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Trudeaumania prevails: 26 per cent name Harper worst PM in poll

Former Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau and Tory Leader Stephen Harper are shown in a photo combination.

The Canadian Press and Reuters

While the next federal election could see a battle between Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau, the potential Liberal leader's father is still Canadians' pick as the country's best prime minister, according to a new survey.

The poll, from Angus Reid, asked for respondents' opinions on the best and worst prime ministers since 1968.

Pierre Trudeau was the favourite of 36 per cent of those surveyed, followed by Stephen Harper with 16 per cent and Jean Chrétien shortly behind. Brian Mulroney, Paul Martin and the three prime ministers who served shorter terms won little support as best PM.

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Mr. Trudeau was the pick of the majority of respondents who voted Liberal in the last federal election (57 per cent picked him) and a plurality of NDP voters (48 per cent). But, surprisingly, he was the second most frequent pick of Conservative voters – nearly a quarter said he was the country's best recent leader (far more support than Tory PMs Mr. Mulroney, Joe Clark or Kim Campbell received).

That cross-party goodwill didn't extend to other prime ministers. Most NDP and Liberal voters liked either Mr. Trudeau or Mr. Chrétien, or they weren't sure – few picked Mr. Harper.

Stephen Harper was selected by 26 per cent as Canada's worst recent prime minister, thanks to the votes of NDP, Liberal and Bloc supporters.

Those who voted Tory last year thought Mr. Trudeau was the worst, though they clearly weren't fans of either Brian Mulroney or Jean Chrétien.

Angus Reid conducted the online survey with 1,510 Canadians on Aug. 30 and 31. It has a margin of error of 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The trend has been steady in the last six years that Angus Reid has conducted this poll. Mr. Trudeau has been the respondents' favourite every year, while Mr. Harper has steadily overtaken Brian Mulroney as "worst."

A recent poll from Abacus Data gave Mr. Harper a 50 per cent unfavourability rating.

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About the Author
Assistant editor, Ottawa

Chris Hannay is assistant editor in The Globe's Ottawa bureau and author of the daily Politics newsletter. Previously, he was The Globe and Mail's digital politics editor, community editor for news and sports (working with social media and digital engagement) and a homepage editor. More

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