07.12.2010 08:37 AM

Would you play badminton with Stephen Harper?

The new Angus Reid is out. Based on a 2,000+ sample, it says the topline voting intention is Conservatives 36%, Liberals 27%, NDP 20%, BQ 10%, Green 7%. That’s closer to a Con majority, but not close enough.

What interested me the most, however, was this section of the poll, about attributes and whatnot. It’s fun to read.

What do you think? Who would you have a beer with – and who would you want to play Trivial Pursuit with? Who would you play street hockey with, and who do you want negotiating international trade agreements?

Approval and Momentum

Harper’s approval rating stands at 31 per cent, tied with NDP leader Jack Layton. However, almost half of Canadians (48%) disapprove of the way Harper is doing his job, while only one-in-three (32%) feel the same way about Layton.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff remains highly unpopular. Just 14 per cent of respondents approve of the way he is handling his duties, while a majority (53%) voice disapproval.

Ignatieff continues to post the worst momentum score, this time of -24, meaning that while five per cent of respondents now have a better opinion of him, 29 per cent of Canadians now have a worse impression. Harper’s momentum is -21, while Layton fares much better than his two rivals at -3.


Canadians were asked to select up to six words or expressions from a list to describe the four party leaders sitting in the House of Commons. The top results for each one of the leaders are:

Stephen Harper Secretive (45%), arrogant (43%), out of touch (34%), intelligent (34%),
uncaring (32%) and boring (30%).

Michael Ignatieff Out of touch (39%), arrogant (37%), boring (36%), intelligent (33%), inefficient (31%) and weak (26%).

Jack Layton Intelligent (36%), down to earth (31%), compassionate (31%), honest (28%), open (26%) and out of touch (22%).

Gilles Duceppe Arrogant (34%), out of touch (32%), intelligent (23%), inefficient (19%), boring (19%) and dishonest (17%).

In a separate question, which aims to review how Canadians relate to the four leaders on a personal level, Layton emerges as an affable choice. Canadians pick the NDP leader over the other three contenders as the best man to have a beer with at a bar (34%), best to babysit their kids (30%), and best to play with in a sports team (27%).

Ignatieff is seen as the brainier of all, with Canadians picking him over the others to play in their trivia quiz team (26%), and as the best person to recommend a book to read (22%).

Harper has the edge on most policy matters, with at least three-in-ten respondents seeing the current prime minister as the best person to lead Canada in the event of a terrorist attack (37%), to negotiate with United States President Barack Obama on trade and security issues (36%), to deal with Russia on matters of Arctic sovereignty (35%) and to be in charge if there is another sovereignty referendum in Quebec (31%).


  1. Joseph says:

    Angus Reid. Online polls. So grain of salt.

    Harper is scoring 5 points below his party on personal approval. Luckily for him, Iggy scores 13 points below.

    Harper’s disapproval is 12 points above his party. A near 50% disapproval score! And only 5 points below Iggy’s.

    And this is before all the audits that are going to come out in the Fall. Good luck with that majority there.

  2. Paul R. Martin says:

    The Conservatives remain well ahead of the Liberals. Iggy’s negatives would take a lot of work to turn around. Election campaigns tend to be focused on the party leader. Do you want to go into an election with a party leader who has such major negatives?

    • Cam says:

      Well it’s a poll..Yes there’s some issue with LPC communications and the party has a lot of work to do.

      But let’s talk about policy and track record.

      CBC is reporting today that the federal government approved Bruce Power’s request to temporarily store hundreds of tons decommissioned nuclear power turbines on the Owen Sound waterfront.

      The mayor there said the town was not consulted. If the idea to store these turbines near the town’s water supply on a temporary basis makes so much sense, then why were local folks not brought into the process?

  3. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Oh, what? Sorry, I must have dozed off as soon as I started reading what this piece is about…

  4. Wascally Wabbit says:

    27 and 20 makes 47% – vs. 36% – that coalition idea of yours looks better all the time Warren! Wonder why they aren’t snatching out of your grasp before you copyright it!

    This one really jumps out as irrational though – “…Harper has the edge on most policy matters, with at least three-in-ten respondents seeing the current prime minister as the best person to negotiate with United States President Barack Obama on trade and security issues (36%),…

    Er – the man who’s fallback policy position on pretty well anything of importance is – “Well – we’ll wait to see what the American’s position is – and then adopt it…

  5. allegra fortissima says:

    It’s Monday morning and today’s plans are made:

    I hire Stephen Harper as a babysitter (no one shall call me “vindicative”), while I go book-shopping (Michael Ignatieff recommended the non-paddy title “The Travels of Marco Polo” – good choice). Later on I’ll enjoy a Heineken with Jack Layton and drink him under the table (at this point of time Jack has already signed the coalition treaty). Stephen Harper is still on duty and does an excellent job explaining the meaning of the word “riot” to my son.

