Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is beating Prime Minster Justin Trudeau on Canada’s top economic issue, just over a month after taking the reins of the main opposition party. 

Polling by Nanos Research Group for Bloomberg News shows 30 per cent of Canadians rank Poilievre as the leader most trusted to reduce inflation, compared with 22 per cent for Trudeau and 10 per cent for Jagmeet Singh of the left-leaning New Democratic Party. 

Poilievre’s lead illustrates the extent to which the Conservative chief has been able to distinguish himself on the issue, focusing on cost of living during his campaign for the party leadership and hammering both the prime minister and central bank on it.

Nearly a fifth of Canadians don’t trust any of the major party leaders to curb inflation.

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For Trudeau, the polling numbers show his vulnerability on economic issues. Public confidence in the prime minister on inflation is tracking well below his Liberal Party’s overall support, which is closer to 30 per cent.

Poilievre’s lead “speaks to the effectiveness of the new Conservative leader in carving out a personal brand on the rising cost of living,” pollster Nik Nanos said by email. 

The government announced new measures last month to help low-income Canadians cope with rising prices. But it was slow to acknowledge the crisis earlier this year, and has tiptoed around its own responsibility in fanning inflation with pandemic-related spending.

Canadian inflation hit 8.1 per cent in June, the highest in almost four decades, and has eased somewhat to about 7 per cent since then. The Bank of Canada has raised interest rates by three percentage points since March to quell price pressures. Unlike the government, Governor Tiff Macklem has acknowledged that officials waited too long to withdraw stimulus from the economy.

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Poilievre has a two-to-one lead over Trudeau with men on the issue, while the prime minister holds a small but statistically-insignificant edge among women. The Conservative leader leads Trudeau in every region of the country except Quebec, and among Canadians under the age of 54. 

Trudeau is, however, doing better on the question of economic growth: 28 per cent of Canadians see him as the most trusted leader to deal with the issue, essentially tied with Poilievre.

The two rivals aren’t expected to square off in an election any time soon. In March, the prime minister and Singh struck a power-sharing deal that will likely see the New Democrats support the Liberals in parliament until 2025.

The Nanos survey of 1,037 people was conducted by phone and online between Sept. 30 and Oct. 3. It is considered accurate within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.