Y’all remember Andrew Scheer? His tenure as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada can hardly be remembered as a success, given that he lost an election that was being handed to him on a silver platter.
No one expected the Conservatives to lose the 2019 election. Trudeau had backed himself into a corner of scandal and the electorate was a ripe fruit to be plucked by a Conservative.
But it didn’t happen. The party pointed the finger at Scheer and who could blame them? He tried to save his job as leader but he was ousted.
Which is why current leader Erin O’Toole should be very unhappy with the latest Angus Reid poll.
Angus pulled a poll from December 2017 out of his back pocket, wherein Canadians were asked about the favourability of Andrew Scheer, just six months into his tenure as leader. And then Angus asked about the favourability of Erin O’Toole, just about he same amount of time into his leadership role, in January 2021.
Here’s the comparison. Eleven per cent of respondents found Scheer very favourable in 2017. The number for O’Toole is six per cent.
The slightly less enthusiastic ‘favourable’ category found Scheer at 24 per cent and O’Toole at 26 per cent. So O’Toole is only at 32 per cent favourable.
And now here is where the numbers get really alarming for O’Toole. In 2017, 16 per cent had an unfavourable view of Scheer. 23 per cent do not favour O’Toole. And a further 20 per cent found Scheer very unfavourable. That number rises to 23 per cent for O’Toole.
Finally, in 2017, 29 per cent of respondents hadn’t yet made their mind up about Scheer. Only 22 per cent say they don’t know enough about O’Toole yet.
When O’Toole goes head to head against Justin Trudeau he isn’t faring that well either. Trudeau’s approval is at 50 per cent, pretty much unchanged from the last poll. O’Toole’s approval is at 32 per cent.
Party to party, the Liberals have 35 per cent support, the Conservatives 30 per cent and the NDP at 20 per cent.
That’s not an insurmountable lead, but it’s the biggest lead the Liberals have had in quite some time.
O’Toole needs to get to work. He needs to figure out very quickly where he is getting traction with voters and where he is failing.
The COVID pandemic is not working in his favour either. The best thing O’Toole could do is hit the road and begin a real conversation with Canadians. Let us get to know him and where he stands on important issues.
Let’s remember back to before the 2019 election when NDP leader Jagmeet Singh began to travel the country and get his face out there. His approval ratings rose substantially.
But O’Toole can’t do that due to essential only travel recommendations and the inability to hold events. He is really in a bad position. His poll numbers need boosting and it needs to be done quickly, but he hasn’t got the traditional tools politicians use to do that.
As discussed last week, the in party fight with Derek Sloan isn’t doing him a lot of good either. And there are now rumblings that other socially conservative factions of the Conservative party, who supported O’Toole’s leadership bid, are wondering if he will turn on them.
Rock. Hard place. Meet Erin O’Toole.