Trudeau factor gives Canada's struggling Liberals a boost

Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:23am EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's third-place Liberals have jumped in popularity since Justin Trudeau, son of flamboyant former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, said he would run for the party's leadership, a poll released on Monday showed.

A Nanos Research survey put support for the Liberals at 30.1 percent, up 5.5 percentage points from a poll by the same firm a month ago, before Trudeau's announcement. That vaulted them into second place, ahead of the left-leaning New Democrats, the largest opposition party.

Support for the NDP fell 2.5 percentage points to 27.9 percent.

Support for the governing Conservatives, who won a majority in the May 2011 election, inched up 0.9 percentage points to 33.3 percent. The next federal election is not due until October 2015.

The Liberals have governed Canada for longer than any other party, but they took third place in the 2011 election for the first time in their history. Support for the party had been slipping steadily since it lost power in early 2006.

Justin Trudeau said last month he would run for the Liberal leadership. Supporters hope the 40-year-old can recreate the "Trudeaumania" that swept his father into office in a landslide Liberal election win in 1968. Pierre Trudeau remained as prime minister, except for a short interruption in 1979-80, until 1984.

Pollster Nik Nanos warned, however, that the surge in Liberal popularity after Trudeau's announcement that he will run for the party's leadership may not stick.

"Many parties naturally do well during leadership races because voters can project onto a leaderless party based on the possible choices. One good month for the Liberals does not a trend line make," he said in a statement.

The Nanos Research telephone poll was conducted between Oct 4 and 11 and is considered to be accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Janet Guttsman; and Peter Galloway)

 
Liberal Party leadership candidate Justin Trudeau stands on stage with Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion during a rally in Mississauga, October 4, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Cassese