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Polls show O'Toole bridging gap with Trudeau, neck and neck

Canadian vaccine delivery has grinded to a halt, and the country has foregoed producing domestically like the United States. Having slipped to 33rd worldwide in doses administered while being forced to suffer the "shame of taking from COVAX, the vaccine-sharing initiative meant to assist developing nations," Trudeau's numbers are finally starting to slip.

The number of Canadians who say the Trudeau government has done a “bad job” of securing vaccines has nearly doubled since December. Similarly, Angus Reid reports that "confidence in that same body’s ability to effectively distribute doses to the provinces dropped from 58 to 45 per cent."

How does this reflect in polling data? It is clear that Trudeau is no longer polling in the low 40s as he was at the onset of the pandemic. Far from it. Although the Liberals made a slight comeback in popularity in November, the party has declined in support since then. Abacus Data shows the Liberals with 32% support (down 3 points from last month), the Conservatives at 31% (unchanged), the NDP at 18% (up 1) and the Greens at 7% (up 1).

In Ontario, where Trudeau received 41% of votes in 2019, he now stands at 38%. Where Trudeau once had in the low 40s in the Maritimes, he's now dipped into the high 30s.

One thing that remains the same, however, is the gender divide. Women continue to overwhelmingly favour Trudeau by a margin of 37% to 17% — women age 35-54 favour Trudeau by an even wider margin – 46% to 18%. The obverse is true for O'Toole: he holds a 9-point lead (32% to 23%) among men 18-34 and a 10-point lead (37% to 27%) among men aged 35-54.

Whatever the case, one thing is clear: Trudeau's numbers have slipped, whereas O'Toole's popularity has remained more or less the same. As the gap narrows, the possibility of Trudeau calling an early election is probably less likely than we might have assumed in early January.

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