As the fallout of the SNC-Lavalin issue starts to ebb for the Liberal Party of Canada, it allows us to look at the impact the issue had on not only the Liberals but the other two main parties, the Conservatives and the New Democrats as well.
Since the SNC story broke in the Globe and Mail on February 7, the issue has dominated Canadian political online discussions, being the most discussed by a wide margin. But as you can see below, attention has turned elsewhere since PM Trudeau expelled MPs Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus in early April.
There is no question the SNC issue consumed some Liberal political capital, but was it just a blip in the polls, or did it cause some longer term problems with the public?
Current polls indicate that the impact has been damaging to the Liberals, as the lead they had at the start of the year vanished and in some polls, they are in a distant second.
Our analysis of support trends via online discussions since the start of the year shows similar results, with the CPC gradually increasing their support, with both the NDP and Liberals decreasing by approximately 4-6 points. However, as we see in the chart below, while the NDP support has been stable after a large decrease before the SNC story broke, Liberal support has stabilized at a new lower level just over the past month.
But through our work in the political arena, we know that a better indicator of the long term damage certain events cause for parties or candidates is the average sentiment expressed in discussions about the party over time. Based on this metric, the Liberals should be very concerned about the acceleration of a decreasing sentiment trend over the past two months due to the SNC fallout. We can see below how the gap in sentiment trends between the Liberals and the other two parties has been growing at a faster pace since the first week of February.
The last week seems to have broken this trend as sentiment has turned more positive for the Liberals. We will be watching closely to determine if this continues over the next weeks since increasing negatives will certainly cause the Liberals some problems in the fall if they are unable to reverse the trend.
Eyesover Technologies’ analysis of political public opinion consists of continuously measuring and analyzing mentions and sentiment for each candidate/party from online comments pertaining to political parties and/or issues sourced from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit and online news sites and as such, would not be considered a survey based on recognized statistical methods. During the January 1 - April 16 period, we analyzed comments from approximately 21,000 online accounts per day.