Support for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is dropping sharply, according to a new poll showing a majority of Canadians believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.
The Nanos Research poll also shows 56 per cent of people rate the government’s 2013 performance as “somewhat poor” or “very poor,” a far higher share than the poll had found in earlier years. In particular, 44 per cent of respondents in the Prairies said the government’s 2013 performance was “very poor,” signalling unrest in the Harper Conservatives’ backyard.
The figures come from the annual “Mood of Canada” poll, conducted by Nanos and the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) and released Monday. The results are bleak for a government that has spent months coping with the fallout of the Senate spending scandal, which has triggered an RCMP investigation and raised questions about the conduct of those in Mr. Harper’s own office.
The Senate scandal differs from previous controversies in that it directly implicates the Prime Minister, who has been tasked with personally defending his handling of the issue, pollster Nik Nanos said.
“There was always a bit of a buffer. This year was the first year where the Prime Minister was very closely associated with the controversy, specifically the Senate controversy,” he said. “… I think we can now mark 2013 as the year that Stephen Harper’s personal brand took a hit.”
In the Mood of Canada survey’s seven-year history, this year’s results set new lows for the government: 55 per cent said Canada is headed in the “wrong direction,” while the poll had never shown that figure to be higher than 38 per cent. Another 38 per cent said government had a “very poor” year, more than double what the poll had ever shown. And 45 per cent said Canada’s reputation was “not improved” internationally this year; 8 per cent said the same a year ago.
The Senate scandal “has had a significant spillover effect in how people are viewing the government writ-large,” Mr. Nanos said.
Canada is headed in the wrong direction, majority says in poll - The Globe and Mail