Poll finds falling approval for Liberals among Muslims and Jews

Some Edmontonians support a ceasefire in Palestine
Some Edmontonians support a ceasefire in PalestineCourtesy Janis Irwin/Twitter

A new poll finds that support for the Liberals has shrunk among Canadian Muslims and Jews in recent weeks.

New data from the Angus Reid Institute finds the Liberals’ balancing act in addressing the Israel-Gaza conflict costing it support among two key constituencies. Trudeau’s party trails the NDP (41% to 31%) in vote intent among Muslims and the CPC (42% to 33%) among Jews.

Pierre Poilievre and the Conservative party are the preferred choice of a majority (53%) of Christians, Hindus (53%) and Sikhs (54%).

Angus Reid Institute

Overall, the Liberals trail the opposition Conservative party by 20 points. They are the preferred party of no age or gender demographic and are in at most second place in any province in the country.

This comes as Canadians of all religious stripes – or none – report deteriorating opinions of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. As the federal government attempts to navigate its response to the ongoing war in Gaza, it has earned plenty of criticism from Muslims and Jews. Among both groups, at least half say their opinion of Trudeau has worsened in recent weeks.

Angus Reid Institute

Poilievre has positive momentum among Evangelical Christians, and Hindus, and slight positive momentum among Mainline Protestants.

A majority (51%) of Muslims say their opinion of Trudeau has worsened recently. In December, a group of Muslim donors who had donated hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to the Liberal party since 2014, said it was withdrawing support from the party after Trudeau had not called for a ceasefire in December. Then, the National Council of Muslims cancelled a meeting with the prime minister in January after the government had “failed to move on substantive hate-crime legislation” and failed to support and protect Palestinians in Gaza.

Meanwhile, since the onset of the war in Gaza, antisemitic incidents in Canada have risen, and Trudeau has faced criticism for not properly addressing the increased violence and hate directed towards Jews in Canada. His government has also faced accusations that it has backed off from its prior support of Israel. Half (49%) of Canadian Jews say their opinion of the prime minister has worsened in recent weeks.

The opposition leaders have not seen a significant positive lift in views from either Muslims or Jews as opinions of Trudeau have worsened. Poilievre has also drawn the ire of Muslims after he was reluctant to call for a ceasefire and opposed Canada funding UNRWA. Half (47%) of Muslims say their view of him has worsened in recent weeks.

Singh is a narrow net positive among Muslims while half (47%) say their opinion of the NDP leader has stayed the same. Since the onset of the war, the NDP under Singh have been more supportive of the Palestinian side of the conflict.

In March, the NDP called on Canada to recognize the “State of Palestine” in a controversial motion brought to the House of Commons. More Canadian Jews say their opinion of Singh has worsened (38%) than improved (2%) recently.

Opinions of Poilievre have moved little among Canadian Jews. The stated “friend of the state of Israel” accused Trudeau of playing both sides of the conflict in a recent speech at a Montreal synagogue in March. One-quarter (25%) of Jews say their opinion has improved, but more (31%) say it has worsened.

Muslim support was courted by the Liberals to help power them to a majority government in 2015. Trudeau positioned himself and the Liberals as the antithesis to Harper and the Conservatives’ “barbaric cultural practices” hotline and the controversial C-51 anti-terror legislation, which were both unpopular among Canadian Muslims.

Liberal governments under Trudeau prioritized recognizing and combatting Islamophobia, including with a controversial bill in 2017, and the establishment of special representative on combatting Islamophobia in 2023.

Meanwhile, the Liberals supported a Conservative motion condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel in 2016 and Trudeau has continuously voiced support for Israel, including when a previous Israel-Gaza conflict included the shooting of a Canadian doctor by an Israeli sniper in 2018. Canadian Jews criticized the government after the Liberals restored funding in 2016 to the Palestinian aid organization UNRWA previously cut by the Conservatives under Harper.

Approaching two-thirds of Canadians identify as religious. While more than half of Canadians overall identify as Christian, there are growing proportions of Canadians who identify as Muslim, Hindu and Sikh – double the number who did so 25 years ago.

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