Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dunderdale, Wall favourite Premiers, Dexter most improved

Last week, Angus-Reid released the results of their Premier approval ratings poll. I took a look at this poll back in early December, and it seems like a good idea to follow-up.

Brad Wall is the most popular premier in the country, with 63% of people in Saskatchewan approving of his performance as leader. Next most popular is the new premier in Newfoundland & Labrador, Kathy Dunderdale, at 55%. Not surprisingly, Quebec premier Jean Charest is the least popular at 13% approval.

But, like last time, we get a different picture when we remove the "not sures". And why not? This is done with voting intentions.

When we include only those who have an opinion, Kathy Dunderdale becomes the most popular premier with 85% of decided Newfoundland & Labradorians approving of her performance. That is an improvement over the 81% Danny Williams had in mid-November, Angus-Reid's last poll looking at the approval ratings of premiers.

Wall is second with 75%, an increase of four points.

David Alward, who took over the helm of New Brunswick after winning the election in September, is at 55%, down two points from November, when he had barely gotten his feet wet.

After these three (conservative) premiers, we get into the sub-50% range. Greg Selinger of Manitoba is first among those who have a negative rating, with 47% approval. That is an increase of five points, however.

Darrel Dexter, the New Democratic Premier of Nova Scotia, is the most improved in this poll with an increase of nine points. His approval rating now stands at 33%. That's not great, but it is far better than the 24% of November, and as politics splits three ways in Nova Scotia it isn't a bad place to be.

Ed Stelmach, who will not be Premier of Alberta by year's end, is at 26%, down one point.

Dalton McGuinty remains unchanged at 22%, far below where his party has been polling in Ontario.

Gordon Campbell, recently replaced by Christy Clark, was at 19% in this poll, up one. I imagine the more popular Clark will improve these numbers significantly.

And Jean Charest, the beleaguered Jean Charest, is down one point to only 16%.

If we combine the totals of the conservative premiers (Campbell, Stelmach, Wall, Alward, Dunderdale), we get an approval rating of 52%. For the two NDP premiers (Selinger and Dexter), the average approval rating is 40%.

For the Liberals (McGuinty and Charest), the average rating is a dismal 19%. However, Robert Ghiz in Prince Edward Island is quite popular, and if we add his numbers from the latest Corporate Research Associates poll to the Liberal pile, the average result is bumped up to 34%.

So, what does this say about the future of each of these men and women? Alward, Dexter, and Charest will not have to face the electorate for at least a year, while Campbell and Stelmach can retire quietly. Wall and Dunderdale are almost assured to win their provincial elections this year, while Selinger will apparently have a close fight on his hand in Manitoba. In Ontario, McGuinty desperately has to improve his numbers.

From a federal point of view, these sorts of numbers bode well for the Conservatives. Their provincial counterparts all have a solid base of support. The NDP, too, have some relatively tolerated premiers to fall back upon, but the Liberals need to differentiate themselves from the Liberal regimes in Ontario and Quebec. The latter will not be too much trouble as the two parties aren't affiliated, but the dividing line is far murkier in Ontario.


  1. i can't help but notice (at the risk of being partisan)that the provincial governments that have the higher poularity ratings (eg above 50%)are conservative/conservative style governments and conversely the ones that languish in public opinion are of liberal and ndp governace...the only fly in the ointment is ed stelmac...(although the current provincial flavour of the day in alberta is the right wing wild rose alliance....)

  2. I do believe I point that out in the post.

  3. Does Angus-Reid offer any explanation for the omission of PEI in these surveys?

  4. That pattern in very skewed by the fact that two of the Conservative premiers (NB and NL) are so new that people are still giving them the benefit of the doubt. Dexter had sky high approval ratings six months after becoming premier as well. Its worth noting also that there is nothing particularly "conservative" about the PCs in Newfoundland - they spend like crazy and are 100% indistinguishable ideologicaly from the Liberals. The most hated Premier in Canada is Gordon Campbell and he is also by far the most rightwing premier. So go figure.

  5. Technically the Liberal Party of Ontario isn't connected to the federal Liberals either, though that's more a vestige of the 1970s than a relevant fact today.

  6. I know his government may not be the most right-wing but would Jean Charest's governemrnt really be considered centre-left like the federal Liberals are? He is the former leader of the Progressive Conservatives. Are his government's policies much different then those of the two PC's to the east of him?

  7. Reader,

    Though Angus-Reid would have had enough respondents for PEI in this poll (it's the monster 6,500-polled survey), they typically don't.

    Progressive Tory,

    The Quebec Liberals are a centrist party in Quebec's political spectrum, but on Canada's scale they are probably centre-left.

  8. Danny Williams named the second or third most fiscally conservative premier in the country DL. The PCs have made substantial cuts to taxes and to paid down a lot of debt. There's a reason for the spending they do and maybe you should look that up first.

  9. OT:

    Anyone know when EKOS is coming out?



  10. This continues to confirm the result in political science that leaders of small polities enjoy higher net personal popularity ratings than leaders of big polities.

  11. OT:

    At least AR is out today:

  12. Progressive Tory is correct. The Fraser Institute's 2010 report, Measuring the Fiscal Performance of Canada's Premiers, ranked the 10 Premiers in this order:

    Gordon Campbell
    Gary Doer
    Danny Williams
    Ed Stelmach
    Brad Wall
    Jean Charest
    Rodney MacDonald
    Shawn Graham
    Rober Ghiz
    Dalton McGuinty

    It's interesting that the top 4 Premiers on this ranking have all now left office (our announced their intention to do so).

