Canadians Doubt Trudeau Is Best Leader to Handle a Second Trump Term

Canadians Doubt Trudeau Is Best Leader to Handle a Second Trump Term

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(Bloomberg) — Canadians are skeptical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ability to negotiate with Donald Trump if the former US president returns to power, a new poll found.

Only 28% named Trudeau as the political leader who would do the best job of dealing with Trump, even though the Canadian prime minister has experience — his government managed the renegotiation of the North American trade deal during Trump’s first term. 

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Almost 40% said Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, who’s known for his combative public persona, could better handle Trump. A further 25% didn’t see any difference between the two leaders, according to the poll conducted by Nanos Research Group for Bloomberg News.

“The incumbent prime minister usually has an advantage over challengers on issues like this,” said Nik Nanos, the firm’s chief data scientist. “It is not the case currently.”

In general, Trudeau has fallen far behind Poilievre in national public opinion surveys, with his party often trailing by 15 percentage points or more. An election could come at any time, but it’s most likely to take place in 2025.

Trump, the likely Republican nominee, is leading key swing states against President Joe Biden, according to Bloomberg News/Morning Consult polling. If Trump wins the election in November, Canada may be confronted with issues around trade, defense spending and border security.

Read More: Swing-State Voters Blame Biden for Migrant Surge at the Border

During his first term, Trump forced a renegotiation of the continental free trade deal now known as the USMCA, and a joint review of that deal is scheduled to happen in 2026. 

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Trump drew condemnation from Biden and others with comments that suggested he wouldn’t come to the defense of NATO member countries that aren’t meeting defense spending targets. Canada spends far below the target of 2% of gross domestic product set by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

One bright spot for Trudeau is that women were significantly more likely to back him in the Bloomberg/Nanos poll. Some 36% of women picked Trudeau as the best leader to square off with Trump, compared with 29% for Poilievre. 

The survey was conducted from Jan. 29 to 31 with 1,114 respondents across Canada, and has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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