Western premiers top approval ratings in monthly poll

Manitoba premier Wab Kinew leads Angus Reid's quarterly premier approval poll
Manitoba premier Wab Kinew leads Angus Reid's quarterly premier approval pollAngus Reid Institute

Western premiers have the highest approval ratings in Canada, Angus Reid has found, a finding especially relevant in BC and Saskatchewan where elections are scheduled prior to October 30 this year.

Premier Scott Moe of Saskatchewan remains among the most approved leaders in the country at 53%.

Moe and his Saskatchewan Party have been going head-to-head with the federal government on the federal carbon tax. Moe’s government was called “immoral” by Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault for deciding not to collect the tax and distribute rebates to residents. Moe responded by stating the government would replace rebates with “less tax.”

A general election is set to be held in Saskatchewan on or before October 28 2024.

BC NDP leader David Eby is approved by almost half of residents (48%), a proportion that is unchanged for well over a year now.

Eby’s government announced significant new expenditures on housing and affordability relief in its 2024 budget which will portend more than a $7-billion deficit for 2024/25 (approximately double the projection outlined in the 2023 budget). A divided opposition has given the NDP a comfortable lead in vote intention as the countdown to a fall election continues. The BC election falls on October 19 2024

Alberta’s Danielle Smith has garnered headlines with her decision to join New Brunswick and Saskatchewan in changing school policies surrounding name and gender identification and continues to trade barbs with federal officials over the federal government’s climate and energy policy.

Smith recently threatened to invoke the Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act to overcome disagreements over emission abatement for natural gas projects. Her approval rating of 47% is identical to those registered in September and December of last year.

Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew has enjoyed a seven-point increase in approval to 63% since Angus Reid's last opinion survey released three months ago. His government will release its first budget on April 2, which will reportedly focus on health care and low-carbon energy investments.

In New Brunswick, Blaine Higgs is heading into a fall election, on or before October 21 2024, as the least popular premier in the country. The Progressive Conservative leader is approved of by 31% of residents and has spent considerable time in recent months defending his controversial, but supported, position on parental rights and (sexual minority) policies in schools. Higgs’ government recently sent out $75 million in affordability payments, though critics complained that some groups, such as retirees, were denied help.

After a precipitious 16-point decline in quarter-over-quarter approval to end last year, Quebec Premier François Leagult sees his personal assessment stabilize at 32%. The Coalition Avenir Quebec’s forthcoming 2024 budget will reportedly run a larger deficit due to the unforeseen funding needed to reach a deal with the province’s teacher’s union, which was on strike for 22 days in December and January. Quebec’s highest court mostly upheld Legault’s Bill 21 which bans religious symbols from being worn by civil servants, something the leader called a “great victory for the nation of Quebec."

Ontario’s Doug Ford announced his intention to “Get It Done” last month, introducing new legislation to streamline infrastructure projects by shortening environmental assessments and speeding up approval processes. Tensions with federal Conservatives flared after newly elected federal MP Jamil Jivani criticized Ford’s government in a victory speech. Ford suggested Jivani, a former advisor to his own party, should “focus on the carbon tax”. Ford's approval rating hasn’t exceeded its current 34% mark since September 2022.

These results are from an Angus Reid Institute online survey conducted from February 28 to March 6, 2024 among a representative randomized sample of 4,550 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum.

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