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Canadians don't know much about Erin O'Toole but poll finds openness to him

Last Updated Sep 1, 2020 at 11:14 am PST

FILE - Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds his first news conference as leader on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Aug. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Summary

A new poll suggests most Canadians know little about new Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole

But his personal qualities and policy positions could eventually give his party a boost: survey

More than 75 of respondents also support voting by mail as an option during the pandemic

OTTAWA — A new poll suggests most Canadians know little about new Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, but his personal qualities and policy positions could eventually give his party a boost.

The survey by Leger found 52 per cent responded they don’t know O’Toole well enough to answer whether they have a favourable impression of him or not.

Almost 10 per cent said they have never heard him, while an almost equal number have favourable and unfavourable impressions of him.

Informed about various personal qualities — that O’Toole was born in Montreal, is bilingual and is a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces — a plurality of respondents said each attribute made them more likely to vote Conservative in the next election.

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A plurality also said they’d be more likely to vote Conservative when informed that O’Toole is personally pro-choice, supports same-sex marriage, advocates a harder line against China, supports building new pipelines and is opposed to a carbon tax.

The fact that O’Toole was supported by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney during the leadership contest was the only negative, with a plurality saying that makes them less likely to vote Conservative.

The online survey of 1,521 Canadians was conducted Aug. 28 to 30 by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies; it cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

More than 75 of respondents also support voting by mail as an option during the pandemic if an election is held in the fall. Only 15 per cent were opposed to voting by mail.

The Convervative Party — which could bring down the government in a confidence vote this month — trails the Liberals by six points nation-wide.

O’Toole — who took the helm of the Official Opposition one week ago — has said triggering a fall election is not his priority.