Canada

Premiers’ approval ratings on the slide, poll finds: The time is now to call an election

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who won the trust of his residents in the early days of the pandemic for his quick responses to slowing the infection rate and his daily news briefings, currently holds an approval rating of 56 per cent, a six percentage point drop since June.

The drop in ratings don’t necessarily spell bad news for the premiers; rather they reflect the public’s changing perspective on their leader’s responses to the pandemic depending on ‘elements of recovery and predictability,” explains John Wright, vice president of Maru/BLUE. 

“In the first quarter of the response to the pandemic, the public judged them like the stewards of a lifeboat in a sink or swim environment,” he told the National Post in an email. “And by all accounts every premier won the trust and support of the population they lead.”

“By the end of the second quarter, citizens had caught their breath, comprehending the extent of the impact of the virus and feeling some measure of stability and security for the first time,” he added. 

As a result, the formula needed to maintain public approval tightened up. Now, premiers are judged based on their ability to steer their provinces towards a “new normal with continuing prudence coupled with economic and personal financial stimulus,” Wright said. 

Premier Pallister, he said, caught an “upwards swing” in his approval ratings after his government boosted programs that brought back laid-off workers and increased financial support for businesses. 

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