Williams and Wall Are Most Popular Premiers in Canada; Charest Lowest

Danny Williams heads to the final days of his political career with a high level of support in Newfoundland and Labrador, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

The online survey of a representative national sample of 6,000 Canadian adults also shows that Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is the only other provincial head of government to garner the backing of more than half of respondents in his province.

Williams, who is expected to step down tomorrow, has the highest approval rating among Canadian premiers with 67 per cent, followed by Wall with 60 per cent.

New Brunswick Premier David Alward—who took office in early October following the victory of the Progressive Conservative Party in the provincial election—is third with 32 per cent, followed by Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger with 28 per cent.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach (21%) and Nova Scotia Premier Darrel Dexter (20%) hold the approval of one-in-five respondents in their respective provinces, with Ontario’s Dalton McGuinty (16%) and British Columbia’s Gordon Campbell (16%) garnering slightly lower numbers.

The lowest ranked premier in Canada is Quebec’s Jean Charest at 14 per cent.


While impressive, the overall approval rating for Williams in Newfoundland and Labrador is now 11 points lower than it was at the end of 2009. Wall has maintained consistent numbers throughout the year, gaining four points since February.

The recently elected Alward is backed by a third of New Brunswickers, although two-in-five are still undecided about the way he is performing. His numbers are significantly higher than those posted by his predecessor, Shawn Graham. Manitoba’s Selinger remains below the 30 per cent mark, and holds a higher level of disapproval at this juncture.

Stelmach has slowly recovered in Alberta, gaining seven points in a year to climb out of the bottom three. In Nova Scotia, Dexter is now 23 points below his year-end total in 2009.

In Ontario and British Columbia—the two provinces that implemented a harmonized sales tax (HST) this year—the two premiers have not fully recovered. McGuinty is slightly down from his November 2009 numbers, and Campbell—who announced his retirement as premier before this survey was conducted—is now posting better numbers than the all-time low of nine per cent he experienced in October.

Jean Charest heads to 2011 as the lowest-rated provincial head of government in the country, dropping 11 points in a year marked by political infighting and allegations of corruption. His disapproval rating of 67 per cent is the second highest in Canada, just below the departing Campbell (73%).

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From November 8 to November 15, 2010 Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 6,000 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The sample includes 1,000 adults in Ontario, 800 adults in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec, and 300 adults in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1% for ON, 3.5% for BC, AB, SK, MB and QU, and +/- 5.7 per cent for NB, NS and NL. 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 in each one of these provinces. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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