EDMONTON — As Alberta’s economy slides further into the tank, a recent national poll said it’s dragging our premier’s approval rating along with it.
A quarterly survey of 6,000 Canadian adults conducted by the Angus Reid Institute ranked Canada’s provincial leaders by their approval rating.
Since her historic victory propelled the NDP to government last spring, Albertans’ endorsement of Rachel Notley’s job performance has declined steadily along with the province’s economy.
According to the survey, Notley currently has a 33 per cent approval rating, down 12 points from 45 per cent back in December. One month after being elected, Notley enjoyed at 53 per cent approval rating — the second highest across the country — on the June 2015 Angus Reid rankings.
That’s the same situation her predecessor found himself in just months before Albertans booted him from office. Jim Prentice enjoyed a 43 per cent approval rating in March 2015, placing him second across Canada. Less than two months later his PC party suffered its first defeat in 44 years, and was reduced to third-party status.
Oil prices, the lifeblood of Alberta’s economy, have been in a free fall since the summer of 2014, when West Texas Intermediate surpassed US$100 a barrel. On Wednesday it was just under US$30.
Compared to her counterparts across the country, Notley is now right in the middle of the pack when it comes to popularity.
While Alberta has borne the brunt of the effect of plummeting oil prices on the national economy, the mood has not soured towards the leader in another resource-dependent province next door.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall remains the most popular premier in the country, with a 62 per cent approval rating that is statistically unchanged since last quarter. It’s good news for the leader as he prepares for a provincial election in seven weeks.
At the other end of the approval spectrum is Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, who is also heading into a spring election. His job performance is approved by only 19 per cent, or one-in-five, Manitobans. That’s up two points from his lowest approval rating of 17 per cent in December 2014, when he was facing a revolt from within his own party.
At 31 per cent, B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s approval rating has remained basically unchanged – she’s bounced around between 30 and 34 per cent since September of 2014.
In eastern Canada, newly-elected Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball is enjoying a post-election honeymoon with a 60 per cent approval rating. But one of Ball’s counterparts may offer a cautionary tale regarding the life-spans of such adoration.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil’s approval rating has dropped to an all-time low since he was elected in 2013. In the first six month of his administration it peaked at 66 per cent, but has tumbled by almost half to 36 per cent.
At 33 per cent, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant’s rating has remained pretty much the same since the last poll three months ago.
Also unchanged is Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, who is only up once point to 36 per cent.
Second from the bottom of the pack is Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, whose latest approval rating sits at 27 per cent. Wynne’s job performance has not seen any positive momentum since she won re-election in June 2014.
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