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Mulcair seen as better leader, but Trudeau favoured to win: poll

WATCH ABOVE: A new Global News-Ipsos Reid poll gives a snapshot of how popular Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Tom Mulcair are in the minds of Canadian voters. Jacques Bourbeau has the numbers.

TORONTO – If you had to choose between NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who would you say was a better leader? Would you change your answer if you were selecting the next Prime Minister of Canada? A new Global News/Ipsos Reid poll suggests Mulcair has a higher approval rating than both Trudeau and Stephen Harper, but that Trudeau’s Liberals are favoured over the NDP to lead the next government.

Fifty-seven per cent of Canadians polled approved of Mulcair’s individual performance as Leader of the Opposition and NDP, compared with 55 per cent approval for Trudeau and 49 per cent for Harper.

Approval Canadian leaders

But despite earning the top spot in terms of performance, Mulcair’s high rating doesn’t look like it will translate into votes, according to the poll results.

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Only 36 per cent agree that Mulcair is ready to be Prime Minister; 37 per cent agree the NDP is ready to form the next government. On the other hand, a full two thirds (63 per cent) disagree the NDP is ready to be the next government and 64 per cent disagree Mulcair is ready to be PM.

This is compared with 44 per cent of those polled who think Trudeau could lead the country, and the same percentage who think Liberals could govern. A majority (at 56 per cent) also disagree that Trudeau is prepared to be Canada’s head of government; 56 per cent don’t think his party is ready to form Canada’s next government.

Mulcair vs Trudeau poll

The discord between high approval and the belief Mulcair is ready to govern could be because people haven’t thought of him in those terms yet, says Ipsos Reid Global Public Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker.

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“He seems to be outstanding in the minds of Canadians as an Opposition leader, but do they see him yet as a Prime Minister? That’s another bridge that he has to cross.”

The finding that Canadians are reluctant to embrace either Liberals or the NDP as the next government is related to the fairly high approval for the current government (at 49 per cent), according to Bricker. He added that’s 9 per cent more than the Tories would need to win a majority government–if that was translated into votes.

“There’s a good match between approval of the government and personal approval for Stephen Harper,” he said. “For the other two leaders, it seems a little bit out of sync right now. I think over the space of the next year, that’s where you’re going to find that these things are going to move more into sync.”

WATCH: Ipsos Reid’s Darrell Bricker speaks about what the poll suggests for the next federal election

So in the end, the poll appears to be more good news for Harper, who received a majority of support to stay on as leader within his own party in the first part of this exclusive poll released Monday. But Bricker notes public opinion tends to favour Trudeau when Canadians are asked who they see as an alternative to Harper.

“There’s a better match between what it seems [Trudeau] would offer in government–even though he hasn’t necessarily said what that would be—and his personality, whereas at the moment with Thomas Mulcair, we see him as a good Opposition leader but not necessarily as a good prime minister.”

READ MORE: Liberals and Tories tied in latest poll of federal party support

And in the spirit of the holiday season, the poll also asked Canadians to decide whether various political leaders should be on Santa’s “Naughty or Nice” lists. Take a look through the gallery to see who got the most support for being “nice” and the two Canadians who ended up “naughty.”

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Pope Francis
Nice! 86% of respondents though Pope Francis belonged on the Nice List. Franco Origlia/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II
Nice! 80% of those polled believe Queen Elizabeth II belongs on the Nice List. Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Barack Obama
Nice! 71% of Canadians think U.S. President Barack Obama can hang with Pope Francis on the Nice List. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Elizabeth May
Nice! 64% of those surveyed think Green party leader Elizabeth May belongs on the Nice List. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Thomas Mulcair
Nice! 62% of those polled believe Mulcair should be on the Nice List with Pope Francis and the Queen. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Justin Trudeau
Nice--but not by a lot! Only 56% of respondents saw Trudeau as deserving of Nice List status. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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Stephen Harper
Naughty! Over half--at 55% of those polled--think Harper belongs on the Naughty List. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Rob Ford
Naughty! With a tumultuous year, former Toronto mayor Rob Ford was voted onto the Naughty List by 85% of respondents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Exclusive Global News Ipsos Reid polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos Reid.” This poll involved online interviews with a sample of 1,005 Canadians between December 16 to 19, 2014 on behalf of Global News. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled.

Read the full data tables from the poll below: