Interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmel is not catching on with Canadians who rate her poorly on her competence, vision and trustworthiness as she trails even Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae, according to a new poll.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper remains significantly ahead of the pack but the story is Mr. Rae, who has now usurped his Official Opposition rival for second place on the Nanos Research leadership index.
"Now we can confidently say there is trend in favour of Bob Rae at the current time," pollster Nik Nanos told The Globe. "Nycole Turmel hasn't really caught the imagination of voters. ... She is there minding the shop but her personal numbers are not necessarily moving."
This means, however, that Mr. Rae is winning second place by "default," Mr. Nanos added.
Asked to judge the leaders on trust, competence and vision for the country, 30.4 per cent of respondents said Mr. Harper was the most trustworthy leader, compared to 16.3 per cent for Mr. Rae and 11.2 per cent for Ms. Turmel. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is at 10.5 per cent.
On the competence, Mr. Harper leads with 37 per cent support compared to 18.3 per cent for Mr. Rae, 6.8 per cent for Ms. Turmel and 3.9 per cent for Ms. May.
Mr. Nanos also asked poll respondents about vision. He found that 29.8 per cent said Mr. Harper has the best vision for Canada's future, followed by Mr. Rae with 15.3 per cent, Ms. Turmel with 13.3 per cent and Ms. May with 6.6 per cent.
Although, Mr. Harper is well ahead of his opponents on this front, the Nanos numbers show his score has dropped significantly since last month when 36.8 per cent said he had the best vision for Canada.
"As the Conservatives embark on the first part of their mandate to deliver on the promises made I think that probably had a bit of an impact on the perceptions of the Prime Minister and his vision for Canada," Mr. Nanos said, referring to the flurry of legislation – scrapping the long-gun registry, crime bills, and dismantling the Canadian Wheat Board – that has been introduced since the Commons returned from its summer recess.
"So for this period as they do their policy housekeeping, I would expect the numbers for Stephen Harper not to be as strong on the vision front as they have been in the past," Mr. Nanos said. For now, he added, the Tories have some political capital that they can expend.
The pollster expects the "second phase" of the Tory majority to become more interesting. The Harper government is currently benefitting, in part, to a weak opposition but te game could change when the NDP and Liberals choose permanent leaders.
As for the horse race numbers, Mr. Harper and his Conservatives have the support of 37.7 per cent nationally compared to 30 per cent for the NDP and 23.4 per cent for the Liberals.
Despite Ms. Turmel's low leadership score, Mr. Nanos said the good news for the NDP is that it is holding on to "their 30 per cent support" across the country. In addition, the NDP continues to be strong in Quebec. The party holds a majority of the province's 75 seats and is at 45.1 per cent support compared to the Conservatives, Liberals and Bloc Quebecois, who are in a three-way race for the bottom with 15.1 per cent support, 18.2 per cent and 15.2 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile – and not surprisingly – Mr. Harper's numbers have increased on the East Cost. The Prime Minister now has the support of 39.6 per cent of Atlantic Canadians, up from 31.1 per cent in the previous poll a month ago. Mr. Nanos suspects the increase is likely due to the awarding of multi-billion-dollar federal shipbuilding contracts, the largest of which went to a Halifax shipyard.
The poll of 1,202 Canadians was conducted between Oct. 20 and 24. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Trudeau decries Tory arrogance – and frets over Liberal nostalgia
Justin Trudeau is accusing the Conservatives of "arrogance" over their intention to burn data collected from the long-gun registry.
Stephen Harper's Tories introduced legislation last week to scrap the registry, fulfilling a long-held election promise. But a new wrinkle was included in the bill, calling for the records to be destroyed.
On CTV's Question Period Sunday, Mr. Trudeau said this data should not be "cavalierly discarded by any political party."
The Montreal Liberal MP added: "It needs to be respected as the property of Canadians."
He also talked about his decision not to seek the leadership this time around. Mr. Trudeau said he wants to spend time with his young family and suggested he was miffed with the party and its search for a leader.
"I don't see the Liberal Party as serious as I'd like it to be about reinventing and re-imagining itself," he said, noting that the leadership should come from the bottom up and not the top down. The party has already been through that, he said, and it has "gotten us nowhere."
In addition, he said that the choice for leaders should not be an "anchor to past glories," suggesting he didn't want to run simply on his last name.