    This ranking appears to have been based primarily on the growth of program spending relative to GDP growth.

  13. Earl: CBC has the Ekos results on their main web site now.
    CPC: 35.2
    LPC: 27.8
    NDP: 14.9
    BQ: 8.8

    I'm also showing some partisanship when I say I like this better than the AR poll released today showing the CPC at 39 and LPC at 23.
    I know, I know, AR had the best record at the last election, yada, yada, yada. But this result in my opinion pushes the bounds of reality somewhat. At the least it's at the top end (for the CPC) of the MOE.
    For this week at least, I like Ekos again.
    And Ira: You're quoting the Fraser Institute. They're so right-wing they make the current CPC braintrust seem like socialists. Of course they like Campbell.

  14. pinkobme its beyond silly to think Greens will get 10% and Others will get 3%.

    That's just not credible at all.

    Sorry but i'll take Angus Reid!

  15. Angus-Reid has the Greens at 9% and the Others at 3%, Shadow.

  16. "Angus-Reid has the Greens at 9% and the Others at 3%, Shadow."

    Just like they did in the last election.. when the greens scored 6.8% and others 1.2%

  17. "They're so right-wing they make the current CPC braintrust seem like socialists. Of course they like Campbell."

    ..... Everyone looks right-wing when you consider Layton, or Muclair to be center-right.

  18. There is something very fishy about the Angus Reid poll - they have "other" at 20% in Atlantic Canada. That must be some sort of technical glitch there is no "Other" in that part of canada.

  19. Hey Shadow: I agree the Green numbers for both AR and Ekos are unrealistic. Sorry to the Green supporters on this site but they'll be lucky to get 5% this next election.
    It's also starting to look like we'll soon be in poll-watcher's paradise again. CTV pundits are almost guaranteeing an election likely in early May.
    With that being said, do you think more than 15 % of Canadians will start paying attention soon?

  20. Eric AR had a +3 Green and a -3 Liberal movement.

    That's not credible either.

    Those disgusted Liberals will stay home instead of voting Green. Its what happened in '08.


    Back to EKOS, their polls have been pretty noisy later eh ?

    First they show a big CPC jump.

    Then they showed a big CPC crash.

    And now they've back tracked on that slightly with the CPC going up a bit.

    Except we've had non-stop bad news for the CPC since the last EKOS poll was taken.

    I think its pretty clear their crash poll had some MOE at work.

  21. Speaking of noise Shadow, It would be interesting to see a scatter plot color coded by polling firm and separated by date to see which ones match each other and which ones regularly bounce in and out of the ranges that other polling companies are in.

    But then again I think that might be too much info to try to squeeze into one tiny graph.

  22. I think the more striking divide is that between big provinces and small ones. The four least popular premiers also happen to govern the four biggest provinces, and about 80% of the population.

    It makes sense that being premier of a large heterogenous province is a tough job - because there is a greater diversity of interests, it is going to be more difficult to keep everybody happy. In contrast, in a place like Newfoundland, half the province is probably blood-related to whomever the premier happens to be.

  23. I suppose the first thing I'd come away with is that 3 Liberal premiers are very unpopular, and 3 Conservatives premiers are popular.

    Of course... then I'd remember that one of those Liberals is actually the conservative in his province. Moreover, I don't think there were a lot of conservatives nationally who though the Nfld government was a fellow traveler, while they would have seen a lot to like in the former NB Liberal government's budget to like. Appearances can be deceiving... but it certainly ought to have some kind of brand effect.

    I'd also point out that generally speaking provinces with large resource revenues have popular premiers. Stelmach is the exception...not really the rule.

    One thing that didn't occur to me until just reading the discussions here... yes, the unpopular premiers are generally much longer serving than the popular ones. That may also be mattering a whole lot as it explain Stelmach and his government's lack of popularity perhaps.

  24. There is nothing "conservative" about the Dunderdale-Williams party in Dannystan other than the name.


    Danny Williams was, in fact, arguably the first NDP Premier in Atlantic Canada.

  25. There is nothing "conservative" about any of our premiers.

    Harris in Ontario and Campbell when he first started out were the only premiers in recent memory where spending was either cut or grew at less than inflation + pop growth.

    The biggest driver in provincial expenditures is WAGES.

    Public sector unions are bleeding us dry.

    We need to look at banning public sector unions and putting in place right to work laws for private sector ones.

  26. That must be some sort of technical glitch there is no "Other" in that part of canada.

    Nor any other part of Canada, either.

  27. ...and "Liberal" Shawn Graham was just about the most rightwing Premier in Canada - a total Gordon Campbell Liberal

  28. Has there beeen any articles on on-line polling vs cell/land-line polls? I seem to notice that on-line polls using panels of people tha have signed up to be polled are usually higher for the CPC than other polls. Makes one question if there is some bias there (Digg website had an issue similar whena group of Conservative people organized and created fake accounts and rigged the vote to bury articles they didn't like - had to revamp the entire site to correct it). We have seen the CPC organize and pay people to monitor and respond on on-line boards so is it a stretch they might also sign up to be counted more than others?


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