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Canadian premiers' popularity dips as COVID-19 cases, variants rise

FILE -- Premier John Horgan looks on as Dr. Penny Ballem speaks about phase two in B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Summary

The popularity of some Canadian premiers is declining as cases of COVID-19 rise across the country

Premier John Horgan's popularity has dropped to 55 per cent

Some Canadians think COVID-19 restrictions aren't strict enough while others think they are too strict

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As daily COVID-19 case counts continue to rise across the country, Canadians re-enter various stages of restrictions, and vaccination efforts seemingly chug forward, the popularity of some premiers is not fairing so well, according to the latest polling data.

B.C. Premier John Horgan has seen his performance rating drop from 88 to 55 per cent, according to the Angus Reid Institute’s poll. Support for Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has also slipped to 66 per cent, down from her initial 89 per cent last April.

Meanwhile half in Saskatchewan, 56 per cent of Manitoba, 65 per cent of Ontario, and 75 per cent of Albertans surveyed say their premier is doing a poor job handling the pandemic. However, the reasons for the poor ratings vary drastically across the country.

In Ontario, 61 per cent of people think the province took too long to lock down again as variants took hold, while Albertans are nearly split 45 per cent to 42 per cent on whether restrictions have gone too far or not far enough respectively. The poll was conducted just before Ontario instituted its stay-at-home order on Thursday.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s handling of the pandemic also took another hit from all voters, dipping to 43 per cent in April compared to 50 per cent the month before, and down from 62 per cent a year ago.

Overall, 48 per cent of Canadians say tighter restrictions are needed to stem rising infections, while 28 per cent disagree. Just shy of one-quarter think their community has found the right balance.

As variants of concern continue to spread, the number of people who worry about catching the virus is on the rise. Two thirds of us are now worried, compared to 62 per cent in March. Concern for family and friends is also nearing all-time highs at 81 per cent.

All that worry is also impacting mental health, with 34 per cent Canadians saying their mental health is poor or terrible, but we remain generally optimistic about our lives.