Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has the second lowest approval rating among provincial leaders in Canada, with only about two in five respondents saying the UCP leader is doing a good job, according to a new poll.
Only the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Andrew Furey, scored lower than Kenney. Furey received a 34 per cent approval rating in the Angus Reid Institute’s survey released Monday.
At 42 per cent, Kenney’s approval rating is at its lowest since his United Conservative Party ousted Rachel Notley’s NDP in an April 2019 election, Angus Reid said.
“Kenney is facing a number of challenges,” said a report accompanying the poll, which noted that response to the coronavirus pandemic continues to be a key metric by which voters rate their political leaders in this year.
“Albertans have grown increasingly critical of his government’s response to the coronavirus, and the province’s finances are in historically poor shape with oil revenues plummeting and pandemic-related economic shocks persisting.”
The Angus Reid Institute says it conducted its online survey from Aug. 26 to 30 among a representative randomized sample of 4,703 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum.
The premier had enjoyed a 61 per cent approval rating in June 2019, shortly after he took office. Five months ago, the institute released a poll suggesting Kenney’s approval rating had fallen from 54 per cent in December 2019, to 47 per cent in March 2020.
A CBC News-Road Ahead 2020 poll conducted in the spring — which asked respondents to rank Kenney on how impressed they were with his performance using a scale from zero to 10 — had the premier at 4.1 in March and then up to 4.4 in late May.
However, the same poll suggested Kenney was nonetheless well positioned to handily win re-election. Forty-six per cent of Albertans polled said they’d vote for Kenney’s UCP. The NDP trailed with 36 per cent, according to the survey reported in June.
Monday’s Angus Reid survey showed that British Columbia’s John Horgan had the highest approval rate in the country at 69 per cent, even though COVID-19 cases reached new record levels last week.
The popularity of the B.C. premier has led to speculation that a fall election might be called in that province, Angus Reid said.
In Ontario, where Stage 3 of community reopening has not led to a significant rise in new COVID-19 cases, Premier Doug Ford enjoys the approval of 66 per cent, the poll says.
Likewise in Quebec, Francois Legault has the approval of the majority of Quebecers, with a score of 65 per cent in the poll.
“Quebec’s case numbers — while still highest in the country in total — have remained low for the past two months,” Angus Reid’s report said.
“Further, the province’s elder care sector is reportedly much better prepared for a second wave of the virus, with new staff being trained and new protocols adopted.”
In Manitoba, where Premier Brian Pallister came under criticism for promoting the province as a tourism destination, his approval rating was pegged in the poll at 44 per cent.
In Saskatchewan, which is set to have a provincial election on Nov. 2, Premier Scott Moe has a 59 per cent approval rating and, according to a recent poll by EKOS. He also has a considerable lead in vote intention, Angus Reid said.
An election is also on the horizon in New Brunswick, where Blaine Higgs has a 61 approval rating heading into the Sept. 14 vote, the non-profit institute said.