Skip to main content

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, centre, and Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae are shown in a photo combination.

The Conservatives are untrustworthy, New Democrats are socialist, the Liberals are incompetent, the Greens are eco-friendly and the Bloc Quebecois is useless.

Those are the top responses given by Canadians when asked recently by Nanos Research to describe the five federal parties using a single word.

If there is one overarching message from the online survey conducted on April 13 and 14, it's that Canadians don't think highly of any of the country's major political players.

"We basically asked people to role-play and assume that each of the federal parties was a person and to use one word to describe their personalities," pollster Nik Nanos explained. "Envision a social gathering at your home and the federal parties are there and they are people. This is how, as the host, you would probably feel about them."

The results of the survey suggest it would be a rather dismal affair with many unwanted guests.

"A lot of people had swear words and very rude words for all of the parties," Mr. Nanos said. "We put them under 'bad/incompetent.' So that particular category also includes swear words and things that we thought were too rude to put in a data table."

In addition to untrustworthy, the Conservatives were described as being conservative (not a lot of imagination put into that one), bad/incompetent, good, trustworthy, controlling and arrogant. They received roughly as many positive responses as negative.

The same was true of the New Democrats, who were called caring, bad/incompetent, good, new, innovative, and trustworthy.

Sadly for the Liberals, just four of the top 15 responses could be considered endorsements. The party was described as bad/incompetent, untrustworthy, good, competent, progressive, powerful and arrogant.

But "I think the killer one was the Bloc," Mr. Nanos said. Quebeckers called the separatist party narrow-minded, aggressive, boring and incompetent. But "useless" was the real blow.

"What is lethal for a party is the perception that it is irrelevant," the pollster said. "There is a difference between people not agreeing with your party or not liking your party and [your party]not being relevant." It is obvious that a significant number of Quebeckers don't see the Bloc as a relevant political option, he said.

There is no margin of error for the survey of 1,002 Canadians. But the polling firm weighted the data using the latest census results and says the final sample is believed to be a true refection of Canadian opinion at the time of the research.

On the whole, people are unhappy with all of the political parties and the workings of the Commons in recent months, Mr. Nanos said.

"It would be fair to say that these questions are bad news for everyone in one way or another," he said. "And I think that, if any of the parties want to break away, it is clear that they have to deal with their underlying brand and the level of cynicism and disappointment and anger that is out there amongst average Canadians."

Editor's note: A quote from Nik Nanos has been paraphrased to better reflect what he said.

Report an error

Editorial code of conduct