As Albertans, we like to think of ourselves as a pretty independent bunch – just ask those pesky Wexiters. According to Proof’s 2020 examination of Canadian trust levels conducted in January, Albertans had the lowest trust in government compared to their fellow Canadians, at sitting at just 26%. We also had the lowest trust in Prime Minister Trudeau, at just 25%.
But COVID-19 may have changed some Albertans’ minds, at least for the time being. In our research, we’ve asked our research panel to indicate their confidence in political leaders and government organizations. Based on the more than 650 responses we received, we’re seeing that in this time of crisis, Albertans are investing more trust in institutions like AHS and in governments generally than they did just a few months ago.
Approval of the Prime Minister’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic sits at 48% – while this number may be low, when compared to the trust levels of January, this represents a significant jump in approval of over 20%.
Trust in AHS and in Dr. Hinshaw is also high. 77% of respondents in our latest poll agreed they trust AHS’ decisions with respect to COVID-19, and 85% indicate they trust Dr. Hinshaw as a source of information and action.
We’re extrapolating and comparing two different data sets here, so we have to be careful about the conclusions we draw. But the difference between the institutional trust and confidence just a few months ago and today raises a interesting thought – it seems that when decisions of our leaders truly matter – when faced with a life and death crisis – perhaps rhetoric and positioning fall away.
Tomorrow we’ll be back talking about our findings on leadership approval at the provincial level, and what that might mean for the future of Alberta’s political landscape.
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