Wall Best, Charest Worst as Canadians Rank Their Premiers

Brad Wall and Kathy Dunderdale continue to dominate the ranking of provincial premiers in Canada, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

The online survey of a representative national sample of 7,282 Canadian adults asked respondents in nine provinces about the performance of their respective premiers.

Saskatchewan’s Wall, who was recently elected to a second term in office, has the highest approval rating in the country at 71 per cent.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale is second on the list with an approval rating of 60 per cent, followed by Alberta Premier Alison Redford with 53 per cent, and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger with 50 per cent.

Along with Wall, Dunderdale and Selinger also secured majority governments in elections held earlier this year.

Four incumbent premiers can count on the support of roughly two-in-five respondents in their province: New Brunswick’s David Alward (40%), British Columbia’s Christy Clark (also 40%, but with a disapproval rating of 51%), Nova Scotia’s Darrell Dexter (39%) and Ontario’s Dalton McGuinty (38%).

The lowest ranked head of government in Canada continues to be Quebec’s Jean Charest, with 26 per cent.

The Opposition

The survey also asked respondents to provide an approval rating for all of the opposition party leaders in their respective province. New Democratic Party (NDP) leaders Lorraine Michael in Newfoundland and Labrador (57%) and Andrea Horwath in Ontario (53%) are particularly popular, followed by Nova Scotia’s Liberal leader Stephen McNeil (49%), British Columbia NDP leader Adrian Dix (47%), Coalition for the future of Quebec leader François Legault (45%), and Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith in Alberta (41%).

The lowest ranked leaders across the country are retiring Progressive Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen in Manitoba (34%), interim NDP leader John Nilson in Saskatchewan (33%), and interim Liberal leader Victor Boudreau in New Brunswick (29%).


The fall election in Saskatchewan solidified the standing of Brad Wall as the most popular head of government in Canada, with seven-in-ten residents approving of his performance. Newfoundland’s Kathy Dunderdale also receives a vote of confidence from most voters, although the numbers for NDP leader Lorraine Michael are impressive.

Alberta’s Alison Redford improves on the last showing of her predecessor Ed Stelmach by 20 points, and now holds a higher approval rating than Danielle Smith, her main rival in the next provincial ballot. Manitoba’s Greg Selinger is backed by half of respondents, showing consistency over the past three quarters.

The four middle-of-the-road premiers face different challenges. New Brunswick’s David Alward benefits from facing the lowest ranked opponent in the country. While Dalton McGuinty is not as liked as Andrea Horwath in Ontario, an election in Canada’s most populous province is still years away. The situation is more intricate for British Columbia’s Christy Clark and Nova Scotia’s Darrell Dexter, who hold majorities in their legislatures, but are outranked in approval rating by their main rivals—Adrian Dix and Stephen McNeil—by seven and ten points respectively.

In Quebec, Jean Charest lost points again and faces a decidedly dangerous foe in Legault, who is backed by two-in-five respondents just a few days after the official birth of his party. This survey was conducted before the Coalition for the future of Quebec announced its merger with the Action démocratique du Québec.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

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Methodology: From November 25 to December 5, 2011, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 7,282 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 1.2%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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Brad WallJean CharestPremierQuebecSaskatchewan