Premiers’ Performance: Notley’s job approval tumbles as Alberta’s economy deteriorates

by Angus Reid | February 16, 2016 9:30 pm

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Dwight Ball enjoys post-election honeymoon

 February 17, 2016 – A collapsing resource sector, mounting job losses and a projected shrinking economy are not only causing serious problems for real people in once-booming Alberta, they’re also taking a toll on the approval ratings of its premier.

Since her landmark victory propelling the NDP to government last spring, Albertans’ endorsement of Rachel Notley’s job performance has as declined steadily as the economic fortunes of the once-powerhouse province.

The latest Angus Reid Institute (ARI) analysis of quarterly survey results from more than 6,000 Canadian adults shows Notley’s job approval down fully 12 points. In December, nearly half (45%) of people living in Alberta thought she was doing a good job. Today, one-third (33%) say the same. This represents a 20-point drop in approval since June of last year.

And while Alberta has borne the brunt of the effect of plummeting oil prices on the national economy, the mood has not soured towards provincial leadership in another resource-dependent province next door. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has the approval of the majority of people in his province (62%), a rating that is statistically unchanged since last quarter. He remains the most-approved-of premier in the country, seven weeks before a provincial election. (Granted, in the last year, Alberta’s unemployment rate[1] has grown three times as much as Saskatchewan’s[2].)

Pre-election job approval reveals a very different story in Manitoba for Greg Selinger. After nearly 17 years in government (ten as finance minister, seven more as premier), Selinger faces an uphill battle ahead of an April 19 vote in that province. His job performance is approved of by one-in-five Manitobans (19%) close to his lowest approval rating of 17 per cent – in December 2014 – a time when he was facing a revolt from within his own party ranks[3].

Rounding out the western provinces, BC Premier Christy Clark’s approval rating is statistically unchanged – down three points from last quarter to 31 per cent. Clark has earned an approval rating in this range (between 30% and 34%) on job performance from British Columbians since September of 2014.

Turning to the other side of the country, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball is enjoying his post-election honeymoon. Fully 60 per cent of people in that province approve of the job the newly sworn-in leader is doing. However, his counterparts in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick may offer a cautionary tale regarding the (usually) short life-spans of such adoration.

Nova Scotia’s Stephen McNeil – who enjoyed the job performance approval of two-thirds of people (66%) in his province after the first six months of his administration, now stands at almost half that number (36%), down ten points since the last quarter as he faces criticism over changes to Pharmacare[4] that province and an investigation by the Nova Scotia Information and Privacy Commissioner[5] into the premier’s former chief of staff.

Premier Brian Gallant in New Brunswick has seen his sees his approval rating stabilize in the last quarter at 33 per cent. This is statistically unchanged since December (34%). Similarly unchanged is Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. With the endorsement on job performance of 36 per cent of Quebecers, he does not enjoy more or less approval than he did three months ago (35%).

Finally, approval of Kathleen Wynne declines to less than one-third (27%) this quarter. The Ontario premier’s job performance has not seen any positive momentum in the eyes of people there in fully six quarters, or – put another way – since she won re-election in June 2014.

Note: There are no trendline graphs for premiers who are relatively new to office.

Angus Reid

Angus Reid

Angus Reid Institute

Angus Reid

Angus Reid Institute
Angus Reid Institute

Angus Reid

Angus Reid

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research organization established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.

Click here for the full report including tables and methodology[6]


Shachi Kurl, Executive Director: 604.908.1693[7]

Image Credit – Martin Lopatka

  1. Alberta’s unemployment rate:
  2. as Saskatchewan’s:
  3. revolt from within his own party ranks:
  4. changes to Pharmacare:
  5. investigation by the Nova Scotia Information and Privacy Commissioner:
  6. Click here for the full report including tables and methodology:

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