Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday June 11, 2004
Dalton’s Approval Rating
A poll released this week by SES Research shows that the provincial Liberals have dropped precipitously and are now in second place, with the support of 34 per cent of decided voters – down 15 points from the previous poll – compared with 41 per cent for the Conservatives.
(Some 500 randomly chosen Ontarians were surveyed May 29 and 30 for this poll. A sample of this size is accurate within 4.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.)
Even worse news in the poll for the provincial Liberals is what it says about McGuinty.
He has slipped below lame-duck Conservative Leader Ernie Eves, for goodness’ sake, as the voters’ top choice for the job of premier. Indeed, McGuinty is running behind even “don’t know” in this category, although he is still ahead of NDP Leader Howard Hampton.
And only 9 per cent of voters rate McGuinty’s performance to date as “good” or “very good” compared with 54 per cent who think it has been “poor” or “very poor.”
This 9 per cent figure has been misrepresented by other media and by the opposition parties as an “approval rating, ” which would represent a historic low for a politician in Canada. (Brian Mulroney’s approval rating as prime minister once dropped to just 12 per cent.)
But voters were not asked by SES Research whether they “approved” or “disapproved” of McGuinty’s performance. Rather, the question posed was: “Based on his performance to date, would you describe the job he has done as very good, good, average, poor or very poor?” Some 32 per cent rated it as “average.” It is a big stretch to interpret their answer as “disapproval.”
Still, the numbers for McGuinty in the SES Research poll are bad enough. (Source: Toronto Star)