- While this will come as a complete shock to anyone who gets his information from reading this board, prime minister Harper has enjoyed a healthy lead over all other federal party leaders since early 2008 as the most credible and trusted leader with the exception of the Quebec miracle for the late Le Bon Jack Layton in April and May of 2011 when Jack was almost tied with Harper.
- Currently, the prime minister leads the leader of the opposition by a staggering 104.2 to 43.6 in this Leadership Index.
- In my opinion, it is a tribute to the average Canadian voter that he or she has been able to discern what is solid peformance and proven ability over trumped up carping, empty rhetoric and even emptier platforms and has also opted for competence over charisma since Stephen Harper has about as much charisma as the late Bob Stanfield or Herb Gray on heavy medication.
- Here is more on the latest Nanos survey:
Opposition doesn’t get it: Muckraking only briefly sways voters
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Nov. 22 2012, 7:00 AM EST
Last updated Thursday, Nov. 22 2012, 5:20 AM EST
Stephen Harper, having paid the political price for the controversies that dogged his government last spring, appears to have been forgiven. In that forgiveness lies a fascinating insight into the relationship between the Prime Minister and the Canadian voter.
Canadians may not warm to Mr. Harper, but unless the headlines are screaming scandal, they trust him more than other politicians. And even though those headlines may temporarily shake that trust, as soon as the story moves off page one, the trust returns.
A Nanos Research Survey released Tuesday shows that the hit the Prime Minister took to his credibility in the wake of the omnibus bill, the furor over alleged electoral fraud and the controversies surrounding the F-35 fighter contract has dissipated.
The Nanos Leadership Index – a compendium of scores based on responses to questions about which federal political leader voters believe is most trustworthy and competent and has the best vision of the country – shows voter trust in Mr. Harper has returned to its traditional level of around 100.
To be precise, Mr. Harper earned a score of 104.2 in a poll conducted between Nov. 9 and Nov. 15. He has scored at or around 100 more often than not since the beginning of 2008.
Last July, as omnibusgate, robogate and F-35gate roiled the political waters, Mr. Harper’s trust index plummeted to an all-time low of 72.7. But since then that score has steadily improved.
For pollster Nik Nanos, the numbers demonstrate that voters are more interested in the overall ability of a government to govern – regardless of how they view the government leader personally – than in any particular kerfuffle..
“We shouldn’t confuse likeability with being able to govern,” Mr. Nanos said in an interview. “None of the opposition parties looks like a government in waiting. That just makes Stephen Harper look taller.”
Mr. Nanos observed that, unless one of the other political parties and its leader are able to present themselves as that elusive government-in-waiting, any controversy-du-jour eventually becomes “political wallpaper … part of the noise in Ottawa,” with voters defaulting to their traditional level of trust in the Conservative government.
In this respect, the poll for NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is particularly disheartening. With a leadership index of 43.6, less than half that of the Prime Minister, he has clearly not convinced Canadians that he and his team are ready and able to lead the country.
His predecessor, Jack Layton, typically scored in the same range, except for the tremendous spike in Spring 2011 that resulted in the NDP forming the official opposition.
The message for NDP and Liberal political strategists is stark: While there is short-term political gain to be had by hammering the government over defence procurement, dodgy election tactics or other alleged sins, those attacks have a limited shelf life.
Unless the news of Conservative malfeasance can be sustained, the voters are inclined to eventually discount them.
To defeat the Conservatives, in this environment, the opposition must do more than simply rake muck; they must fundamentally shake voter confidence in the ability of the Conservatives to mind the store, while boosting voter confidence in their own team.
This – through three elections, with an endless litany of contretemps between votes – they have failed to achieve. All the opposition has managed to accomplish has been to convert the Conservative minority government into a majority.
Sometimes it must be hard to get out of bed in the morning at Stornaway.
The Nanos poll also shows the Conservatives holding on to a modest lead in overall public support. If an election were held today, 34 per cent say they would vote Conservative, 29 per cent would vote Liberal – a considerable improvement on the 19 per cent the party obtained in the last election – while 27 per cent would support the NDP.
Nanos conducted a telephone survey of 1,004 Canadians, with the results considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20