    Happy Monday, everybody!

  6. Paul R. Martin says:


    I was just listening to Nancy Sinatra “these boots are made for walking and they are going to walk all over you” Has a certain politician been drinking too much “Summer Wine” on “Some Velvet Morning”?

  7. auntie-em-m says:

    When Ignatieff comes to my town this week, I intend to be photographed ‘hi 5 ing’ him.
    I’ll post it to my e-mail list and say Who’s “out of touch”? I like him.

  8. auntie-em-m says:

    Boulet boots rock here in eastern Ontario!

  9. Namesake says:

    He does have a knack for stepping into cow-pies of his own making. Also & more importantly from that stop is his comment about “the whiff of sulfur” coming from Harper:



    … which of course has already come back to burn his eyebrows, er, nostrils, instead:


  10. Sean says:

    Who the F%&K are the 14% who approve? They must be Leafs fans too…

  11. Play badminton? No…

    Burn ants with a magnifying glass on a hot summer day, probably. Drop water balloons on people from 10 floors up .. of course.

  12. Jan says:

    Boulet is the largest cowboy boot manufacturer in Canada. Iggy isn’t the only one wearing them I’m guessing – Boulet has 11 stores in Calgary that carry them – including all the Lammie’s. Are all Harper’s clothes made in Alberta – that would explain a lot?

  13. lr says:

    the conbots are going totally apeshit with the boulet boots quote!! Twitter, facebook…..Seriously – canadian politics has come to this!!!!

    the liberal machine better wake up fast!!!!!!

    • Warren says:

      Thank God we’re not a nation at war, with a massive deficit, no way of paying it off, and a health care system that’s a mess. This way, we can talk about important stuff, like the origins of cowboy boots.

      • Don Carruthers says:

        . . . and whether Harper really ate that communion wafer.

      • aa says:

        Oooh, that’s good.

      • JH says:

        That’s the point WK – we’ve been talking nothing but scandals and now cowboy boots forever. You’re the guy who knows the Opposition has to change the channel and make it about issues that matter, yet Ignatieff and Layton seemingly can’t control their troops and get them on message. I blame Brad and Ann in Laytons office and Donolo in the Libs. Layton it may be because of health issues but in MI’s case this would never have gone on with the party’s past leaders. They can criticize Harper’s control freak image all they want, but it works to his and the Conservative’s advantage. Wishful thinking won’t change that.

      • CQ says:

        We could pay down the annual deficits, and cut into the debt. Except that would dare anger the socialists every political party must cater to. Liberals & Dippers & Greens will again need provincial neo-con leaders like Harris & Klein to carry out their ‘responsible’ transfer payout cuts.

      • Paul R. Martin says:

        Under the constitution, funding health care is a Provincial responsibility. Unfortunately, the Province of Ontario has chosen to blow a large chunk of its health care funds on expensive consultants and over paid senior public servants. Much of the poor allocation of health care spending came under the watch of “Curious George” rather than Caplan, but have seen little improvement since Smithermin’s departure from the position of Minister of Health. In the meantime, rapidly growing communities such as Brampton and Milton are greatly underserviced with regards to adequate hospital spaces. I live in Brampton and feel that my health is at risk because of provincial rather than federal neglect.

  14. Robbie says:

    Warren: I am likely among the minority that would enjoy a good game of badminton with PM Harper. However, I can guarantee that most, if not all, the Liberal contributors to your blog would prefer to play a rousing game of squash against PM Harper.

  15. Wassup says:

    Why don’t the Liberanos tack right instead of left for a change? What exactly are they afraid of, winning? The left is a dying shell of die hard socialists and frozen public sector union bosses, both of which are directly controlled by Lack Layton.. Immigrants to Canada want no part of their family unfriendly policies. It’s only a matter of time until the diverse communities of the GTA turn their backs on Left leaning liberals and shift towards the Conservatives.

    • Geo says:

      Because the only place to the right, for liberals to go, is into social conservative territory. Liberals are fiscal conservative, not socially conservative. That is why when the CRAP party came into being the Red Torry?s came to the Liberals.
      Liberal are looking at the NDP because the NDP have moved so far over to the centre that they are liberals. More and more of the provincial NDP especially if they have held power recently or are in power hold very liberal positions on most topics. It is only when you head to provinces that they haven?t held power that they are still socialist and spend spend spend.
      But this is pretty basic if you bother to actually look.

