Provincial Unrest

Alison Redford, after seeing her latest poll numbers.
Alison Redford’s approval ratings have fallen to “Stelmachian” levels

Angus Reid has released their quarterly Premier approval ratings. As per usual, Brad Wall is more popular than God, and everyone else is a little more human:

Wall (SK): 64% approve, 28% disapprove
Alward (NB): 41% approve, 50% disapprove
Selinger (MB): 38% approve, 49% disapprove
Wynne (ON): 36% approve, 37% disapprove
Marois (QC): 33% approve, 62% disapprove
Dexter (NS): 30% approve, 62% disapprove
Redford (AB): 29% approve, 66% disapprove
Clark (BC): 25% approve, 67% disapprove
Dunderdale (NL): 25% approve, 73% disapprove

While Wall’s number sticks out, there are a few other interesting tid-bits from this poll:

1. Obviously enough, these numbers spell bad news for Darrell Dexter and Christy Clark, who are both heading into elections considerably less popular than the opposition leaders trying to defeat them. Still, it’s worth recalling that this same poll found just 19% of Ontarians approving of McGuinty a mere 10 weeks before re-electing him in 2011. Sometimes you can win without being loved.

2. The danger may be less imminent in Newfoundland and Alberta, but the Tory dynasties in both provinces must be feeling a bit like the New York Yankees this season – it’s far too early to count them out, but you have to wonder if this is the begining of the end.

Redford’s numbers are right around where Ed Stelmach’s were when the Tory establishment mounted a putsch 2 years ago. Like Stelmach, Redford won with little caucus or establishment support, and has struggled to keep up with the Wildrose fundraising machine.

I don’t think the Tories will or should force her out, but when your approval rating is below Raj Sherman’s, you need to at least watch your back.

3. A lot of Ontarians still haven’t made up their minds about Kathleen Wynne.

4. The most surprising finding, at least for me, was that the Premier of New Brunswick is named David Alward. Who knew?

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11 responses to “Provincial Unrest”

  1. The Nova Scotia Liberals should be very happy with that polling (given that a number of long-serving provincial Liberal governments have been hitting or are approaching their expiry dates lately, it’d be good press to get a new one in).

  2. I found it a bit odd that Angus Reid ranked the premier’s by their approval number in isolation of the disapproval number. Wouldn’t a net score be more appropriate for ranking?

    For instance, Kathleen Wynne is ranked fourth when about an equal number of Ontarians approve and disapprove of her, while David Alward and Greg Selinger are ranked above her when a quarter more of their people disapprove rather than approve.

    Here are the net scores:
    Wall +36
    Alward -9
    Selinger -11
    Wynne -1
    Marois -29
    Dexter -32
    Redford -37
    Clark -42
    Dunderdale -48

  3. Also, since they don’t bother to do PEI, the most recent polling suggests the Ghiz Liberals are doing okay, though I doubt Ghiz would be threatening Wall’s position. The opposition’s in complete disarray there, with the caucus (of only five people) recently split into two factions squabbling over control of the Opposition Leader position.

  4. I think what these numbers really show is what an incredibly difficult governing environment exists out there, in particular the lingering economic malaise – except Saskatchewan which is swimming in resource cash.

    Government and Opposition parties continue to foster the delusion that in a small, open economy like ours we can somehow buck macro-economic trends.

    It’s similar to the impact that a good or bad local candidate makes in a general election. +10% or -10% either way.

    Provincial Premiers (and Opposition Leaders) constantly over-promise and under-deliver. Doesn’t make one very popular does it?

    • I was a voter in my home province of NS when the NDP got elected, and let me tell you there was plenty of over-promising going on in that election. Darrell Dexter promised literally everything his opponents promised (including balancing the budget) and beyond, and claimed he would do it without increasing taxes. I can’t remember all the promises anymore, but they certainly didn’t include a spate of cuts to education, bailing out failing pet industries (pulp and paper) while withdrawing support from others (ferry to Maine), and that 2% HST increase they slipped in. I don’t mean to gripe about every little unpleasant thing the NDP chose to do (any government would have had choices to make), but I think the severe drop in popular support for the provincial NDP perfectly demonstrates your point about the perils of over-promising.

      It blows my mind that people fall for it, though. I was politically semi-conscious at the time and mid-twenties and I was sure Dexter was playing everyone for fools. Maybe people were just looking for a party they hadn’t tried before.

        • I’m not sure. I’m out in BC now for school, so I’m kind of half tuned in to both provinces. I can surely offer a prediction for you about the BC election though!

          As I recall, things were certainly looking up for the NS Liberals. I won’t make any predictions, but I think I was reading somewhere that the current view in the media would be that McNeil’s Liberals are the ones to beat. I think McNeil was a new leader for the last election, and so maybe people perceived the Liberals as needing time before they considered them seriously. Now they’ve had quite a bit of time, and people aren’t so thrilled with the NDP majority’s results. Perhaps had the NDP been more modest in its promises people would be less upset. They are reporting a roughly balanced budget, and whether technically a surplus or not this is probably good news for NS. But I’m not sure that’ll be enough to satisfy.

          I think if the Liberals can paint a clear picture of exactly how dire things are in NS economically (like Scott Brison recently did), and actually offer a convincing vision for turning things around, they would do quite well. And frankly, I am sad to see so many young people leaving the Maritimes, as I love it there and would love to set up the rest of my life there permanently. So I am really hungry for any leadership that offers bold new directions. It would be a shame if things just kept getting worse until no one wanted to live there.

          • Last election was McNeil’s first as leader. My uncle was his chief of staff then; one of my favourite anecdotes is the intensive lobbying that his people had to conduct to get him to shave off his moustache after he was elected leader, because they thought women voters wouldn’t like it.

    • Though as difficult an environment as it may be, aren’t incumbent Premiers something like 7 for 8 since the recession hit? And Charest wound up doing a lot better than most expected.

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