Provincial Premiers race for the bottom

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As we know, our friends at Angus Reid Polling like to take quarterly looks at Canada’s Premiers and see who is perceived to be doing well, or not.

And right now, three conservative premiers are in a dog fight — a race to the bottom if you will.

Those three are Ontario’s Doug Ford (35 per cent approval), Manitoba’s Brian Palmister (33 per cent approval) and Alberta’s Jason Kenney (31 per cent approval). So Kenney is currently leading the race.

All other provincial premiers have approvals over 53 per cent, including B.C.’s John Horgan who is well regarded by 63 per cent of the population.

And in those three provinces where premiers’ approvals are circling the drain, the NDP is coming on strong in the intent to vote category.

In Ontario, Ford had already lost a substantial amount of the positive feelings he engendered in his original handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. And he has lost a further 15 points in the past three months. It hasn’t been easy for Ford. The populace believes he waited too long in imposing restrictions, they don’t like the way the vaccine rolled out in the province (although to be fair, initial vaccine rollout wasn’t great across the country) and they don’t approve of a number of perceived flip flops in restrictions.

And in fact, Ford’s approval of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is his highest number. 34 per cent approve of that . In all the categories his approval is even worse. 33 per cent for health care, 28 per cent for the economy, 26 per cent on education, down to 15 per cent approval for his work on poverty and homelessness. This is the worst in the country.

Ford has one year to right the ship as he must call an election in June of 2022.

Jason Kenney’s free fall with the voters of Alberta continues as he has lost another eight per cent in approval in the past three months. Again, it’s the perception that he didn’t do enough soon enough on COVID restrictions as Alberta had the worst outbreak in North America in May. He was also caught having a non-socially distanced dinner with party members a few weeks ago which went over with a thud. It will be interesting to see the after-affects of him giving the green light to the Calgary Stampede next month. If it results in a big COVID outbreak, Kenny may look back on his June approval numbers with fondness.

And again, Kenney and his party are receiving low grades on all aspects of governing, not just the pandemic. Kenny has two years to improve his grades as the next Alberta election doesn’t have to be until the spring of 2023. Kenney’s UCP is running 11 points behind the NDP right now, and there is also a challenge from the right as the Wildrose Independence Party is gaining support. Going to be a tough few years for Kenney.

Here in B.C. John Horgan continues with approval ratings of 63 per cent, and it rises to 73 per cent in terms of handling the COVID-19 crisis. Perhaps it’s because restrictions in B.C. began earlier which allowed them to be ramped up or down more easily depending on case numbers. It has been a more cautious approach that most seem to approve of. And the reopening will proceed cautiously as well with a four step plan. And Horgan has all the time in the world to enjoy these approval ratings as his government is only eight months old. His chief opponents, the B.C. Liberals, are once again seeking a new leader and appear to be about to retread Kevin Falcon, which may or may not be a wise decision.

Horgan is sitting pretty. Others, not so much.