      • Steve T says:

        To me, fiscal conservatism is the place the Liberals should be focusing their attention. Now that the Tories have a few years under their belt, start critiquing their spending. Tell Canadians that you will spend less, and manage money better. Give details. I’d vote for that. Don’t play the “my promise to spend money beats your promise to spend money” game. It’s a wash, at best, and a loser in many cases.

      • Don Carruthers says:

        “Liberals are fiscal conservative”

        I guess nobody ever bothered to tell Trudeau about that.

    • JStanton says:

      What a chump you are. No insight, no question, no analysis, just bigotry and stupidity. You say that “Immigrants to Canada want no part of their [Liberal] family unfriendly policies”. WTF does that mean? I’m an immigrant, and my family would be dead if it weren’t for Liberal policies.

      Sure, some immigrants, especially from highly stratified societies, will vote for the Stephan Harper Party, despite the general bigotry of his support base and his policies, but, and this may surprise you, “Immigrants” are not some kind of amorphous block that all think the same way – some of them are a-holes too.

  16. PolyGon says:

    Jack Layton not only wins the beer buddy contest, but is the only leader who’s got more positive attributes than negative in this poll. Not the first time, either.

    Super troubling to me that this just doesn’t move NDP numbers upwards. Maybe it’s the way people think about politics – simple, sticky slogans. “The NDP are socialists who’d tax everything from sleep to giggling.” And that’s the end of the analysis.

    What can they do to myth-bust more effectively? Their inability to advantage from Layton’s high numbers is as infuriating as the Liberals’ inability to hit such an easy target as King Steve.

    • Don Carruthers says:

      The NDP will never break out from that ceiling, IMO, without ditching their formal alliance with organized labour. Particularly the federal party’s institutional ties to the Canadian Labour Congress. It absolutely hamstrings the NDP in terms of policy. They will never do anything that the CLC disagrees with. They are seen by many voters as nothing but the shill of organized labour, and most people in this country are not union members. The other thing about the NDP is that rarely has the federal party had their platform and policies looked at critically by voters, because they are not seen as a serious contender for power. Be careful what you wish for. Most ordinary voters have no idea the NDP is a charter member of Socialist International. You think most Canadians are cool with that? I rather doubt it? You think most Canadians want Canada to withdraw from NORAD and NATO?

  17. dillon says:

    Ignatieff is simply a phony. A true rhinestone cowboy serving up egg benedict at his Stampede Breakfast while wearing boots made in Quebec

    But ,worse, much worse is his total lack of backbone. He makes his spurious sour gas comments about PMSH and then like the coward he truly is tries to weasel out of the situation. What’s he afraid of, getting smacked?

    This is not a teaparty. Tell the goof to grow up and be a man.

    • Namesake says:

      Huh? How’d he try to weasel out of the situation? (You know that Python “Wilde” shtick above was just coming from me, right?)

      The only follow-up in the news I can find is:

      “A spokesman for Ignatieff says the leader has nothing to apologize for…. “The smell of rotten eggs is quite evident when one faces the Conservative government on a daily basis. Secrecy, dirty tricks in committees, sole-source contracting, the smearing of officials, the bully tactics, the broken promises,” said Ignatieff spokesman Michael O’Shaughnessy in an e-mail to QMI Agency”[i.e., to Kory-Vision, the Sun chain].


      And all you Cons getting worked up about where the man’s boots are made. What is this, The Devil Wears Prada? Who’s the pansy now? It’s all playing out like that “Pace Picante Sauce” commercial (NEW YORK CITY!?*) which, while funny enough, at least realized it was being as silly as the Mel Brooks Blazing Saddles movie it was riffing.

      * http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSxnieYctVM

      And are you trying to tell us that that pasty-faced dough-boy think-tank policy geek Harper is “a real man” (or that that should be a criterion for a PM, anyway, as opposed to who you want to pick up at the latent village bar?)

  18. Cath says:

    hey warren – there’s something wrong with your next post. It appears almost like a 2 in 1 or you did a rewrite and forgot to edit.

  19. Chris says:

    My only concern with playing badminton with Harper is that if I was about to win he might just take the birdy and go home.

  20. Wascally Wabbit says:

    Seems like the ratio for a coalition looks even better in a real live telephone poll by Environics published today.
    CPC 35% Liberals 32% NDP 15% – 47% combined beats 35 in my book!
    Based upon the talking points going out from the PMO after the big jump immediately following the G20 – they knew this as coming!
    No wonder the PMO is dumping on Doug Finley…but his ranting about elections probably brought in some loonies for the election treasury

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