Pierre Trudeau Leads as Canadians Rank Recent Prime Ministers

Stephen Harper (16%) and Justin Trudeau (15%) are next, followed by Jean Chrétien (11%) and Brian Mulroney (8%).

Vancouver, BC [July 24, 2020] – About one-in-four Canadians believe Pierre Trudeau has been the best head of government of the past five decades, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 23% of Canadians select Pierre Trudeau as the best prime minister since 1968—a proportion that climbs to 27% among Atlantic Canadians, and 26% among both Ontarians and Quebecers.

Stephen Harper is next on the list with 16%, followed by Justin Trudeau with 15%, Jean Chrétien with 11% and Brian Mulroney with 8%.

Justin Trudeau has his best numbers with Canadians aged 18-to-34 (26%), but drops to 14% among those aged 35-to-54 and 5% among those aged 55 and over.

When asked who the worst prime minister since 1968 has been, 23% of Canadians pick Harper, followed by Justin Trudeau with 18% and Pierre Trudeau with 7%.

“The regional disparities are evident on the worst prime minister question,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Three-in-ten Atlantic Canadians (31%) select Harper, while 25% of Albertans choose Justin Trudeau.”

Canadians were also asked about nine different politicians who served as leaders of the Official Opposition in Ottawa over the past five decades.

Three-in-ten Canadians (30%) believe Robert Stanfield—who led the Progressive Conservatives from 1967 to 1976 and faced off against Pierre Trudeau in three federal elections—would have made a good prime minister, while 11% think he would have been bad.

Canadians are more nuanced when asked to assess former Reform Party leader Preston Manning (Good 26%, Bad 27%) and interim Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose (Good 27%, Bad 25%).

Respondents are more likely to hold negative feelings about three politicians: Canadian Alliance leader in the 2000 election Stockwell Day (Good 22%, Bad 33%), Liberal leader in the 2008 election Stéphane Dion (Good 22%, Bad 33%) and Liberal leader in the 2011 election Michael Ignatieff (Good 20%, Bad 30%). The review is better for former New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Tom Mulcair (Good 32%, Bad 26%).

The best rated politician on this list of former opposition leaders is the NDP’s Jack Layton. A majority of Canadians (54%) think Layton would have made a good prime minister, and only 14% feel he would have been bad.

While one-in-four Canadians (26%) think outgoing Conservative leader Andrew Scheer would have made a good head of government, almost half (48%) disagree with this point of view.

Results are based on an online survey conducted from July 6 to July 8, 2020, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Photo Credit: Alasdair McLellan

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca