There have been some shifts in the approval ratings of the party leaders over the past three months. The proportion of Canadians approving of the job being done by Stephen Harper has fallen below the 50-percent mark for the first time since he became prime minister and now stands at 48 percent (down 6 points from March). Approval of Stéphane Dion has declined once again to 38 percent (down 2 points) and the proportion expressing disapproval of him has risen to 48 percent (up 5 points). Jack Layton has the highest approval rating of any of the party leaders at 56 percent (up 2 points), and a similar share of voters in Quebec approve of the job being done by Gilles Duceppe (53%, down 3 points). Approval of Elizabeth May has dropped three points to 42 percent.
We have two concurrent themes. Although Harper is lagging, Dion doesn't seem to capitalize, in fact he keeps failing further, from an already concerning level. A 48% disapproval number is objectively horrible, particularly because it came during a period when the Conservatives were in full fumble mode.
What I find staggering, Dion actually finds a new bottom in Quebec. On the question of who would make the best PM, Dion scored a dismal 12% in March, for his home province. In the latest poll, Dion is down to 10%, almost half the total for the seatless Layton and the NDP. Nationally, Layton is up 3% and is now the clear second choice amongst voters.
Overall, the poll has the Cons at 37%, Liberals 28%, NDP 17%, Greens 11%. Given the other polls, I think the Conservatives numbers are a touch high, although it is noteworthy that they remain virtually the same as the March poll, which was a supposed highwater mark. The only reason I can conclude that we haven't seen more Conservative erosion, is the real apprehension about Dion and the Liberals preventing a noticeable shift.
Pouring through the internals, the NDP seems the only party that can claim any momentum. Is it policy or lack of alternatives? I'm inclined to think a little of each, clear policy, coupled with relative weakness in others.