Election costs party leaders in public regard
As the 2008 federal election progresses, each party leader is hoping to make a positive impression on Canadians and improve their party's standings in the House of Commons.
Almost inevitably, some parties will accomplish the latter. But a poll released yesterday reveals that none have yet accomplished the latter. In fact, Canada's political leaders have done the precise opposite.
Stephen Harper's sweater vest and lack-lustre campaign ads couldn't save him from being the leader losing the most -- 36% of polled Canadians hold him in lesser regard, likely due to an unprincipled election call and a pair of serious campaign gaffes on the part of his Conservative Party.
Liberal leader Stephane Dion suffered as well. 32% of Canadians hold him in lower regard following a week in which he claimed he wanted an open debate about his Green Shift plan, but instead settled for calling his Conservative opponents liars.
Jack Layton tried to emulate Barack Obama, but 15% of Canadians found him to be considerably less appealing than that.
23% of polled Canadians found Gilles Duceppe less appealing. Picking at the religious beliefs of a Conservative candidate probably didn't help him much, but then again the only numbers that are really applicable to Duceppe are the ones collected in Quebec.
Hopefully, Canada's political leaders will avert the course they've been following and give Canadians a little less reason to feel cynical and discouraged about our politics.