Brian Pallister's approval rating ranks last among Canadian premiers, survey suggests

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister's approval rating has taken a nose dive as the COVID-19 pandemic in the province has worsened, an Angus Reid Institute survey suggests.

Just 32% of survey respondents approved of the job Manitoba premier is doing

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has the lowest approval rating of any Canadian provincial leader, according to a new poll from the Angus Reid Institute. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister's approval rating has taken a nose dive as the COVID-19 pandemic in the province has worsened, an Angus Reid Institute survey suggests.

The Progressive Conservative leader ranks last among Canadian provincial leaders, the new survey suggests.

"Just 32 per cent of residents approve of the Progressive Conservative leader, representing a 12-point drop from last quarter," the report says.

The survey was done online and asked nearly 500 Manitobans whether they approve or disapprove of the premier. Sixty-four per cent said they disapprove of Pallister, while four per cent said they didn't know.

Pallister and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney are the only provincial leaders with a net negative approval rating. (Supplied by Angus Reid Institute)

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is the only other provincial leader to have a net negative approval rating, at 42 per cent. All other premiers enjoy the approval of a majority of survey respondents in their province.

"Manitoba health officials, alongside Alberta, are dealing with the fastest spread of the virus in the country over the past two weeks on a per capita basis," the report says.

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Quebec Premier Francois Legault had the highest approval rating at 64 per cent each, the survey suggests.

The survey was done online between Nov. 24 and 30, using a representative randomized sample of 5,003 adult Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. 

There were 499 Manitobans surveyed. For comparison purposes only, a true probability sample of that size would have a margin of error of plus or minus four per cent.

Pallister was asked to respond to the new poll numbers at a news conference Tuesday morning.

"It tells me that people don't like COVID and neither do I, and we'll stay focused on fighting COVID," he said.

Manitoba has imposed some of the strictest COVID-19 measures in the country, limiting social interactions to household members only with few exceptions and prohibiting the sale of non-essential items. 

Later in the news conference, Pallister pointed out that a Leger and Canadian Press poll released in mid-November gave him a slightly higher approval rating, at 40 per cent.

"I prefer the Leger poll," Pallister said.

That poll, which was conducted online from Nov. 13 to 15, had a smaller sample size of 126 Manitobans. 

Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew said he is not surprised by the Angus Reid poll. 

"I think everyone in Manitoba knows that Mr. Pallister and his cabinet did not prepare for the second [COVID-19] wave, and so people are upset by that," Kinew said.

"The poll numbers that we saw this morning matches what we're hearing each and every day from the average Manitoban. They want a better health-care system and they want a better response to the pandemic."

recent Probe Research poll with a larger sample of 800 Manitobans found public approval of the Pallister government's health measures during the pandemic plummeting from 77 per cent in June to 46 per cent in early November.


Cameron MacLean is a journalist for CBC Manitoba living in Winnipeg, where he was born and raised. He has more than a decade of experience reporting in the city and across Manitoba, covering a wide range of topics, including courts, politics, housing, arts, health and breaking news. Email story tips to

With files from Éric Grenier