Wynne and Marois approval ratings drop ahead of potential 2014 elections

·Politics Reporter

It's widely believed that voters in Canada's two largest provinces will be heading to the polls in 2014; that the respective minority provincial governments won't survive the turn of another calendar year.

If that's the case, the latest Angus Reid poll should be a concern to Ontario's Kathleen Wynne and Quebec's Pauline Marois.

On Wednesday, the pollster released the results of their quarterly popular premier survey which suggests both of the premiers' approval ratings are on the decline.

Premier Wynne now has an rating of 34 per cent. That's down four percentage points from September 2013, the last time Angus Reid conducted this survey.

Marois' popularity has dropped a whopping seven points to 32 percent.

Angus Reid Vice President Shachi Kurl says the sliding number are important to watch but claims that both premiers have an opportunity to turn things around.

"In the case of Pauline Marois — she's been lower," Kurl told Yahoo Canada News in a telephone interview.

"We saw her at 27 per cent of June of last year. And then we saw the introduction of the Quebec charter and all the talk around that. And while English Canada really saw it as...horrifying, it was a really good wedge issue for Madame Marois' base so her numbers came way up [in September].

"The Charter is back in the news again. Is that going to cause different fortunes going forward for Pauline Marois? I think that's something to watch."

[ Related: Marois: Values charter not just about religious symbols ]

As for Wynne, Kurl suggests that she's still having to deal with former Premier Dalton McGuinty's old baggage.

"This is a premier that inherited quite a bit of a mess from the previous premier. She's not quite done dealing with the [gas plant] fall-out. She's not quite finished dealing with the Drummond report and all the implications around that," she said.

"I think the challenge for Kathleen Wynne is [this]: can she do what Dalton McGuinty was able to do..or what [B.C. Premier] Christy Clark was able to do which was come in from a place of weakness and over the course of the campaign turn it into a place of strength?"

Kurl adds that it's important to remember that the popular premier survey is about job approval ratings and not about who Canadians would vote for.

"I agree that these numbers are probably not being greeted with the popping of champagne corks at either of the premiers' offices at Queen's Park or in Quebec City," she said.

"At the same time you can disapprove of a job someone is doing but still say 'you know what, there's no way I can bring myself to vote for the other guy, so I'm going to hold my nose and vote for this government.'"

[ Related: Ontario byelections another test for PC leader Tim Hudak ]

Someone who doesn't need to worry about any of that is Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall who, once again, is the nation's most popular premier. Wall has been at the top of the list for almost two years with approval ratings above 60 per cent.

"It is remarkable and something that we don't often see," Kurl said about Wall's popularity.

"To stay as high as Brad Wall has, over [that] amount of time,..without really very many wobbles is definitely of note. I'm sure there are a lot of federal right-of-centre politicians who would like to know what Brad Wall's secret is."

The online survey of 6,580 Canadian adults was conducted between December 3 and December 13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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