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November 18, 2019

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

There’s been a lot of talk about whether the Conservative Party of Canada should stick with Andrew Scheer as its leader into the next election, whenever that will be.  The Conservative Party will have a vote to decide whether to hold a leadership race this spring.

Here’s what our latest polling finds on the question:

Of nine possible alternative leaders of the Conservative Party, Canadians prefer 7 of the 9 to Andrew Scheer.  Five are 8 points or more ahead of Andrew Scheer, including two of Brian Mulroney’s children, Stephen Harper, Brian Pallister, Brad Wall and Peter MacKay.  Across the country, 60% would prefer Peter MacKay to Mr. Scheer.

In Ontario, the province where Conservatives most fell short of their goals in the last election, 8 of the nine names have more support than Mr. Scheer.  MacKay, Harper and Caroline Mulroney have the largest advantage over Mr. Scheer.

However, the choice of leader will ultimately reflect the preferences of Conservative Party members.  Among Conservative voters, Mr. Scheer is preferred to eight of the nine names, the only exception being Stephen Harper.  However, his lead over MacKay, Wall, Caroline Mulroney, and Brian Pallister may not be as large as incumbents might hope for or expect.

UPSHOT

According to Bruce Anderson: “Public comments from leading Conservatives reveal that there’s obviously some restiveness in the Conservative Party today. To some extent, this reflects a belief that the party could have formed a government and fell short of that goal.  But there are different factions within the conservative movement in Canada, some reflecting conservative social values, some western alienation, some a pro-oil perspective, while others want a party that embraces climate action and a broad inclusive value system.  Leadership tensions can be a surrogate for these schisms, beyond whether Andrew Scheer campaigned as well as people hoped for.  The Conservative leader may find it necessary to make clear choices and stake out some ground – hoping for incumbency to protect him may prove riskier.”

According to David Coletto: “Our test of potential alternatives to Mr. Scheer finds none, except for Mr. Harper, are preferred over Mr. Scheer among those who voted Conservative in the last election. This should give him some comfort, especially since Conservative members will ultimately decide whether to initiate a leadership election.

But beyond the Conservative universe, Scheer’s performance against Mr. MacKay, Ms. Mulroney, or Mr. Wall should give Conservatives some pause to reflect on why Mr. Scheer failed to break-through and whether it is a question of leadership, tone, or party positioning.”

METHODOLOGY

Our survey was conducted online with 3,000 Canadians aged 18 and over from November 12 to 17, 2019. A random sample of panellists was invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 1.79%, 19 times out of 20.  The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

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We were one of the most accurate pollsters conducting research during the 2019 Canadian Election.

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