The permiers’ popularity poll

I believe I mentioned last week that there might be a slight Green wave in the future. That was proved true this week as the Green Party added a second MP in Ottawa, taking the Nanaimo Ladysmith by-election, much to the chagrin of the Liberals and NDP.

Is this going to set up a showdown in the next federal election of climate change believers against climate change deniers? Is denier too strong a word? Perhaps, avoiders.

We’re going to need to keep an eye on this interesting development.

Now, let’s talk polls.

Occasionally, perhaps because they have nothing better to do, polling companies take a look at how popular provincial premiers are.

And sometimes the results are a bit surprising. The last time pollsters did this was March, so the information is fairly current, except for Alberta, where there has been a change of premiers. Polling data from the Alberta election campaign showed that Jason Kenney’s approval actually never outpaced that of Rachel Notley very much. But he won anyway, so maybe these polls don’t really mean anything. Still, they are a snapshot. So let’s take a look.

The most popular premiers in Canada reside in Saskatchewan and Quebec.

In Quebec, Premier Francois Legault, who leads the centre-right Coalition Avenir Quebec enjoys 60 per cent approval. But that was March and since then his intention to go forward with Bill 21 has polarized much of the province. Bill 21 would bar much of the provincial civil service, including police officers, judges and public school teachers, from wearing religious symbols. Those who wear the hijab feel particularly singled out, although the bill is aimed at restriction of all religious symbols. Legault has indicated he may use his majority to force a vote by this summer. We’ll see how that works out the next time premiers’ popularity is polled.

Meanwhile, all is rosy in Saskatchewan for Premier Scott Moe, at 59 per cent approval. That approval has risen seven points since he took office last year, according to Angus Reid. Moe is another Premier who feels the carbon tax was born in the depths of hell, and has vowed to fight it.

We now move to the middle of pack, where B.C. Premier John Horgan is firmly ensconced.

Horgan has a 52 per cent approval rating, and that has risen nine points since last December. That’s his highest rating yet, and an indication that his stance on pipelines remains popular with a slight majority of British Columbians. Our pals at Angus Reid also point out that BC Liberal Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson has failed to ignite much of a spark among voters, which works to Horgan’s advantage.

In New Brunswick, Conservative Blaine Higgs sits at 49 per cent, not entirely comfortable for one who leads a minority government, but not bad. His approval has also risen in recent months.

In Manitoba, Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Palmister has a 44 per cent approval. That’s up, perhaps riding on his promise to cut the provincial sales tax from eight to seven per cent.

Now to the below 40 crowd.

While many conservative premiers remain popular, Doug Ford’s special charm doesn’t seem to be convincing a lot of Ontario’s voters.

It appears that the Doug Ford honeymoon is over. Depending on the poll, Ford’s approval is somewhere between 34 and 38 per cent, which is not stellar. Ford is now fully into cutting costs like some modern day Edward Scissorhands, and moves such as increasing class sizes are getting some blowback. He also narrowly sidestepped an ethics investigation for appointing his buddy as Ontario Provincial Police commissioner. Still, Ford has a ways to go before he equals his predecessor, Kathleen Wynne’s 14 per cent approval rating. Let’s see if he can pull it off.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Liberal Premier Dwight Ball holds only 35 per cent approval. He faces an election this year, and it remains to be seen if the troubles of the federal Liberals prove damaging to the provincial.

Also facing trouble is Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil (Liberal), who holds the honour of being the lowest rated Premier in the country at 24 per cent.

Incidentally, Nunavut, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and PEI were not polled. Something about small sample sizes, or actually as Angus puts it, small population precludes drawing discrete samples over multiple waves. Groovy.

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