Liberal leader Justin Trudeau speaks at Ryerson in 2013. (Ryersonian file photo)

By: Trevor Green

JRN 105 and 106

Support for Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is diminishing, suggests a recent poll of university students.

The poll, which was carried out by the Ryerson School of Journalism, indicates the government has an approval rating of 39 per cent, down from 46 per cent in a similar campus poll conducted in 2016.

This decline in support appears to reflect what’s happening in the rest of the country, as Canadians cool towards Trudeau.

Backtracking on electoral reform

A recent poll carried out by Nanos Research in Toronto suggests Trudeau and his party have taken a hit in every region of the country.

Some students castigated the prime minister for his glaring backtracking on electoral reform.

“When he [Trudeau] broke his promise on changing the voting system, he showed us he was all talk,” said Sebin Kang, a first-year English student. “I won’t support him anymore. The honeymoon is over.”

Spike in distrust could have many factors: professor

“I don’t think your poll is a fluke. I think it reflects the truth: we are fed up. He took us all for a ride.”

Carolyn Johns, a Ryerson professor in the department of politics and public administration, believes Trudeau’s about-face on the “first-past-the-post” system could have something to do with his waning support.

Story continues below infographic.

“Obviously, his reneging on electoral reform might be one explanation. But it could also be his approval of the [Northern Gateway] pipeline, which I know angered many of my students,” said Johns.

“But his support among young people may yet rise again … legislation on the legalization of marijuana will be presented soon. I think that’s a popular stance with young people.”

Jagmeet Sra, a fourth-year political science student at Ryerson and a youth representative for the Toronto Centre Federal Liberal Association, believes last year’s more favorable poll reflects how unpopular Stephen Harper and the Conservative party were.

“Trudeau came into power when Harper was very unpopular, so his initial ‘honeymoon’ excitement has perhaps worn off,” said Sra. “This might be the reason the poll difference is as drastic as it is.

“Also, students are fickle. Last year, we saw the gender parity in the cabinet and we saw Trudeau laughing with Obama, but so far this year, the agenda is a lot less active in terms of ‘cool’ things.”

The survey at Ryerson University of 897 undergraduate students was a randomized poll, conducted person-to-person from March 3-7, 2017. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

This is a joint byline. Ryersonian staff are responsible for the news website edited and produced by final-year undergraduate and graduate journalism students at Ryerson University. It features all the content from the weekly campus newspaper, The Ryersonian, and distributes news and online multimedia, including video newscasts from RyersonianTV. also provides videos, images, and other interactive material in partnership with the School of Journalism.

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