Premiers’ Performance: Moe and Horgan claim highest approval, Wynne’s worries continue

Premiers’ Performance: Moe and Horgan claim highest approval, Wynne’s worries continue

More premiers see improvement to their approval than decline

March 21, 2018 –  Canada’s newest premiers boast the highest job performance approval ratings in this quarter’s analysis of polling data from the Angus Reid Institute.

After Brad Wall’s retirement in Saskatchewan, newly-sworn premier Scott Moe – won who the Saskatchewan Party’s leadership contest in late January –  appears to be maintaining two elements of his predecessor’s time in office – tough talk in opposition to the federal carbon tax, and high approval from his constituents.

Meantime B.C. Premier John Horgan, in office since July 2017, has spent the last few months embroiled in inter-provincial trade conflict with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley stemming from a dispute over pipelines.

But the battle between western neighbours appears to have done no harm to either provincial leader: Horgan received a three-point bump in approval, tying him with Moe (52%) for the distinction of Canada’s most popular premier, Notley’s approval remains statistically unchanged, with the approval of one-in-three Albertans (33%).

Related: Alberta-B.C. pipeline battle splits Canadians down the middle

Ball, Pallister middling but moving

In a pack where the premiers with the best approval ratings aren’t exactly overwhelmingly endorsed by people in their respective provinces, the story for the rest of Canada’s premiers, even those with positive momentum, is hardly jubilant.

Just over two-in-five (42%) are pleased with the job Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball is doing. This represents a seven point increase for Ball, as his government announces plans for a new public health act in the forthcoming budget and implements a new policy to take on workplace harassment. This, in addition to the government’s inquiry into Nalcor Energy’s unpopular Muskrat Falls project, may be playing in Ball’s favour, as he rises for the second consecutive quarter.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister breaks a streak of negative momentum and now holds the approval of 37 per cent of residents in the province. Pallister’s budget, released last week, included a modest income tax break for Manitobans, though these decreases are reportedly offset by increases in other taxation – including the federal carbon tax.


Three-in-ten approval for a trio of Liberal leaders

In Quebec, Premier Philippe Couillard finds himself in a familiar place. Since December of 2015 the Liberal leader has been no higher than 36 per cent in approval and no lower than 28 per cent. The first quarter of 2018 is well within this trend, as three-in-ten Quebecers (30%) say they approve of Couillard. This may spell trouble for the Premier, as recent polls show his party trailing ahead of an expected October election. Adding to his troubles, several members of his Liberal caucus announced they won’t run for re-election, while speculation rages that a handful of others may leave imminently.

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick’s Brian Gallant (29%) and Nova Scotia’s Stephen McNeil (30%) both see increased approval ratings – each up five points since the end of 2017. Gallant will be hoping this momentum continues, as his government gears up for a September election. McNeil, on the other hand, is approaching the one-year mark of his party’s fresh mandate. An expected balanced budget for the third year running and the announcement of a boost of close to $40 million for family doctors in the province, may help to continue his positive push through 2018.


Wynne’s woes continue

It’s crunch time in Ontario with a June election date looming over Liberal leader and Premier Kathleen Wynne. With just under three months to go the picture looks bleak for the incumbent. While approval is no substitute for vote intention, it can be a harbinger of things to come. Despite some policy wins with voters on the minimum wage and electricity rates cuts, among others, Wynne still hasn’t been able to soften potential voters. Just one-in-five Ontario residents (19%) say they approve of her performance.

Regardless of the chaos and confusion that was the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario’s leadership race, polls show new PCPO leader Doug Ford with a healthy advantage over Wynne in vote intention.

Related: Ford the riskier choice for PCPO leader, but party looks to be in good shape regardless



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 foundation 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.


Shachi Kurl, Executive Director: 604.908.1693 @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Associate: 250.899.0821

Click here for the full report including tables and methodology

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