06.26.2017 08:02 AM

Parsing a Premiers’ popularity

Angus Reid released its semi-regular Premier thing last week, and I missed it with all the Nazi-fighting.  But, as usual, it tells a story:


The poll may or may not be accurate, 21 times out of 20, plus or minus 101 points.  But it sure is fun to prognosticate about.

Some quick takes:

  • At the top, Brad Wall is the Energizer Bunny of Canadian politics – he just keeps on ticking.  It’s amazing, given (a) how long he’s been there and (b) the state of the oil industry.  This guy is becoming a legend in Canadian politics.
  • At the bottom, Kathleen Wynne has been at or near the bottom of this regular poll for a long time – it can’t be dismissed anymore as an aberration or something that can be magically fixed.  I know her well enough to know she will do the right thing for herself and her party.
  • Near the top, Christy Clark.  Her third place position, here, belies the conventional wisdom in some circles in B.C.  And, this week, we will see why: she has appropriated key elements of the BC NDP and BC Green platforms for her Throne Speech, and she is forcing them this week to vote against same.  She will then use that vote as a club to beat them with in the election that comes shortly thereafter.  Genius, actually.
  • Near the bottom, Rachel Notley in my home province is still somewhat competitive – for an Opposition role.  With the PC-Wildrose forces about to commence a civil war for control, I continue to believe that the beneficiary of the Conservative Wars will be my brilliant friend Dave Khan, the Alberta Liberal leader.  Dave is the guy to watch, next time.  (And I will be out there, helping out.)

What do you think, O Smart Reader?  Who’s really up, who’s really down? Opine away!


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    Jon A says:

    I would add the Brad Wall’s relative popularity speaks very poorly of the others: he’s popular outside Regina and Saskatoon. There is a lot of antipathy building toward the Sask Party and the 2017/18 budget, and he lacks a successor.

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      Gyor says:

      Yeah his personal popularity won’t save Brad Wall’s government. Strong popularity needs to he greater then the amount of people who want you gone and for Brad Wall its just not.

      I think Wynne stays, if she was going to go, she would have and who would be crazy enough to step onto that glass cliff and be the party scape goat now?

      Prediction, the right in Alberta will be so divided between UCP and the refreshed Alberta Party, or depending on the unity vote between Wildrose, PC, and Alberta Party that Notley and the NDP win again.

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        Doug says:

        Wall does the right thing with an austerity budget and his popularity takes a hit. Perhaps he should have been more austere as the backlash would likely have been no worse with 5% salary roll backs and thousands of layoffs. The electorate has forgotten the pain and misery in the 90’s caused by government borrowing in the 70’s and 80’s and the dividends austerity paid in the 2000’s.

        Admittedly anecdotal, but the Alberta NDP in will lose big. In Calgary at least, patience has run out for climate change action to deliver some tangible benefits. At the same time, anger is growing at a privileged public service that has not shared any pain. At the very least, the tone deaf NDP could have implemented a hiring freeze in 2015 and the deficit would be ~1/3 smaller. Again my professional and social circles consist almost entirely of people in business or STEM fields who are either self employed or work in the private sector. I agree that the united right seems to be going out of its way to self sabotage. Ultimately, Kenney is too cunning to fail. He will being force discipline much like Harper did. I’m most curious if any party will campaign on the truth which is that Alberta cannot afford to fund health, education and infrastructure at per capita levels far in excess of any other province.

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    Matt from Ottawa says:

    I think its too late for Kathleen Wynne to step down. With the election less than a year away now, theres just not enough time. As we saw with McGuinty when he stepped down we saw a prorogued legislature for 5-6 months. To have her step down, then hold a lengthy leadership race then shortly thereafter an election. I dont see there being enough time. Frankly, Wynne has been a pretty terrible premier to those of us outside the GTA. Also, I dont think the court cases this September helping her or the OLP’s numbers. They are an old, tired and scandal ridden government that has been around past their best before date.

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    Dork in East York says:

    “I know her well enough to know she will do the right thing for herself and her party.”

    Hasn’t the shipped sailed already? Looks like she is in it til the end.

