B.C. Premier John Horgan continues to be a chart-topper when it comes to approval ratings across the country, according to a new poll.
In its latest Premiers’ Performance survey, the Angus Reid Institute says that Horgan scored an approval rating of 66 per cent of his constituents. Horgan, who has seen high ratings for the majority of the pandemic, jumps up two points from the previous poll, released in December 2020.
The survey summary suggests that Horgan “survived a politically risky announcement that the now $16-billion Site C hydroelectric dam would indeed be completed.”
Angus Reid also attributes Horgan’s approval rating to have benefitted from the recent announcement of British Columbia’s mass immunization plan.
“The new strategy made headlines across the country for extending the time between first and second doses of applicable COVID-19 vaccine to four months. After initial conflict over this timeline, other provinces announced they’d adopt or study the same four-month spacing,” says the Angus Reid Institute.
Horgan is one of five premiers who received the endorsement of at least half of their respective provincial constituencies, outpacing Quebec’s François Legault — who had the second-highest premier approval rating — by four points.
Angus Reid believes that moving forward, the next phase of vaccine distribution will be a key performance indicator on how premiers will be judged over the next few months. The organization says it is hard to determine how B.C.’s recent vaccination appointment bookings mishap will impact Horgan’s rating.
On Monday, when phone lines opened up to the public for immunization bookings, a slough of callers encountered difficulties reaching the call centres.
Telecommunications giant Telus has apologized to British Columbians for failing to adequately operate the province’s appointment hotlines, leading to delays, dropped calls and widespread frustration on launch day.
The company came under fire in the legislature for its failures on Tuesday, with Health Minister Adrian Dix sharply criticizing Telus for not honouring the contract it signed with the province to staff and operate the call centres when they launched Monday.
Whether the misstep impacts Horgan’s high rating or not is yet to be seen, however, Angus Reid says Canadians continue to be more inclined during pandemic days for the most part – to give their provincial leaders better assessments than worse in terms of approval.
On the other end of the spectrum, Nova Scotia’s Iain Rankin scored the lowest of any premier at 31 per cent, however, Angus Reid says this number is a little misleading as the province is still trying to figure out their brand-new premier.
“While he appears to be the least approved-of premier in the country, this is a function of fully half the province (51%) as yet unable to render an opinion on the job he’s doing,” says the organization.
This leaves Manitoba’s Brian Pallister and Alberta’s Jason Kenney as not only the least-approved of, but the most disapproved of by those in their provinces. Pallister appears to be bouncing back a little, at 36 per cent compared to 32 per cent last quarter. Kenney’s approval remains statistically unchanged, currently at 39 per cent.