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By David Coletto

We were in the field at the end of February (Feb 23-Mar 1) and asked Canadians their impression of four declared/possible Conservative Party leadership candidates.

Jean Charest would start the race with higher name recognition than Poilievre and about similar favourables nationally (gen pop). Patrick Brown is much less known, especially outside Ontario.

Among those who would vote Conservative today, Poilievre is viewed far more favourably than Charest. Poilievre has a +22 favourable score compared with -3 for Charest.

Charest’s Quebec numbers are much different than the rest of the country. Most know him but almost half have a negative impression.

Poilievre’s numbers are fairly consistent across the country although only 8% positive in Quebec. But his strength is his connection and positive impression with current and potential CPC voters.

Patrick Brown is much more well known in Ontario (not surprising) but his net score is 0 there. He has net positives with both potential and current CPC supporters.

Obviously, this is a snapshot from a week ago and after Charest’s launch on Thursday, these numbers could move.

But he faces two big challenges in my view:

1. Poilievre is more known and liked among the CPC voter base (which is not the same thing as the membership).

2. His high negatives in Quebec could be a challenge if he’s going to rely on the province to sign up members and challenge Poilievre.

UPSHOT

Given Poilievre’s popularity with CPC voters, I suspect his numbers are even stronger among CPC members giving him a big head start. Charest has a lot of work to do to win this.

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METHODOLOGY

The survey was conducted with 2,000 Canadian adults from February 23 to March 1, 2022. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically 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 +/- 2.2%, 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 follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here:  https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/

This survey was paid for by Abacus Data Inc.

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