Prentice’s job approval dips amid slumping oil prices, budget pressure and election speculation

Manitoba’s Selinger – having won a narrow victory to save his job – sees approval improve. 


 As oil prices slump to a six-year low and speculation swirls over an early election call in Alberta, premier Jim Prentice’s job performance approval has dropped this spring. Among respondents in that province, two-in-five (43%) say they approve of the job he’s doing. This represents a seven point decline since December of last year, when half of Albertans (50%) thought he was doing a good job. The decline comes as falling oil prices put serious pressure on Alberta’s public coffers, and as Prentice himself has faced criticism for suggesting people in his province “look in the mirror” to understand those budget pressures.

That said, Prentice remains Canada’s second most popular premier this quarter, as some incumbents experience steady – but not always statistically significant – declines in their job approval.

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) analysis of quarterly online survey results of more than six thousand Canadian adults indicates a few exceptions: Quebec’s Philippe Couillard’s job performance approval slides six points from last quarter, from 41 per cent to 35 per cent.

Trending in the other direction is Manitoba’s Greg Selinger. Having seen his job approval rating sink 14 points to an all-time low (17%) in December 2014, the embattled leader has not only managed to hold onto his job as the head of his party, he also sees 22 per cent of respondents in his own province approve of his job performance, an uptick of five points. That said, Selinger remains Canada’s least approved-of premier on job performance.

More time on the job appears to be working for Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Paul Davis. While one-third (34%) approved of Davis’ efforts last quarter, he now has the approval of two-in-five in his province (41%), an increase of seven points.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall continues to be the most approved-of premier in Canada when it comes to the job he’s doing, with the approval of two-thirds of respondents in his province (64%). This is statistically unchanged from last quarter (65%) but represents a four-point drop from September 2014 (68%).

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant holds steady, with the approval of two-in-five (40%) respondents in his province. It is a rating unchanged in the last three months (40% in December 2014).

In Nova Scotia, Premier Stephen McNeil’s approval rating drops again. Now, just over two-in-five (43%) respondents in his province endorse the job he’s doing. This represents a decline of five points since last quarter (48%) and ten points in the last six months (53% in September 2014). That said, he is tied with Prentice as premier holding the second-highest approval rating in the country.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne begins the year with her job performance continuing to decline, albeit slightly, dropping three points to 36 per cent since last quarter (39%). Taking the trend line back a little further, a six point drop since September (41%) is noted. British Columbia Premier Christy Clark continues to hold the approval of about one-third of respondents in that province on the job she’s doing. This is statistically unchanged since December 2014 (34%) and September 2014 (32%).

Angus Reid Institute Angus Reid Institute Angus Reid Institute Angus Reid Institute Angus Reid Institute

Click here for full report including tables and methodology

Posted March 19, 2015

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