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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer speaks with reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons in Ottawa on Nov. 29, 2017.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is lagging far behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in likeability, and is also less popular than rookie NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, according to a new survey.

Mr. Scheer, whose party put in a strong performance in the House of Commons last fall during the ethical controversy surrounding Finance Minister Bill Morneau, does not appear to be registering with Canadians, the survey suggests.

The Nanos Research survey conducted for The Globe and Mail found that Mr. Singh, the NDP Leader who doesn't have a seat in Parliament, is more likeable than Mr. Scheer, who has been an MP for almost 14 years and previously served as the Speaker of the House of Commons.

"The numbers have to be disappointing for Andrew Scheer," pollster Nik Nanos said.

"Only marginally more people consider him likeable than not likeable. And still one out of every four Canadians can't form an opinion on his likeability, or lack thereof."

The survey found Mr. Trudeau is the most-liked federal politician, but also the most polarizing, and suggests Mr. Singh's appeal has the most potential to grow in the key battleground provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, Mr. Nanos said.

"Justin Trudeau should be looking over his shoulder," he said. "Jagmeet Singh does well in a lot of places that are probably going to decide the outcome of the next election and the shape of the next government."

The survey found 68 per cent of respondents view Mr. Trudeau as likeable or somewhat likeable, followed by Mr. Singh at 56 per cent and 42 per cent for Mr. Scheer.

Mr. Scheer is the most unlikeable leader, the survey said, with 35 per cent of respondents finding him somewhat or not likeable, followed by Mr. Trudeau at 31 per cent and Mr. Singh at 22 per cent.

The feelings were stronger when it came to Mr. Trudeau, however, with 21 per cent of respondents finding him not likeable, compared with 19 per cent for Mr. Scheer.

Almost a quarter of respondents were unsure about Mr. Scheer, compared with 22 per cent for Mr. Singh and 2 per cent for Mr. Trudeau.

Mr. Nanos said the reason Mr. Scheer might have scored lowest on likeability is not because of his demeanour – which is often compared to a friendlier version of Stephen Harper – but rather his policies, such as taking a hardline on asylum seekers.

Spokespeople for the Conservatives and Liberals said they do not comment on polls. In a statement, Mr. Singh said he wouldn't comment on a single poll, but "since becoming Leader it's been amazing meeting Canadians across the country and feeling so much energy and excitement."

"In the new year I'm focused on reaching out to even more Canadians as we seek to build a more just and more fair country," he said.

The survey found that Mr. Trudeau is considered most likeable in Atlantic Canada (83 per cent), Quebec (74 per cent) and Ontario and British Columbia at around 69 per cent. He also scores high among women, at 75 per cent, and in the 35 to 54 age group.

Mr. Singh scored best in Atlantic Canada, at 68 per cent, and in Ontario at 62 per cent and British Columbia at 56 per cent. In Quebec, where the NDP holds 16 seats, Mr. Singh has a likeability score of 52 per cent – despite the fact that the party's vote share tumbled 17 points in October's by-election in the riding Lac-Saint-Jean.

Mr. Scheer is most likeable in the Prairies, at 48 per cent, which is the same as Mr. Singh and two points lower than Mr. Trudeau. He is also viewed as likeable in Atlantic Canada, at 46 per cent, and Ontario, at 41 per cent. Mr. Scheer is most liked by male voters, at 47 per cent, compared with 36 per cent women.

"The question for Andrew Scheer has to be, what is the growth strategy for his likeability outside of voters that you would traditionally expect to like the leader of the Conservative Party?" Mr. Nanos said.

Still, Mr. Nanos cautioned that likeability isn't everything in politics.

"We have to remember, you don't have to be likeable to be Prime Minister or to be successful in politics. Stephen Harper is a case in point," he said. "The Conservatives and Stephen Harper understood that, and then they developed a strategy."

The telephone and online survey was conducted between Dec. 27 and 29, 2017, based on a random sample of 1,000 respondents. It is considered accurate plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he shares family pictures on social media to show who he is outside of his policy initiatives. He admits, as his kids grow older, he will have to be more careful about what is posted

The Canadian Press

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