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- A recent public opinion poll found that a majority of respondents didn’t think Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s handling of the trucker protest made them want to vote for him. But the poll didn’t ask whether they would support him or not.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has faced criticism for his handling of the truck drivers’ protest against COVID-19 vaccines, but a recent Facebook post mischaracterizes a poll about his approval.
"Trudeau is DONE?! Only 16% Of Canadians Would SUPPORT Trudeau After Trucker Protest!" the post says.
It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The statistic has a verifiable source, but the Facebook post distorts what the poll actually showed.
On Feb. 14, Maru Public Opinion released the results of a survey about Trudeau and the trucker protest.
The survey asked: "Do you think Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made you want to vote for him because of how he has dealt with the situation?"
According to the results, "Only one-in-six Canadians (16%) think the Prime Minister has made them want to vote for him because of how he has dealt with the situation. This compares with two thirds (63%) who disagree and another one-in-five (21%) who are not sure."
We reached out to Maru’s executive vice president about the survey but didn’t hear back. So we reached out to some other pollsters about how the Facebook post interpreted the results.
Janine Parry, a political science professor at the University of Arkansas and director of The Arkansas Poll, told us "it’s a reach."
She offered a comparison that may resonate with some parents: "My teen’s current grade in geometry has little support in this household, but that hardly means we aren’t optimistic about next year, or even next week."
As for gauging whether someone approves of a politician overall, or whether they’ll cast a ballot for that person or party in the next election, "it makes sense to just ask that, rather than interpolating from a particularly polarizing event," Parry said.
The survey didn’t ask participants point blank if they would support or vote for Trudeau, which is what the Facebook post suggests.
Someone could disapprove of how Trudeau has handled the demonstration and still intend to support him. Still, as CNN reported, some people have stretched the meaning of the poll results beyond the framing of the survey questions.
"While the poll did show that there is considerable Canadian discontent with Trudeau’s handling of the protests, it’s not true that only 16% of Canadians said they want Trudeau back as prime minister, as a Fox contributor claimed, or that only 16% would vote for Trudeau again, as the right-wing Washington Examiner reported," CNN said.
Other recent public opinion polls have found that Trudeau’s national support is lagging. On Feb. 3, for example, Abacus Data released results from a nationwide poll that found 14% of respondents thought Trudeau responded to the convoy well, and 33% thought he handled it as well as possible. And on Feb. 14, the Angus Reid Institute found that about 65% of Canadians believed that Trudeau’s comments and actions had worsened the situation. Overall, the same poll found, 40% of Canadians approved of the prime minister and 57% disapproved. We didn’t find any survey results reflecting that only 16% of Canadians supported Trudeau overall.
The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate this post Mostly False.
Facebook post, Feb. 15, 2022
Maru Public Opinion, Trudeau’s troubles, Feb. 14, 2022
Associated Press, As Canada protests persist, so do challenges for Trudeau, Feb. 15, 2022
Angus Reid Institute, Blockade Backlash: Three-in-four Canadians tell convoy protesters, ‘Go Home Now,’ Feb. 14, 2022
Abacus Data, Pandemic frustration may be running high, but more don’t side with the so-called "Freedom Convoy," Feb. 3, 2022
Reuters, Analysis-Pandemic Fatigue a Challenge for Canada's Trudeau Amid Protests, Feb. 17, 2022
Email interview with Janine Parry, Department of Political Science, University Professor and Arkansas Poll Director, The University of Arkansas Feb. 21, 2022
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