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Trudeau still the best shot at reviving Liberal fortunes, polls suggest

Justin Trudeau listens to a reporter's question during a press conference in Vancouver, on Friday November 23, 2012.

Justin Trudeau is still the one to beat in the Liberal leadership race, two polls released on Friday suggest.

Both polls were conducted among a larger population of Canadians, and not specifically among the Liberal party members and supporters who will pick the new leader.

(For those not obsessively following the race, there are currently seven officially registered candidates for the leadership: MPs Marc Garneau, Joyce Murray and Mr. Trudeau; former MP Martha Hall Findlay; Toronto lawyers Deborah Coyne and George Takach; and former Canadian Forces officer Karen McCrimmon.)

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A survey by Angus Reid asked whether 10 official and possible contenders were a good or bad choice to lead the Liberal Party.

Forty-five per cent said Mr. Trudeau was a good choice to lead the party, while 26 per cent said he was a bad choice and 29 per cent said they weren't sure.

Mr. Garneau had favourable numbers of 31 per cent to 13 per cent, while 56 per cent weren't sure. Ms. Hall Findlay's breakdown was 12 per cent good, 14 per cent bad, and 74 per cent unsure.

The rest of the candidates struggled with being known, with more than 80 per cent "not sure" numbers.

The Angus Reid poll also shows the potential that Mr. Trudeau's candidacy has on the national race: 42 per cent of decided voters said they'd vote for the Liberals if Mr. Trudeau was leader, while other candidates didn't appear to make respondents more likely to want to vote for the party. (The Liberals averaged 23 per cent support in December 2012.)

The Angus Reid poll was conducted among 1,012 panelists from Jan. 2 and 3, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 per cent.

A poll by Ipsos Reid asked, instead, who respondents expected to win the leadership race. Sixty-nine per cent picked Mr. Trudeau and 19 per cent picked Mr. Garneau, while Ms. Hall Findlay and Ms. Murray got 5 per cent each. Ms. Coyne was picked by 2 per cent. (Ms. McCrimmon and Mr. Takach were not included, nor was an option for "I don't know.")

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The Ipsos Reid poll was conducted among 1,021 panelists from Dec. 7 to Dec 12, 2012, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 per cent.

Both polls were conducted by surveying online panelists. A recent analysis by ThreeHundredEight.com's Éric Grenier showed that these types of online polls consistently show lower support for the Liberals, compared to results from other polling methods.

Mr. Grenier also showed that the federal Liberals have gotten higher support in polls since Mr. Trudeau threw his hat into the ring.

The race will be decided in April.

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About the Author
Assistant editor, Ottawa

Chris Hannay is assistant editor in The Globe's Ottawa bureau and author of the daily Politics newsletter. Previously, he was The Globe and Mail's digital politics editor, community editor for news and sports (working with social media and digital engagement) and a homepage editor. More

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