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Predictions for Trudeau, Poilievre and the other federal leaders in the New Year: Nanos

In CTV News Trend Line's last episode of 2022, pollster Nik Nanos and host Michael Stittle discuss Canada's major federal parties – what moved the needle for them this year, and what do they have to look forward to in 2023?


With another pandemic-laden year that began with the convoy protests, the Liberals faced significant challenges in their efforts to advance their agenda in 2022. "I don't want to use the word excuse, but there is a reason why the Liberals have not been able to deliver and focus on their agenda," said Nanos, "because there (were) other events, massive events that have overtaken that."

But with the next federal election coming in 2025 (or sooner), the clock is ticking, and Nanos said they're going to want to try to deliver on some of the items on their agenda.

"Two words in terms of the prediction for 2023 for the Liberals: Hunger Games," said Nanos, referring to speculation on whether Justin Trudeau will stay on as Liberal Party leader, and the jockeying within cabinet and caucus amongst possible contenders for the job. "Does Justin Trudeau still have the fire in his belly to continue and fight another election?" asked Nanos.

While Trudeau has told his cabinet he intends to run, "he has to say that, because he can't be a lame duck leader and a lame duck prime minister," said Nanos. "But people, I think, will be putting him under the microscope, watching and listening to everything that he says and does to see if there are any signals as to his future staying on as the leader of the Liberal Party, or perhaps not staying on."

This could result in a year of some prominent Liberals "awkwardly" positioning themselves for a leadership bid, while still being loyal to Trudeau, according to Nanos.


The Conservatives were competitive throughout the year with the Liberals in Nanos' weekly national ballot tracking. Since January, the parties were either trading leads or were neck and neck for extended periods, with the Conservatives opening up a small but sustained lead that lasted over a month after Pierre Poilievre was crowned leader in September.

The parties were statistically tied a few weeks ago, but the Conservatives have opened up a four-point lead in latest tracking on Dec. 9.

Nanos' prediction for the Conservatives in 2023 is a "big focus" on fundraising, on efforts to build up their organization and a "new machinery for the election."

"Don't underestimate Pierre Poilievre. He's excellent at communicating, but he also knows what needs to be done to win elections," said Nanos, who added that the Conservative leader will continue to attack the Liberals and institutions such as the Bank of Canada, as well as the media.

"And he will use those attacks to be red meat to core Conservatives to open up their wallets, to build the war chest so that Pierre Poilievre can have all the resources at his disposal to challenge the federal Liberals."


Nanos said the fact the NDP was able to maintain ballot support hovering in the 20s throughout the year is "usually good news for the New Democrats and bad news for the Liberals" because of vote splits. But the existential question for the party remains whether they can keep supporting and propping up the Liberals with their confidence-and-supply agreement.

Just this week, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he's ready to withdraw from the deal reached in March -- a deal in which his party agreed to support the Liberals on key House of Commons votes to avoid triggering an election before 2025 -- if the Liberals fail to address the crisis in our health-care system.

This kind of jockeying will continue in 2023, said Nanos, when the NDP are going to have to decide what they're ready to push the Liberals on. "They've got their dental plan. What else are they going to ask as part of the agreement with the Liberals? How are they going to weather the storm that will happen at some point," said Nanos.

"How are they going to weather the next crisis that might not look well on the Liberals, with the New Democrats looking like the party that is propping up a government that is going through turbulence in 2023?"

For the rest of Nanos' analysis on the Green Party and Bloc Quebecois, and for the full Trend Line episode, hit play in our video player above or listen to it below in our podcast player.

CTV News Trend Line will return after the holidays on Jan. 18, 2023.



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