An exclusive Nanos Research-Sun Media poll reveals a scant 21.6% of Canadians think Dion has done a good or very good job of communicating his vision for Canada.
Another 32.3% rate his performance as average and 31.6% say he's done a poor or very poor job.
A full year after Dion won a hotly contested leadership race and pledged to mend old rifts, only 19.3% of Canadians praise him for doing a good job uniting the Liberal Party. Another 30.2% see his bridge-building skills as average, while a whopping 33.2% say he's fouled up bringing peace to the political family.
"The perception of how he's doing is anywhere from ambivalent to negative," pollster Nik Nanos said. "They've formed an opinion on how he's doing as leader, and the opinion is that he's not doing a good job."
The poll also reveals most Canadians think Dion has done a ho-hum job, at best, of keeping the Conservative government's feet to the fire. While 25.6% bill his Opposition leader tactics as good or very good, another 32.3% see him as average and 25.3% rate him as poor or very poor.
Assessments of Dion's leadership skills are most polarized in Quebec, where the Liberal leader is most well known by the electorate.
Nanos confirms everything about Dion, that is already widely held. Dion had a tough, to abysmal, first-year at the helm, generally failing to resonate with Canadians in any substantive way. That said, the problems well defined, while the Nanos storyline is entirely relevant, it may not be the death knell that first blush illustrates.
I'm going to be uncharacteristically optimistic here, as it relates to Dion's predicament. The signs are spotty, but I have noticed a slight revision occuring with the media's narrative of Dion. Passing the first year mark at the helm is symbolic in one sense, but it is also representative of making it past the historic tough spot for a new leader. There does seems some recognition of this reality in recent editorials and media commentary, which translates into an opening for Dion to push forward and leave some baggage behind. Much will depend on Dion himself, but I don't think there is any question that he has opportunity for new presentation.
Beating up on Dion, in unrelenting fashion, could potentially wane (Chantal Hebert aside), if there is a sense of progress, the optics of one finding his footing. The braintrust must turn "nice" into "sincere", "awkward" into "apolitical". The above poll is more confirmation, but it doesn't represent a permanent condition, with Quebec as a possible exception.