SURVEY: Jean Charest Has Worst Net Favourability Rating Of All CPC Leadership Contenders Among Conservative Supporters

The more the policies of the establishment fail, the more Canadians flock to Pierre Poilievre’s rallies. Meanwhile, Charest offers negativity, divisive attack politics, and the same failed establishment policies such as the carbon tax.

It’s been a tough few weeks for Jean Charest in the CPC leadership race.

Charest – who is deeply unpopular among many in the party due to his work for the Chinese-Communist Party controlled company and his advocacy of carbon taxes – has chosen to embrace ‘attack politics’, rather than unite people with a pro-freedom vision like Poilievre and some of the other CPC candidates.

The result?

Charest now has the WORST net favourability rating of all the CPC leadership contenders among Conservative supporters.

According to a new Ipsos poll, 27% of Conservative supporters view Charest favourably, compared to 40% who view him unfavourably.

By contrast, 50% of Conservative supporters view Pierre Poilievre favourably, while just 20% view him unfavourably.

This gives Poilievre a net +30 rating, compared to Charest who has a net -13 rating.

That’s a full 44 point gap.

As polled by Ipsos, here is the full accounting of how Conservative supporters view the various leadership candidates:

Candidate % Favourable % Unfavourable % Don’t know enough about them
Scott Aitchison 10% 14% 73%
Roman Baber 12% 17% 70%
Patrick Brown 20% 25% 55%
Jean Charest 27% 40% 33%
Pierre Poilievre 50% 20% 30%
Leslyn Lewis 22% 20% 59%
Leona Alleslev 14% 18% 68%
Marc Dalton 10% 19% 71%
Joseph Bourgault 9% 20% 71%
Bobby Singh 11% 21% 69%
Joel Etienne 9% 21% 70%

Ipsos also notes that Charest “is seen more positively by Liberal voters (40% positive; 30% negative) than he is by Conservative voters (27% positive; 40% negative), suggesting that a Jean Charest leadership might attract red Tories or swing voters onto the blue team. However, it could also result in a fracturing of the party on the right, given that four in ten (40%) Conservative voters have an unfavourable view of Charest.”

Where is the upside?

The Charest campaign is attempting to make the following case:

“Yes, Charest may be less popular among Conservatives, but the upside is that he has broad appeal outside the party and will win new voters to the Conservative banner.”

The problem is, there is little evidence this is actually the case.

In addition to specifically noting the opinions of Conservative supporters, Ipsos also asked Canadians at large for their opinion of the CPC leadership candidates.

Among that sample, Charest had the highest unfavourable rating.

Partly, that was due to the fact that he and Poilievre were the only two candidates that more than half the population has even formed an opinion on.

Yet, look at the overall numbers:

27% of Canadians said they had a favourable opinion of Charest, compared to 34% who had an unfavourable opinion.

27% of Canadians said they had a favourable opinion of Poilievre, compared to 31% who had an unfavourable opinion.

Other polls have been even worse for Charest, with a Leger poll finding the CPC would lose to the Liberals by a whopping 9 points if Charest was the party leader.

What that demonstrates is that Charest has a significant downside in terms of splitting the party, but there doesn’t seem to be an upside.

Even with the establishment media pushing his candidacy big time, his net approval rating among Canadians is worse than Poilievre’s.

This means that the fundamental argument of the Charest campaign in favour of their candidate is based on a fallacy.

Charest doesn’t have any kind of special ‘nationwide’ appeal.

What he does have is an image that is unpopular among many Conservatives and would dramatically increase the risk of the CPC breaking apart.

Liberals would have easy attacks against Charest in a general election

Much of the establishment media discourse around Jean Charest is that he would be tough for the Liberals to attack in a general election.

Alongside that claim is the idea that the Liberals are supposedly salivating about attacking Poilievre if he becomes CPC leader.

But let’s consider this in more detail.

To start with, we’ve seen that Charest is not popular either among the CPC base nor does he have high approval ratings among the public at large.

Additionally, Charest’s weak points blunt many of the biggest issues people have with the Liberals.

For example, Trudeau and the Liberals have tried to shift away from their pro-CCP positioning due to the immense unpopularity of the Chinese Communist government among Canadians. Charest would be even more open to criticism along those lines, as his connections to Huawei would further damage his public perception.

If you’re thinking the Liberals wouldn’t attack Charest on Huawei because it would be hypocritical, we should all know by now that that won’t stop them. They will gladly attack Charest as being too close to the Chinese Communist Party if they think it will win them votes.

Such attacks will not only outrage the general public, but the attacks would also remind many Conservatives why they don’t support Charest in the first place.

Also, with the cost-of-living surging, how would the CPC be able to criticize the Liberals on this if Charest was in charge?

Both parties would be pro-carbon tax, thus causing the same kind of issues that depressed CPC turnout when the party was led by Erin O’Toole.

Charest was also perceived as being heavy-handed in his approach to student protesters in Quebec, which the Liberals and NDP would no doubt exploit to mobilize progressives against a Charest-led CPC.

All the while, Charest would be under attack from large elements of the CPC base who would never go along with him leading the party.

But what about Poilievre?

A logical look at things reveals that he would actually be more difficult for the Liberals to attack.

First of all, the Liberals already launched many attacks against him and the CPC during the Freedom Convoy.

As a result of that, the CPC surged in the polls as a critical mass of Canadians were finally fed up with the draconian fear-mongering and abuse of power imposed by the Liberal government.

Furthermore, the Liberal/NDP pact has locked the Liberals in to a big-government, big-spending, statist approach, the same approach that has done so much to stoke higher and higher inflation.

If Canadians are fed up with the failed policies of the establishment parties, Jean Charest would offer them more of the same establishment they want to reject, while Pierre Poilievre has been talking about real contrasting policies for many years now.

Fear of real competition

The real reason that the establishment is so desperate to boost Charest and demonize Poilievre is that they are terrified of real ideological competition.

They know their policies have led to economic stagnation and surging inflation. They know the dream of a prosperous life feels more and more out of reach for many Canadians.

But, they also know that if Jean Charest becomes CPC leader the same policies will remain in place regardless of who wins the general election. That would thus deprive Canadians of the chance to see a truly different set of ideas put into practice, which would enable the establishment to avoid accountability.

If Poilievre were to become CPC leader, win the general election, and then put in place policies that were fiscally-responsible and shifted power away from the government and into the hands of individual Canadians, we would see many Canadian improve their standard of living.

Then, the establishment would be discredited, and their policy approach would be revealed as an abject failure.

This is what they are so intent on preventing.

For that reason, there is much at stake in the CPC leadership contest.

Will Canadians be offered a real choice and a real debate of ideas, or will we be stuck with more of the same?

Spencer Fernando

Photo – YouTube


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