The economy is weak, the price of oil has collapsed, and the loonie is doing a swan dive, but Canadians are surprisingly happy with the performance of the federal government and the general direction of the country.

Since 2007, Nanos Research and the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) have partnered to take the political pulse of the nation. This year, the pulse couldn’t be clearer.

A large majority (60%) rated the performance of the new Liberal government as good or very good. To some extent, that’s not surprising; new governments often enjoy a honeymoon. More interesting is that this positive assessment is a new record in the nine years the survey has been conducted – and fully 50% higher than the previous record of 40% recorded after the Conservatives won a majority in 2011.

And this good feeling extends to the nation at large, despite the economy’s struggles in 2015 and harbingers of more bad news in 2016. Sixty-three percent said Canada “is moving in the right direction” – only a hair below the 66% who said the same in 2007, when the economy was booming.

The most dramatic change recorded by the survey involves federal-provincial relations, which slightly more than half of Canadians felt had improved – a positive assessment more than double the highest response since 2007.

Of course, for the government, such exuberance comes with risk. In today’s fickle political environment, a successful government is one which is adept at managing expectations.

So far, it looks like the Liberals are satisfied to let them run high.

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Photo: Anton Bielousov /

Nik Nanos
Nik Nanos is the chief data scientist and founder of Nanos Research and an adjunct research professor at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs.

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