It wasn’t a good week for Canada’s “wokest” leader, Justin Trudeau, after multiple images of the Liberal Party Prime Minister in ‘brownface’ and ‘blackface’ emerged. If the images from a 2001 “Arabian Nights” party released Wednesday weren’t bad enough, a follow-up video showing a separate third blackface incident released soon after his public apology made things even worse, taking the cringe level higher. 

Two major polls published Saturday show that during the days encompassing the scandal emerging, Canada’s Liberal Party took a hit, however a modest one, in what could be a sign of more significant slipping to come.

Reuters reports of the two polls’ results, less than five weeks ahead of the country’s Oct. 21 federal election:

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer had a 4.8 percentage-point lead against Trudeau, according to a Nanos Research poll published on Saturday for CTV and the Globe and Mail newspaper. Scheer had a 3.2 percentage-point lead in the previous survey published on Friday.

Conservatives would win 36.8% of the vote and the Liberals 32%, the poll said

The Nanos poll was conducted over three nights until Sept. 20. The first image of Trudeau in blackface at a 2001 “Arabian Nights” party when he was a 29-year-old teacher emerged on the evening of Sept. 18.

And of the second poll, Reuters summarizes:

The Liberals were leading in a Mainstreet poll published by iPolitics on Saturday, but had lost 0.4 percentage point from the previous survey compared with a 0.2 percentage-point slide by the Conservatives.

The Mainstreet poll, conducted between Sept. 17 and 19, had the Liberals at 36.8% compared with 34.2% for the Conservatives.

Scheer, Trudeau’s Conservative rival vying to replace him as PM, has been in a statistical tie with the incumbent in most polls taken for the past few months, but got the noticeable bump just as the images surfaced.

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Meanwhile the New Democratic Party (NDP) and Green Party are pouncing, and can now more easily hit Trudeau from the left, pealing off additional valuable liberal votes.

“Almost none of the soft Liberal support is interested in tipping to the Conservatives. Any Liberal scandal doesn’t significantly increase Conservative support, but would go to the NDP or Greens,” said Marc Di Gaspero, of consumer research firm Potloc.

Analysts cited by Reuters suggest Trudeau’s lingering blackface scandal might not necessarily cause a mass exodus of Liberals in terms of support, but would most likely see many more simply stay home compared to if the damning images had never emerged.

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