Conservative leadership: Poilievre preferred by party but not Canadians: poll


Ontario MP Pierre Poilievre remains the big favorite to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, but he is trailing behind his opponent Jean Charest to win the support of all Canadians.

A new Léger poll conducted in conjunction with the Association for Canadian Studies suggests that 44% of Conservative voters believe Poilievre would be the best party leader. His main rival, former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, is supported at 17%.

The survey was conducted online between August 5 and 7 among 1,500 Canadian adults drawn from Leger’s representative panel. It cannot be given a margin of error because online polls are not considered a statistically representative sample.

Twenty-two percent of Tories said they didn’t know which of the five candidates would make the best leader, while eight percent said none of them would.

Among the remaining candidates, Ontario MP Leslyn Lewis was supported at 6%, Ontario MP Scott Aitchison at 2% and former Ontario provincial politician Roman Baber at 1%.

This is the first poll on the race conducted by Leger since Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown was kicked out of the contest by the management’s organizing committee last month over allegations he broke party rules. and possibly violated federal election laws.

In a June Leger poll, Poilievre also had 44% support among the Conservatives, Charest had 14% support and Brown 4%. The August poll pushed Charest’s numbers up three points, while Poilievre’s were unchanged.

Christian Bourque, Leger’s executive vice president, said with votes already underway, all signs point to a victory for Poilievre.

But he said the poll also indicates the Tory’s preferred candidate could face a tougher path to a general election victory.

The poll suggests that Charest is seen as the best option for the Conservative leader job by 22% of all Canadians, while Poilievre is supported by 16%.

About one in seven Canadians surveyed said a Poilievre victory would make them more likely to vote Conservative in the next election, with only a small fraction more saying the same of a Charest victory.

However, more than one in four respondents said a Poilievre victory would make them less likely to vote Conservative, compared to one in five who said that of Charest.

That divide is widest in seat-rich Ontario, where a victory for Poilievre would make 28% of those polled less likely to vote Conservative, compared to 16% who said Charest.

In Alberta, 24% of those polled said they would be more likely to vote Conservative if Poilievre won, and 18% said they would be less likely to do so. If Charest wins, 14% of those polled said they would be more likely to vote Conservative, while 27% said they would be less likely to do so.

Bourque said that opens up existential questions for the Conservatives, who are already winning big in Alberta, holding 30 of the province’s 34 seats. In Ontario, the Conservatives have 37 of the 121 seats available and must do better in the most populous province to form government.

Bourque said Poilievre could help the Conservatives win the same seats with bigger margins in Alberta, but would do little to help move the needle in Ontario.

“With a victory for Charest, the calculation would not be the same,” he said.

The Tories are due to announce the leadership winner on September 10.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 10, 2022.