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Just over half of Canadians believe the Liberals did a good job managing the pandemic, but they’re less favourable on the minority government’s handling of the economy, according to a new poll.

Overall, the Nanos Research poll conducted for The Globe and Mail shows Canadians are twice as likely to support the government’s pandemic response than give it a failing grade. Fifty-three per cent say the government did a good job, 21 per cent were neutral on the Liberal’s handling of the pandemic and 26 per cent said they did a poor job.

The poll was conducted between June 30 and July 5, against the backdrop of falling COVID-19 case counts and a rapidly increasing vaccination campaign.

Nanos Research founder Nik Nanos said the poll shows people “see things moving in the right direction,” but he cautioned that the pandemic is still a “work in progress” and people are feeling tentative because of the unpredictable nature of the health crisis.

The poll shows people are feeling “marginally positive,” Mr. Nanos said, reflecting the fact that Canada had relatively few deaths and cases despite scathing reports showing the country was ill prepared for the pandemic.

The survey shows a similar verdict on two other major files that the federal government is responsible for: Canada-U.S. relations and the economy, Mr. Nanos said.

On handling the relationship with the White House, 54 per cent said the Liberals have done a good job, 21 per cent were neutral, 23 per cent said the government has done a poor job and 2 per cent were unsure.

The federal government spent hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out businesses and support Canadians during the pandemic, with a projected $354.2-billion deficit in 2020-21 and a $154.7-billion deficit forecast for this year. It’s on this file that Canadians are less positive. Just 42 per cent said the government has done a good job managing the economy, 25 per cent of poll respondents were neutral and 32 per cent said the Liberals have done a bad job. One per cent was unsure.

“The overall takeaway is that the Liberals are doing okay, but they’re not doing exceptionally well on any of these big issues,” Mr. Nanos said. “I think what we’re seeing is people are more likely to be positive than negative but there’s not a lot of enthusiasm.”

While that might not look good heading into a widely expected federal election, in comparison to the other parties Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s party is well positioned, Mr. Nanos said.

“If they were competing against perfection, they would be in really big trouble. but they’re competing against the other opposition parties,” he said. “So right now they look relatively better than the Conservatives, for example, and Erin O’Toole.”

The hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,051 Canadian adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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