An EKOS poll has Conservatives still picking Harper over the others. Either members haven't moved on or they are setting a bar for the other candidates to live up to.
One would certainly hope that the next leader would be even better than Harper, let alone Prime Minister Trudeau.
In the poll, what bothers me is the other potential candidates that are missing, particularly Michael Chong and Michelle Rempel although over 1/3 of respondents didn't want to pick any of the given names.
28% Stephen Harper
23% Peter MacKay
17% Kevin O’Leary
5% Lisa Raitt
5% Don't Know/No Response
4% Maxime Bernier
2% Kellie Leitch
So even if that 17% Other was split among Chong and Rempel, they'd still be above Raitt, Bernier, and Leitch. With MacKay likely not entering this race, and O'Leary having a political ceiling, whomever this "Other" is, can take it.
In this sense, with one year to go, this EKOS poll is simply telling us that it's anyone's race, few see it's worth entering, it's wide open, and no one really cares right now.
I'll maintain that history dictates that whoever wins, won't be prime minister--which gives meaning to the leadership race following the next election. That's when you'll see candidates like Peter MacKay and Rona Ambrose entering, knowing they now have a legitimate chance at actually becoming prime minister. For Rona, she will be able to stand on her well-remembered time as the current interim leader, and she full-well knows she's currently gaining experience, building knowledge, and creating a national campaign network and future war chest to run for Conservative leader in 2021.
The risk, however, is if the leader elected in May 2017 becomes well-liked and runs a smooth campaign in 2019 to not only build on 99 seats, but in the four years following, becomes a palatable official opposition leader in order to be accepted as a credible prime minister, especially in a minority government. If that leader loses the 2023 election, then you have to jump up to nine years from now for the next opportunity.
But one thing we do know in Canadian politics, to become prime minister, you need to have deep roots politically.
For Ambrose and MacKay, those roots go way back, even from now.
Monday, April 25, 2016