Pierre Trudeau Ahead of Harper as Best Recent PM for Canadians

More than one-in-five Canadians select either Justin Trudeau or Stephen Harper as the worst of the past nine prime ministers.

Vancouver, BC [July 23, 2021] – Pierre Trudeau remains the most liked of Canada’s nine recent heads of government, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 20% of Canadians select Pierre Trudeau as the best prime minister since 1968, down three points since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in July 2020.

Stephen Harper is second on the list with 16% (=), followed by Justin Trudeau with 13% (-2), Jean Chrétien with 7% (-4) and Brian Mulroney also with 7% (-1).

Fewer Canadians mentioned Paul Martin (3%, +1), Joe Clark (2%, +1), John Turner (2%, +1) or Kim Campbell (1%, -1). Almost three-in-ten (29%, -7) are undecided.

Justin Trudeau is the preferred choice for Canadians aged 18-to-34 (18%, with his father at 15% and Harper at 12%). Harper leads among Canadians aged 35-to-54 (18%, with Pierre Trudeau at 15% and Justin Trudeau at 14%). Canadians aged 55 and over pick Pierre Trudeau (29%, with Harper at 18%).

When asked who the country’s worst head of government since 1968 has been, 22% of Canadians select Justin Trudeau (+4), while 21% pick Harper (-2).

All of the remaining past prime ministers are in single digits: Mulroney (7%, +1), Pierre Trudeau (6%, -1), Campbell (5%, -1), Clark (4%, =), Chrétien (3%, -1), Martin (2%, -1) and Turner (also 2%, -1). More than a quarter of Canadians (27%, =) are undecided.

“The regional disparities are evident when Canadians assess their least favourite recent prime ministers,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “More than two-in-five Albertans (44%) select Justin Trudeau on this question, while just over one-in-four Quebecers (26%) pick Harper.”

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

Half of Canadians (50%, -4) think former New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton would have made a good prime minister. About three-in-ten Canadians feel the same way about former Progressive Conservative leader Robert Stanfield (31%, +1) and former NDP leader Tom Mulcair (30%, -2).

The rating is slightly lower for former Reform Party leader Preston Manning (28%, +2), and former Conservative Party leaders Rona Ambrose (24%, -3) and Andrew Scheer (23%, -3).

The lowest ranked former opposition leaders on this question are Stockwell Day of the Canadian Alliance (20%, -2) and former Liberal Party leaders Stéphane Dion (also 20%, -2) and Michael Ignatieff (19%, -1).

Methodology:  Results are based on an online survey conducted from July 16 to July 18, 2021, 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.

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

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca