Leader of the Opposition Andrew Scheer rises to announce he will step down as leader of the Conservatives, Thursday December 12, 2019 in the House of Commons in Ottawa. In 2019, federal Conservatives sought to sway voters in their direction with the slogan “time for you to get ahead.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

New poll suggests Tories know what they want in a new leader but not whom to pick

Eighty-two per cent want a focus on maintaining balanced budgets

A new poll finds Conservative voters are far more sure about what they want in a new leader for their party than they are about who should fill that job.

A Leger Marketing survey suggests 29 per cent of decided Conservative voters either don’t have an answer or don’t want to give one when asked who they’d like to see at the top of the party.

Leading their wish lists with 18 per cent support each were former leaders Stephen Harper and Rona Ambrose. Harper isn’t running and Ambrose remains undecided.

Those two also led the pack among all the Canadians Leger surveyed, of all partisan loyalties, and in third was former cabinet minister Peter MacKay.

When asked what characteristics their new leader should have, the poll suggests that in some areas Conservatives are pretty clear.

Eighty-two per cent want a focus on maintaining balanced budgets, 71 per cent are looking for someone with prior political experience and 63 per cent want their leader to aim to reduce immigration to Canada.

Leger polled 1,554 Canadian voters between Jan. 3 and 7, as contenders continued to declare themselves as interested in the top job.

The survey can’t be assigned a margin of error because polls from Internet panels are not random samples.

After MacKay, who is still considering a bid, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney received six per cent support among Conservative supporters. But he’s not running.

Among those who have indicated an interest in the Conservative leadership: former Quebec premier Jean Charest has four per cent support, as does finance critic Pierre Poilievre. Innovation critic Michelle Rempel Garner is at three per cent.

The statistical leaders suggest who is stamped with the Conservative brand and who isn’t, said Leger Marketing vice-president Christian Bourque.

“Stephen Harper — Canadians know who he is, he has a brand, which is something that maybe Rona has to some extent, and Peter MacKay because of his length of tenure in Ottawa and everything else,” he said.

“Mr. Charest has it locally in Quebec, Jason Kenney has to some extent out west and the other candidates don’t have it.”

Rempel Garner and Ambrose were the only women whose names were included in the survey. With both undecided about running, there is much debate within Conservative circles about whether there will be a female candidate at all.

That the next leader ought to be a woman only matters to five per cent of decided Conservative voters surveyed, with 17 per cent saying it should be a man and 77 per cent saying the leader’s sex doesn’t matter to them.

Among Canadians overall, 11 per cent said they’d like the next Conservative leader to be a woman, 9 per cent said a man and 76 per cent said it didn’t matter.

A key challenge for the Conservatives in the next election, which the new leader will have to meet, will be expanding their support beyond those already committed to voting for them.

Leger’s poll suggests that if the election had been held on the day voters were polled — even with the party leadership in flux — the Tories would have had the support of 31 per cent of decided voters. That’s about what the party considers its baseline.

Looking at the qualities Canadians overall are looking for, some things leap out, Bourque said.

Sixty per cent of those surveyed want a focus on balanced budgets. Sixty per cent also want a pro-choice leader and 53 per cent want a leader in favour of same-sex marriage.

“People are saying you can be fiscally conservative, I’m willing to listen and I’d like to balance the books as well,” he said.

“But if you want to be a social conservative, I’m not sure you have a chance.”

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Horgan’s election call ‘nakedly opportunistic,’ political scientist says

Premier says campaign will ‘fully comply’ with public health directions

Canada West Golf Championships cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

UBC, UBC-O, UFV and UVic athletes will not hit the links this year, Kelowna was set to host

Dozens of Canadian venues to light up red in support of entertainment workers

Local facilities among dozens across Canada to participate in Light Up Live

PHOTOS: Inside Surrey’s new in-rink private school, which isn’t all about hockey

Glarea Elevated Learning school has opened at Excellent Ice

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 20

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Most Read