Christy Clark has the second-lowest approval rating of Canada’s premiers, according to a new poll.
The Angus Reid poll noted Clark’s approval has dropped seven points to 33 per cent, more than any other premier in the same quarterly period.
In contrast, the NDP’s Adrian Dix is experiencing a 47 per cent approval rating, one of the highest among primary opposition leaders in the country.
“These are very good numbers for Dix and the NDP,” said Mario Canseco, Angus Reid vice president, noting any approval above 40 per cent is a difficult task in Canadian politics.
While Clark’s approval is an improvement on Gordon Campbell’s 16 per cent before leaving office, Liberal support has been eroding largely due to the resurgence of the B.C. Conservatives over the past year, said Doug McArthur, SFU public-policy professor.
“The declining popularity of Premier Clark as leader is creating a certain anxiety on the part of a number of the MLAs as to what’s going to happen. A number of them will be thinking about what to do with their political future,” McArthur said.
On Monday, stalwart Liberal John van Dongen became the first sitting MLA to fly the Conservative banner in more than 30 years.
McArthur said van Dongen’s discontentment with his former party was well known and therefore his defection may not be an indication of widespread internal disenchantment. “It’s a big thing to jump off the ship that you’ve been on with colleagues and friends for many years and go over to the other side,” McArthur said.
Angus Reid will conduct a new poll this week to assess party support in the run-up to two provincial byelections next month. A recent poll suggests both the Liberals (28 per cent) and Conservatives (19 per cent) trail the NDP (42 per cent).
Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall remains Canada’s most popular premier with a staggering 70 per cent approval rating. Quebec’s Jean Charest is the only other premier to fare worse than Clark, garnering 27 per cent approval.