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Time for change in Ottawa? New poll finds half of Canadians want fall federal election

In the multiple-exposed image Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, left, asks a question and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau answers during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

EDMONTON (CityNews) — It seems a federal election isn’t the last thing on the minds of Canadians.

A new Angus Reid poll found half of Canadians believe it’s time for a change in Ottawa — and it’s not just Conservatives.

“You even get 17 per cent of Liberals who voted for the government in 2019 who say that. They’re obviously led heavily by Conservatives, 88 per cent of whom say it’s time for a change,” said Dave Korzinski, research director at Angus Reid Institute.

Still, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have not relinquished their lead in the polls since the arrival of COVID-19. That yearlong pandemic may in fact be a key reason for maintaining the poll position.

“The idea of another party coming in almost suggests interruption of that response, because you’d have to switch over so many things and people in places of power, so that uniformity of response really favours the Liberals,” said Korzinski.

Another Liberal edge: their leader. Trudeau has the highest favourability at 45 per cent. This, as the gap between those who favour Erin O’Toole and those who don’t continues to grow.

“His favourability really isn’t improving,” said Korzinski of the Conservative leader. “If anything, the people who have gone from knowing nothing about him have formed an unfavourable view.”

As a result, Conservatives might have to turn over some rocks in unexpected places in hopes of defeating the Liberals.

“You need to get a few Bloc supporters in Quebec, potentially a few NDP voters who aren’t seeing what they want in the Liberals,” said Korzinski.

Despite the simmering election conversation, Canadians aren’t eager for a spring or summer election – nearly two thirds prefer that politics not interrupt the warm weather.

But it’s a different story once the cold weather rolls back around, and the vaccine rollout has likely wrapped up.

“If you ask after September, it flips quite a bit,” said Korzinski. “Two thirds of Canadians saying that’s okay, that an election would be alright between September and December.”