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Jason Kenney is Canada's least popular premier -- some caveats may apply

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at a press briefing on May 7, 2020. Image: Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta/Flickr

Jason Kenney is Canada's least popular premier.

When you add in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he's also Canada’s least popular first minister.

I'm not going to belabour this point, but Jason Kenney is Canada's least popular premier.

Actually, I am going to belabour the point. I'm just not going to provide a lot of smarty pants analysis. That's because while we can speculate, it's too soon to say why Jason Kenney is Canada's least popular premier, or what that might mean.

Unfortunately, there are caveats. Far too many.

As far as we can tell, Jason Kenney is Canada's least popular premier. Maybe there's a less popular premier in Atlantic Canada, because the Campaign Research Inc. poll that indicates how unpopular Kenney is doesn't include the Maritimes or Newfoundland.

But who can imagine any Atlantic premier being less popular than Kenney? So I'm just going to keep on saying Kenney is Canada's least popular premier until somebody proves otherwise.

How unpopular is Kenney? Well, Kenney has both the lowest approval rating of any first minister about which the Toronto-based pollster asked questions in its monthly omnibus poll and the highest disapproval rating of any premier on the list.

Mind you, another caveat, the Alberta sample appears to be pretty small, tiny even, a mere 181 souls out of the 2,007 who responded to the firm's online panel on May 1 and 2. And, in this province, who knows why people might disapprove of the guy?

Still, even with all those qualifiers, it's nice to be able to say that Jason Kenney is Canada's least popular premier, and considerably less popular than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to boot!

The poll was published yesterday under the heading COVID-19/Coronavirus Study, so you might have missed it. The bit about Jason Kenney being Canada's most unpopular premier is buried rather deep, starting down on page 36 of the explanatory slide show. It's one of those online panel thingies, so all of the usual negative caveats about that apply too.

Just the same, according to Campaign Research, Canada's three most popular premiers are Quebec's Francois Legault with an 83-per-cent approval rating and 13 per cent disapproving, Saskatchewan's Scott Moe (80 per cent/16 per cent), and British Columbia's John Horgan (73 per cent/13 per cent). Ontario's Doug Ford was fourth (76 per cent/17 per cent).

I suppose because they're a Toronto pollster, Campaign research threw in Toronto Mayor John Tory (75 per cent/17 per cent). In fairness, though, Toronto's population is more than twice those of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and a bit larger than both combined, so fair's fair.

Plus Campaign Research added the prime minister (65 per cent/29 per cent).

Canada's second-least popular premier, according to this, was Manitoba's Brian Pallister (51 per cent/37 per cent).

And then came Kenney, in a distant last place with an approval rating of 44 per cent, and a disapproval rating of 48 per cent, the only leader on the list with a higher disapproval rating than approval rating.

Have I read too much into this? Almost certainly.

But who cares? It's just nice to be able to say … Jason Kenney is Canada's least popular premier.

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post also appears on his blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Image: Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta/Flickr

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