few things:

    1) The media is reporting the poll sample is 2,000 people. This is not true. From Abacus data – “Our data include 1,367 cases gathered before the event (before 8pm ET on Wednesday) and 633 cases after.

    So in reality, only 633 of the 2000 people were asked about the incident.

    2) Media again reporting only 14% followed the incident. Again not true. from Abacus – “14% said they were following it very closely, 26% said somewhat closely” So actually 40% of people were following it.

    3) Of the 71% of people who said it didn’t change their opinion of Trudeau, what was their opinion before the incident? Same for the 23% who said it changed their view of him to the negative and the 6% who said it changed their view to the positive

    • Francis says:

      Your questions don’t make any sense. Are you questioning the veracity of the poll itself; i.e. the data, the methodology, the sample size or are you questioning media interpretation?

      Heres the link to the Abacus poll itself: http://abacusdata.ca/was-elbowgate-a-pivot-point/

      Some of your questions regarding the numbers are clearly answered within the explanation provided by Abacus. Several factors such as party affiliation and prior implied opinions are in fact outlined.

      You first point is plainly false. Go read the entire methodology section (particularly the second paragraph) where Abacus distinctly explains at what point people were contacted at.

      Again, if you are questioning media interpretation on the poll then the questions regarding the numbers themselves are simply contrived since the polling data and interpretation by media are totally independent of one another.

  7. Joe says:

    I don’t put much trust in polls like this. While people aren’t familiar with the minutia they are developing a perception of Trudeau as PM and it is becoming less favorable with incidences like crossing the line and manhandling opposition members. A single incident likely won’t have much impact but if Trudeau does something equally foolish in the future…..

    • Art says:

      No, peoples perception of Trudeau is holding firm and maybe even improving after this event. It seems you personally would love to see him take a hit from this but, sadly for you, that’s not the case.

  8. Don Johnson says:

    This one incident may currently have minimal impact, but it will become a part of the narrative. Eventually, if similar losses of self-control manifest themselves, it will define who the PM is.

  9. David says:

    Most people I know see in the footage that Trudeau was merely guiding Brown back to his seat and getting him away from some NDP MPs who were wasting everyone’s time. The image of angry Tom and the indignation from opposition MPs cause people to roll their eyes. The elbowing was an accident. Let’s move on. Lesson for Trudeau: Stay in your seat and let your house leader and whip deal with the parliamentary fracas.

  10. Charlie K says:

    Numbers don’t lie; and based on the ones that are being presented through this Abacus poll, it appears that things remain pretty much the same as they were prior to the dramatized episode in the HoC last week.

    Hopefully now, for all that is good on God’s green earth, the media can move the f*ck on and talk about something else. Because its been 5 days of incessant punditry and coverage on something the majority of people outside of Ottawa don’t give a shit about. Really, they have no reason to be talking about this any further if Canadians at large are not interested. Peddling this issue any further would be pure sensationalization with the intent of torquing the discourse into a pseudo controversy.

    The Opposition got what it needed out of this, they exploited the situation to an extreme extent and succeeded in their mission. This story warrants neither a hashtag nor another insipid article dissecting the matter.

    Move on Ottawa; move on politicos.

  11. Davie says:

    Oh, good! everything is okay,then.
    From now on any MP who figures things are not going well can take immediate action,and doesn’t have to hold back if anyone does not get out of his effing way.
    …and female MP’s had just better start wearing sports bras.

  12. Greyapple says:

    Meh, I don’t think anyone thought it would hurt his standing dramatically, and the opposition (especially the NDP), overplaying their hand did him some favors. That still doesn’t excuse his behaviour, or detract from the fact that his government had a bad week. Motion 6 was far more troublesome than his temper tantrum, and I’m glad the government was forced to withdraw it as a result.

  13. ottawacon says:

    The real question is what happens in the summer recess. While it lends itself to hyperbole better than anything the Harper government faced in 2006, at root it is not that different from some of the struggles that the first Harper government faced. Rookie Cabinet ministers in over their heads, in minister’s offices filled with people who had proved themselves running a campaign, but had no clue how to work in government. On the one hand, the Liberals have the advantage of a solid majority, but that brings with it expectations. On the other, the January election meant that the summer recess arrived three months of foundering earlier than what we are seeing now. I expect that much like 2006, there won’t be a Cabinet shuffle as that ends up being an admission of sorts, but a lot of people are going to be moved around or out of Minister’s offices in July.

  14. Ron says:

    It reminded me of the old Carson running gag “Things we’d like to do just once.”

  15. Maps Onburt says:

    Anyone who thought this one incident would significantly move the polls in any direction with two lame duck opposition leaders is a little bit ahead of Trudeau’s pot laws. I do believe though that when people look back six months from now and wonder what happened to his extended honeymoon, they’ll point at this. In the total scheme of things, this amounts to not more than noise but it will be used to define him. That’s not a good thing.

  16. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I don’t agree with the view that this won’t affect Liberal support. Just look at Harper in 2011: he quite deliberately moved right and produced a general course of legislation that was not necessarily in sync with Canadians. Four years of that produced a desire for a change that Harper himself had absolutely no idea existed. Et voilà.

    Trudeau must not go down a road that gradually puts him at odds with most Canadians. He and Cameron will push no ransom at the G7 — for my part, that is contrary to the general welfare of Canadians. No amount of money is equal to the loss of a single life.

    • bluegreenblogger says:

      Well as an Economist, I must say that your valuation of a human life is actually terrifying, inasmuch as a lot of people share your badly misguided opinion. It is because of people like you that the Transport Ministries, City Services, design of public buildings and infrastructure, safety standards, building code officials, etc etc. have to pretend that human life is priceless. Do you actually know what that means? It means that they do not know how much they can spend to save peoples lives. ‘Do we actually need this crosswalk? It will cost $750,000, save three lives in the next 50 years, and cause $x in traffic delays’. But no, they cannot make that analysis, because actually daring to decide how much to spend to save a life is verboten. How many people do you think die needlessly because of your fainting vapours over knowing the facts like, what can we spend to save a life?

  17. JH says:

    Anderson of Abacus’s daughter is Trudeau’s chief hack – so there goes the credibility on that. Legit or not, you just can’t trust those kind of connections. It’s like McKenna’s husband still writing columns for Macleans – doesn’t pass the smell test.
    At least Rob Silver had enough class to get off P&P.

    • bluegreenblogger says:

      now that is the dumbest comment I have read here in years. Anderson is one of the few people I can think of who will not let partisanship replace reality. He is a professional for whom I have the greatest respect.

  18. The 6% have got to be diehard partisans who don’t really get what either liberalism or “sunny ways” mean.

    As for paying attention, I have to agree that most people aren’t. In a meeting over the weekend, I asked the group, which included folks from about ages 18 to 48, what they knew about “elbowgate” or what had happened in parliament the week prior. Stunned silence. One did note he’d seen a billboard for elbowpads that were “Trudeau-proof,” but it seemed he hadn’t quite gotten the joke till I explained the story to them.

  19. Eric Weiss says:

    Enough with the “Elbowgate” already. Anything even remotely perceived as a potential scandal is called Whatever-gate. Really is that the best we can come up with?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.