Canadians are optimistic that Stephane Dion will turn out to be a good Liberal leader and potentially an excellent prime minister, a new poll suggests.
The Decima Research poll, made available exclusively to The Canadian Press, suggests that Dion is still an unknown quantity to many Canadians. Nevertheless, 43 per cent said he has "the potential to be an excellent prime minister of Canada one day."
And almost one-third - including roughly one-third of NDP, Bloc Quebecois and Green party supporters - would like to see Dion win the next election.
"Voters are mostly showing an open mind towards Mr. Dion, with more optimism than cynicism about how he will turn out," said Decima CEO Bruce Anderson.
One of my biggest hesitations with Dion was his perceived baggage. The last thing you want is a new leader who brings initially high negatives. These kind of poll results put my mind at ease because they show Dion essentially has a blank slate with voters. Especially heartening:
Negative perceptions of Dion were somewhat more likely among respondents in his home province of Quebec than in Ontario, the other key electoral battleground.
Still, 43 per cent of Quebecers (49 per cent of Ontarians) thought he has the potential to be a great prime minister and 31 per cent (32 per cent in Ontario) would like to see him win the next election.
Conclusion, Dion is largely free of the past government's stench. Whether Dion succeeds or fails, he ultimately controls his own destiny with voters. All you can ask is that people listen with an open mind, and it would appear Dion is afforded this opportunity. Baggage doesn't appear to be an issue.