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The league table

Canada’s politicians ranked by their approval ratings


 

As a general rule, I limit the amount of polling discussed here—and avoid horse-race polls entirely. The horse race is almost always the least interesting thing going on in Ottawa.

And the following is almost definitely of questionable significance. But, for whatever it is worth, here are Canada’s most prominent political figures ranked by their most recent approval ratings (as determined by Angus Reid here, here and here).

Danny Williams 80%
Michaelle Jean 57%
Brad Wall 56%
Jack Layton 32%
Stephen Harper 29%
Greg Selinger 26%
Darrell Dexter 23%
Gordon Campbell 23%
Jean Charest 22%
Dalton McGuinty 21%
Michael Ignatieff 16%
Ed Stelmach 16%
Shawn Graham 15%


 

The league table

  1. Well, the first problem with the numbers is the claim that 15, 23 and 26% of Canadians, or at least the online subset that comprises Angus Reid's universe, know who Shawn Graham, Darrell Dexter and Greg Selinger respectively are.

    The second problem is that 56% of Candians know who Brad Wall is.

    And the third problem is that Ed Stelmach gets a 16% approval rating.

  2. Should Michaelle Jean be on this list in the first place? And is 57% low or high for someone who doesn't have any true legislative impact?

  3. Yeah, you're right Wherry, the significance of this poll is almost non-existent. It's just not useful. I kind of agree with Anon101 above. It might have helped if it told us what characteristics of the leaders they appreciated or what they deemed as "performance".

  4. And I would suggest low…

    • anything 55 or better is considered high-five territory in electoral politics.

      For a GG though, it's odd enough that they'd have her rated at all. So I don't know what to think.

      • For ordinary people who don't pay attention to anything the GG does beyond looking dignified when representing Canada, I'd say it's more of an opinion on the trappings of monarchy generally. It almost certainly won't be a considered judgment on how she interprets and acts on her specific constitutional duties, etc.

      • For ordinary people who don't pay attention to anything the GG does beyond looking dignified when representing Canada, I'd say it's more of an opinion on the trappings of monarchy generally. It almost certainly won't be a considered judgment on how she interprets and acts on her specific constitutional duties, etc.

  5. Doesn't PEI have a premier?

  6. Wherry, I'm not sure if it's appropriate to mix and match provincial and national approval ratings like that. Literally half the names on that list are unrecognizable to most Canadians. Maybe you could have two lists: one for the premiers, and one for the federal politicians.

    I also disagree with you that the horse race is almost always the least interesting thing going on in Ottawa. The least interesting thing in Ottawa is usually the lame-o scandal du jour, which titillates Hill journalists and political junkies like me, but is met with complete indifference by the rest of the country.

    • I agree. The horse race is always more interesting than the usual scandal de jour, whether it's Wherry's favourite scandal "Colvin's adventures in Afghanistan and Parliament" or Wells' favourite scandal "Lots of flaming going on at Human Rights and Democracy".

  7. (1) As several commenters have already pointed out, the provincial polls aren't comparable to the national ones.
    (2) Jean is nearly twice as popular as either Harper or Layton, and Layton is the most popular party leader? Good grief.

    • A sad state of affairs indeed. W. Bush's approval rating bottomed out at just below 30%. Obama's approval rating hovered around 50% leading up to the health care vote, even though many media outlets and Republicans act like the guy was/is the most hated man in America.

      Our 'big three' seem to be struggling.

      • To be fair, Obama has only been in office for a year. Given that fact his approval rating is lower than, I think, any recent President except possibly Clinton (there may be one more – I don't remember – but Obama was certainly no better than third worst at the 1-year mark).

        Harper has been around for four years, but still. Sub-30%? Beaten by Layton?? And Ignatieff is at 16%???
        Hard to believe.

        • Obama can go either direction, that's for sure. And Bush had lots of higher years.

          I'm using those data points to echo your argument…our guys suck.

          • "I'm using those data points to echo your argument…our guys suck."

            It's a bit of a false comparison, though. If you vote for a particular party you'll probably approve of the party leader. Republican voters will generally like Bush and dislike Obama while Democrat voters will generally like Obama and dislike Bush. Same is true here with the exception that the percent support for parties is lower because it's a multi-party system so the respective leader votes are also lower.

          • You really think the LPC is on target to net about 16% of the popular vote? That doesn't bode well for them.

          • No, but I do think that Ignatieff's approval number would only top out at about 30% at current Liberal support. Ignatieff's approval is low because there is a significant chunk of Liberal voters that don't approve of the job he's been doing.

        • Actually Ronald Reagan was very unpopular a year and a bit into his first year as President as unemployment hit 12% and the GOP suffered massive losses in the mid-terms in 1982. All through 1983, it was considered a sure thing that he would lose in 1984.

          • I think you're right: Reagan, Clinton, and Obama (not necessarily in that order) have had the lowest poll-ratings a year into their presidency. Obviously it doesn't say much about reelection chances.

  8. "Michael Ignatieff 16%"

    I think that should be the story.

    Are Lib brain trust and/or partisans at all concerned that leader of Canada's national governing party, after more than a year of being leader, has about the same approval rating as E May and the party defeats its own motions?

    • He's never recovered from his first 9 months when he decided to try to plunge the country in another election for no visible reason.

  9. Anon001, it's not a poll of Canadians for the provincial premiers but of their constituents.

  10. Thanks for all who took the time to suggest it was not worth taking the time.

    One note of clarification: the premiers' numbers are based on provincial polling. So, for instance, Danny Williams possesses an 80% approval rating among Newfoundlanders.

    • That makes more sense now.

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