Conservative Leadership: MacKay, Raitt, Kenney, Clement

Bruce Anderson

Bruce Anderson

Four names top the list of candidates attracting interest in the CPC race.

In our latest poll we asked people which of 7 possible candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada they think would make the best leader. Note, this survey was conducted prior to Kevin O’Leary mentioning his interest in possibly running for the leadership.

Here are the highlights of our findings:

• Among those who say they would vote CPC today, Peter MacKay leads this field of 7. His support at 42% is well ahead of the other names we tested. Jason Kenney stand in second with 19% followed by Lisa Raitt and Tony Clement, both with 13%. Kellie Leitch, Max Bernier and Bernard Lord attract about 5% support each.

• Among those who say they would consider voting CPC but wouldn’t do so if an election were today, the results are slightly different. Jason Kenney drops back to 10%, Max Bernier moves up to a 3 way tie for second with Lisa Raitt, and Tony Clement, each with 12%.

• Among voters in Quebec, MacKay attracts 34%, but Bernier is not far behind with 23%, followed by Bernard Lord 14%, Lisa Raitt 11%, and Jason Kenney 10%. Tony Clement and Kellie Leitch are well back with 5% and 3% respectively.

• Among voters in Ontario, MacKay has 38% support, followed by Clement and Raitt at 19% and 17% respectively. Jason Kenney is a bit further back at 11%.

• Among BC voters, MacKay stands at 36%, followed by Raitt at 23%, with Clement (16%) and Kenney (11%) further back.

• Among men, MacKay has 41% followed by Raitt and Kenney with 14% each.

• Among women, MacKay leads but with only 33% followed by Raitt at 18% and Clement at 16%, and Kenney at 10%.

• Among voters who self describe as “right” on the political spectrum, MacKay (35%) leads Kenney (25%), followed by Raitt (15%). Among those who self identify as “centre-right”, the results are MacKay 39%, with Kenney 18% and Raitt at 16%, more closely bunched.

• Among younger voters (under 45) MacKay stands at 32%, followed by Lisa Raitt at 19%. The others all fall somewhat further back.

The Upshot

According The results suggest that while MacKay has strong name recognition and a considerable level of public support, that the race has the potential to prove a competitive one. Certainly, Jason Kenney has a significant level of support, especially among those who are most committed to the Party and most likely to participate in the process of selecting a leader.

Moreover, the regional differences and gender differences in these numbers suggest that Lisa Raitt and Tony Clement may well, if they choose to run, provide significant competition for Messrs. MacKay and Kenney. Ms. Raitt’s support among women and younger voters may prove a factor to watch if she decides to enter this race.

Finally, one of the questions that Conservative voters will consider as they go through this process is whether to pick a new leader to that be best suited to will rally and heal the base, or to grow the Conservative franchise, aiming at centre right voters. Where to put the emphasis will be one of the most important strategic choices that any of these candidates can make in the early going.


Our survey was conducted online with 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and over from January 8 to 12, 2016. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of over 400,000 Canadians.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.6%, 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.

Abacus Data Inc.

We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and value added insight. Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, PhD.

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