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    Gord says:

    Why is Dwight Ball so doggedly unpopular?

    I’ve yet to meet more than a handful of people in my new home that will freely admit to having voted for Rachel Notley. Since my new hometown is also the NDP’s base (Edmonton), that does not augur well.

    I am sorry but I cannot share your respect for Christy Clark. She and the Liberal regime effectively chased my wife and I out of British Columbia with their complete and utter kowtowing to the interests of their corporate donors before the interests of the taxpayers and residents, particularly the real estate and development industry. I can think of a few positive things the Liberals did early in their run but it is time for a change.

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    Gord says:

    I should add that most British Columbians I have talked to see Clark’s cynical ploy for what it is – a cynical ploy. People don’t like being taken for chumps. Whatever credibility Clark and company had has now been effectively torched. I think this will backfire, big time. I agree we will shortly have another election to see who’s right.

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    Charlie says:

    Can I just say, how crazy good of a politician Christy Clark is? She has gone up tenfold in my books. Like a non-criminal Frank Underwood.

    What she’s doing in BC is brilliant.

    This is what I see going on:

    Christy Clark knows that there’s no chance she’ll hold government going forward; the Dippers and Greens are determined to topple her in their dislike of her. Christy Clark also knows that the one seat difference, and the requirement of Speaker, makes for an incredibly unstable government. So her attempts to seemingly pick off Green and NDP support for her government isn’t to try prolong the demise of her government, but to set the table for the up coming — and eventual– election. BC voters will be back to polls because the crippling instability of this Legislature and Christy Clark can go back to the voters and say: “See, is this what you want? A government incapable of governing or do you want a government who has demonstrated a willingness to listen and accept contrition?”.

    Christy Clark is playing the clock as she watches the steam blow out of this NDP-Green partnership before she heads back into another election. Her party has already raised a stunning amount of money and its evident that they are gearing up for an election while Horgan and Weaver fixate on defeating her in the Legislature.

    All said, she will be heading back to the campaign trail with a bump in her approvals while Horgan tries again to convince voters to do what he couldn’t even do a few months ago and give him enough seats to govern on his own.

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      tf says:

      There are those who would say CC has a far-closer resemblance to the fictional Frank Underwood than you give her credit.

      In BC we still remember CC’s decades long fight against teachers and only being forced to oblige by the courts.
      We remember the triple-delete scandal and the missing indigenous women on the Highway of Tears.
      We remember the utter shame of how CC and her government treated the health researchers – directly leading to one man’s death.
      We remember BC Railgate, which saw the RCMP raid the legislature offices but whose case was buried by a $6 million “settlement” – CC and her hubby’s involvement is well-documented.
      We remember photo-ops of cheques in exchange for votes.
      We remember the cash-for-access fundraisers and the $50,000 stipend for “car allowance”.
      We remember the “wild west” of political fundraising in BC with no accounting of donations until forced by public outcry.
      And now she plays “politics” and adopts the opposing party’s platform to simply hold-on to the throttle of the gravy train.
      I don’t need to go on —

      I think CC and her government has sold this beautiful province down the river in exchange for power.
      It looks like CC has followed the Underwood playbook to a “T”; she just doesn’t confide it to the camera.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I think Guichon holds all the cards in this game. Clark has two choices: she can demand an election or sit back and watch the NDP and Greens govern. That’s where the optics of King-Byng come in. Will Guichon grant her an election? I think she will.

    My personal preference would be to let Horgan get his kick at the can. I would want to slow-forward the election to let enough time pass to allow fissures to develop between the governing partners.

    IMHO, if a quick election results, turnout will be more on the give ’em a chance side. Conversely, if the new government ends up like Joe Clark’s did, then turnout would favour Christy and her so-called competent administration.

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    Sue says:

    When do you think Wynne will step down? Is it too late?

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    Eric Weiss says:

    Notley was always going to be a one term Premier. The NDP was a protest vote. Albertans are still primarily mostly small c conservative. If the right stays split by the next election, The swing vote will go to whoever has the best chance of beating the NDP.

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