Stephen McNeil has lowest approval rating of any Canadian premier, QC’s Legault has highest: poll

Premier Stephen McNeil talks at the legislature in Halifax on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

Nova Scotia’s long-serving premier Stephen McNeil has the lowest approval rating of any premier in Canada, while Quebec’s François Legault is the most popular provincial head of government with roughly six-in-ten Quebeckers approving of him.

The figures come from a new poll released on Tuesday by the Angus Reid Institute.

The institute says Legault’s approval is likely a sign that he’s still enjoying a honeymoon period after the Coalition Avenir Quebec formed government in the wake of Quebec’s provincial election in October.

His support is statistically unchanged from Angus Reid’s poll in December, despite facing criticism over comments that there is no Islamophobia in Quebec and that his government plans to scrap a backlog of more than 40,000 immigration applicants.

READ MORE: CAQ government tables first budget using billions left over from Liberals

Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe has essentially the same approval rating as Legault, with 59 per cent of 842 Saskatchewanians polled saying they approve of his stewardship of the province.

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Angus Reid says Moe’s approval has received a seven per cent bump since he succeeded Brad Wall as premier last year.

British Columbia’s John Horgan is the only other premier whose approval remains above 50 per cent, with Horgan receiving 52 per cent of support from B.C. residents.

Horgan’s approval has increased nine per cent since December and ties his highest mark as premier, set in March 2018.

Angus Reid has released new data on the approval ratings of premiers in Canada. Angus Reid Institute

New Brunswick’s Blaine Higgs, Canada’s newest premier, sits one point below a 50 per cent approval rating.

Even with a minority government, the first in the province since the 1920s, Higgs’ approval has risen by nine points since December.

Higgs has recently introduced his first budget which was characterized as tightening the belt in the province in an effort to balance the province’s budget.

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With an election on the horizon, Alberta’s Rachel Notley has experienced an increase in popularity for the fifth consecutive quarter.

Angus Reid attributes this to an increase in personal appeal despite being a long shot to retain control of the government when Alberta heads to the polls on April 16.

Manitoba’s Brian Pallister has also had his popularity rise, with it reaching the highest level since March 2017.

Angus Reid’s polling data indicates that  44 per cent of the Manitoba electorate currently approves of him.

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McNeil at the bottom of the pack

McNeil’s approval has hit the lowest figure since Angus Reid polled the province in December 2013 after McNeil’s Liberal Party formed the government earlier that year.

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Nova Scotia’s premier sits at only 24 per cent support among those polled. In 2013 he sat at 57 per cent approval.

Despite tabling his fourth straight balanced budget on Tuesday McNeil has received criticism for perceived failures to follow through on health-care improvements and allocating $22.3 million on a ferry between Yarmouth, N.S., and Bar Harbor, Maine.

Angus Reid Institute

Newfoundland’s Dwight Ball and Ontario’s Doug Ford round out the three premiers who have an approval rating below four-in-ten.

Ford’s approval has dropped four points this quarter to 38 per cent, following criticism of his government’s decision to increase class sizes and an overhaul to the province’s autism funding.

However, a recent ruling by Ontario’s integrity commissioner found that the premier didn’t break the rules that govern legislators when one of his close friends was hired as the province’s top cop last fall.

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Ball sits at 35 per cent approval, which is unlikely to sound appealing for the premier who faces an election later this year

Prince Edward Island’s tiny population — and the inability to draw a discrete sample — means that Angus Reid did not provide data on their premier, Wade McLaughlin.

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