Pierre Best, Justin Worst as Canadians Rank Recent Prime Ministers

For almost half of Canadians, Jack Layton would have been a “very good” or “good” head of the federal government.

Vancouver, BC [July 21, 2023] – Pierre Trudeau keeps a sight lead over Stephen Harper as Canadians ponder the best prime ministers of the past 55 years, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 20% of Canadians (+1 since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in June 2022) think Pierre Trudeau has been the best head of government since 1968.

Harper is a close second with 17% (unchanged), followed by Jean Chrétien (11%, +2), Justin Trudeau (also 11%, -1), Brian Mulroney (8%, =), Paul Martin (3%, =), Joe Clark (2%, =), John Turner (1%, -1) and Kim Campbell (also 1%, =).

“More than a third of Albertans (36%) believe Stephen Harper has been Canada’s best recent prime minister,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Pierre Trudeau fares best in British Columbia (27%), Ontario (23%) and Atlantic Canada (22%).”

When asked about the worst recent prime minister, three-in-ten Canadians (30%, +1) choose Justin Trudeau. Harper is second with 18% (+1), followed by Campbell (7%, +1), Mulroney (6%, +1), Pierre Trudeau (5%, -1), Chrétien (3%, -2), Clark (3%, =), Martin (2%, =) and Turner (1%, -1).

About a third of Atlantic Canadians (32%) think Harper has been the worst recent head of government in Canada. Justin Trudeau’s negative rating reaches 45% in Alberta, 36% in British Columbia and 36% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The survey also asked questions about 10 different politicians who served as leaders of the Official Opposition in Ottawa over the past five decades.

Just under half of Canadians (48%, -4) believe Jack Layton would have made a “very good” or “good” prime minister, including 61% of Canadians aged 55 and over.

Five former leaders of the opposition are regarded positively on this question by more than one-in-five Canadians: Preston Manning (28%, -1), Robert Stanfield (27%, -3), Tom Mulcair (also 27 %, -2), Andrew Scheer (22%, -1) and Erin O’Toole (also 22%, -1).

The rating is lower for Michael Ignatieff (19%, +1), Stockwell Day (also 19%, -1), Rona Ambrose (18%, -4) and Stéphane Dion (also 18%, =).

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted on July 4 and July 5, 2023, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. 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.


[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

Photo Credit: Tony Webster