Things are starting to look up for the Liberals. For the first time in a long time, a Liberal leader has managed to get a higher approval rating than the Prime Minister. However, rest in mind that there are still enough undecided to sway the curve.
The Liberals remain in third place nationally but from their most devastating election defeat in May, they have made real progress. Their gains in membership, their upward trend in polls and their over-packed convention have put them in a very good place. With an NDP MP crossing the floor from the Official Opposition to the Third Party Liberals, you can only imagine how happy the party must be – and how strange a decision of Lise St-Denis to leave the official opposition to go to the third party.
A poll by Forum Research shows that 39% of respondents approve of Bob Rae as interim leader and 32% disapprove leaving 29% undecided.
The same poll found that Harper’s approval rating was only 37% and that only 9% have yet to make a decision on Harper leaving a disapproval rating of 54%.
In retrospect, this means that Rae with a current score of 7 beats Harper with a score of –17. However, with 29% undecided, Rae’s score could plummet if he makes the wrong move.
The numbers from the Forum Research on the eve of the Liberal convention is consistent with the results found by EKOs polling from mid-December.
In that poll, Harper had an approval of 34%, disapproval of 59% and undecided of 7%. Rae had a 44% approval, 24% disapproval and undecided of 32%. This would give a score of 20 for Rae in comparison of –25 for Harper.
Both polls stated that Rae’s approval ratings were highest in the province he once governed as an NDP Premier. During this time, Ontario was in recession and people were left with a sour taste which the Conservatives and National Citizen’s Coalition are trying to revitalize.
Rae responded vowing to attack Harper if he is attacked and slated that he would remind Canadians of Harper’s unflattering remarks about them. This includes the quote where Harper calls Canada a glorified welfare state in the worst sense of the term and the one where he says that he is unsympathetic for the unemployed as they choose not to work.
The poll states that Rae is doing better than both the Conservatives and NDP, however, he is no match to Bank of Canada head Mark Carney and he is no match to American President, Barrack Obama. There has been speculation that Rae may run for permanent leadership but he has not specified. Should this scenario happen, it is uncertain how his approval ratings will evolve.