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Kenney's popularity drops below 50% in latest Angus Reid poll

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's approval rating has dropped below 50 per cent in Angus Reid's latest poll, plunging seven percentage points since December.

As blockades and debates about energy infrastructure heat up, Alberta and B.C. premiers show biggest drops

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaking in Edmonton last week about the Teck mine decision. (Jason Franson/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's approval rating has dropped below 50 per cent in Angus Reid's latest poll, plunging seven percentage points since December. 

The recent decline continues a downward trend for Kenney, who took office with a big majority after the April 16 election. Last June, shortly after his caucus was sworn in, he had an approval rating of 61 per cent, according to an earlier Angus Reid poll.

The latest suggests his approval has dropped from 54 per cent to 47 per cent.

The poll, conducted online, asked 597 Albertans whether they approved of the premier. A sample of that size yields a margin of error of plus or minus four per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Downward trend

The Angus Reid results are just the latest that show support for the United Conservative Party and Kenney sliding since they took office. 

Last December, three polls were released, including one by Angus Reid that showed support for the party or its leader falling. 

It was part of Angus Reid's broader polling about the popularity of the premiers of each province to people in that province.

Kenney and B.C.'s Horgan saw biggest drops

The latest Angus Reid poll was conducted between Feb. 24 and 28, as blockades sprang up across the country in protest of a natural gas pipeline through Wet'suwet'en territory in northern British Columbia. 

The latest poll by Angus Reid shows Jason Kenney's popularity continues to fall. (Angus Reid)

Kenney and B.C.'s NDP premier, John Horgan, have both been central figures in the dispute and saw the biggest drops in popularity among the premiers, with Horgan sliding 10 percentage points. 

Budgets cuts and more

Blockades aren't the only controversies dogging Kenney, however. 

Since taking power, Kenney's UCP government has pursued an aggressive approach to bolster the province's oil and gas sector and balance the budget through cuts.

However, it has drawn fire over some of its more controversial moves including:

  • Cutting funding for post-secondary institutions while lifting the tuition cap.
  • Reducing funding to municipalities. 
  • Imposing unilateral changes to the way doctors bill the province.
  • Making clear it wants freezes or cuts to government employees' pay when collective agreements come up for negotiation this spring. 
  • Spending $30 million per year on a war room now called the Canadian Energy Centre.
  • Making its first bill of the new sitting one that targets those who disrupt critical infrastructure with severe penalties. 
  • Fully or partially closing 20 provincial parks and seeking "partnerships" for 164 more. 

Nationwide, the Angus Reid survey of premiers' popularity suggests only one — Nova Scotia's Stephen McNeil — saw an increase in popularity, while Saskatchewan's Scott Moe and New Brunswick's Blaine Higgs saw no change. 

According to the results, the least popular premier in Canada is Dwight Ball of Newfoundland and Labrador, who tendered his resignation last month. 

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