From the latest CPAC-Nanos poll on Canadian political leadership:
Question: As you may know, Stephane Dion is the leader of the federal Liberal Party, Stephen Harper is the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Jack Layton is the leader of the federal NDP, Gilles Duceppe is the leader of the Bloc Quebecois and Elizabeth May is the leader of the federal Green Party. Which of the federal leaders would you best describe as:
(The numbers in parenthesis denotes the change from the previous Nanos Research survey completed in February 2008 (90 day change).)
The most trustworthy leader
Stephen Harper 31 (+1)
Stephane Dion 14 (NC)
Jack Layton 14 (-7)
Elizabeth May 5 (-3)
Gilles Duceppe 4 (-2)
None of them/Undecided 32 (+12)
The most competent leader
Stephen Harper 39 (NC)
Stephane Dion 12 (-4)
Jack Layton 11 (-4)
Gilles Duceppe 5 (-1)
Elizabeth May 1 (-2)
None of them/Undecided 32 (+10)
The leader with the best vision for Canada's future
Stephen Harper 31 (-1)
Stephane Dion 14 (-3)
Jack Layton 14 (-4)
Elizabeth May 4 (-2)
Gilles Duceppe 3 (NC)
None of them/Undecided 35 (+11)
This illustrates why I hate polls. Three completely different questions have been asked about the leaders, and yet, the answers essentially breakdown the same way for each! On the question of trustworthiness, did the person answering the question really think about their answer? What is trustworthiness? Trust in what? That they tell the truth? Recent polls on the Cadman affair and In-N-Out scandal have shown that a majority of Canadians don't believe Harper's version of events. But he's the most trustworthy. On competence, the Prime Minister, regardless of party, usually scores highest. We've never seen Layton or Dion or Duceppe in a position to run the country. Gilles Duceppe should obviously score low for his vision of Canada's future. But Elizabeth May only has 1 point higher? Do the people being polled even know what her vision is? I'd say it is just as clear to the public's as is Harper's vision (or lack thereof). What is most striking is that there is little to no variation in the answers, regardless of the question. Aside from Dion's score, the numbers appear to track national party standings.
It would seem that all this poll is asking is which leader Canadians like most. It doesn't matter what the question is, its just a popularity contest. Stupid politically unsophisticated media-illiterate Canadians apparently aren't capable of separating their dislike of a candidate from performing an objective appraisal of each leader's qualities.
And yet, these polls come out, time and time again, their value dubious at most, except as fodder for lazy journalists to do hit-and-run jobs on various politicians.
Idiot polling, idiot answers. It is any wonder that Canadian politics now tends towards pandering to the lowest common denominator in a policy-free race to the bottom?