Who is the typical supporter of Stephen Harper? What is the profile of a Thomas Mulcair fan? A new poll provides some clues.
The latest survey by Forum Research for the National Post shows a tie in voting intentions between the governing Conservatives and the opposition New Democrats. With few exceptions, the results are generally in line with what Canadians have been telling pollsters for months.
According to the poll, Harper has an approval rating of 36 per cent and a disapproval rating of 57 per cent. This net negative score is in contrast to Mulcair’s numbers. He has an approval rating of 41 per cent, with 31 per cent of Canadians disapproving of how he is doing as leader of the Official Opposition.
But an analysis of the demographic breakdown of these ratings tells us a little about who the typical Harper and Mulcair booster is — as well as who is most likely to oppose them.
Based on the best net ratings, the typical supporter of Harper is a male Albertan aged 65 or older. He makes less than $20,000 per year and votes Conservative.
His is not a consensus opinion, however: most men and people who make less than $20,000 per year disapprove of the prime minister's performance.
The typical Canadian who is most likely to oppose Harper is a woman between the ages of 18 and 34. She lives in Atlantic Canada, makes between $80,000 and $100,000 per year and votes for the NDP. Whether a lot of young Atlantic Canadians are actually in that income bracket is another question entirely, but Harper’s numbers are worst among younger and richer Canadians. How much those groups overlap is unknown.
The profile of a supporter of Mulcair is, unsurprisingly, similar to the typical opponent of the prime minister: an 18 to 34-year-old female from Quebec who makes between $80,000 and $100,000 per year. The person least likely to approve of the NDP leader is a 55 to 64 year old male from Alberta who makes $20,000 to $40,000 per year and votes Conservative.
What of the Liberals and their interim leader Bob Rae? The profile of the typical Rae booster is a male aged 65 years or older who lives in Atlantic Canada and makes $60,000 to $100,000 per year. Rae’s typical opponent is a 45 to 54 year old woman from Alberta who makes less than $20,000 per year. How that will change after the Liberal leadership convention will be something to watch.
These profiles are an amalgamation of demographic groups that may or may not overlap, but they are nevertheless what you might expect. It comes as no surprise that older men from Alberta tend to vote Conservative while younger women from Quebec support the NDP. It is the swing voter that both Harper and Mulcair are after: the suburbanites who could decide the outcome of the next election.
Éric Grenier taps The Pulse of federal and regional politics for Huffington Post Canada readers on most Tuesdays and Fridays. Grenier is the author of ThreeHundredEight.com, covering Canadian politics, polls and electoral projections.
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A <a href="http://abacusdata.ca/2012/08/17/federal-politics-job-approval-leader-favourability-and-party-growth-potential/" target="_hplink">new poll from Abacus Data</a> reveals how Canadians feel about the three main party leaders in Ottawa.
3. Liberal Leader Bob Rae
24 Per Cent Favourable 36 Per Cent Unfavourable 12 Per Cent Net Unfavourable
2. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper
36 Per Cent Favourable 47 Per Cent Unfavourable 11 Per Cent Net Unfavourable
1. NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair
31 Per Cent Favourable 27 Per Cent Unfavourable 4 Per Cent Net Favourable
Little-Known Mulcair Facts
Here are some facts you may not have known about NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. (CP)
10. He Used To Be A Liberal
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mulcair" target="_hplink">Mulcair was Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks</a> in Jean Charest's Liberal government in Quebec. He served in the role from 2003-2006. (CP)
8. He's French (Kind Of)
Mulcair married Catherine Pinhas in 1976. She was born in France to a Turkish family of Sephardic Jewish descent. <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1158289--thomas-mulcair-s-wife-catherine-a-psychologist-and-political-confidante?bn=1" target="_hplink">Mulcair has French citizenship through his marriage</a>, as do the couple's two sons. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
7. They Used To Be Friends
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mulcair" target="_hplink">Mulcair left Charest's Liberal government in Quebec </a>after he was offered the position of Minister of Government Services in 2006, an apparent demotion from Minister of the Environment. Mulcair has said his ouster was related to his opposition to a government plan to transfer land in the Mont Orford provincial park to condo developers. (CP)
6. Ancestor Was Premier Of Quebec
Mulcair's great-great-grandfather on his mother's side was <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor%C3%A9_Mercier" target="_hplink">Honoré Mercier, the ninth premier of Quebec</a>. (Public Domain/Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec)
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mulcair" target="_hplink">Mulcair was the first New Democrat to win a riding in Quebec during a federal election</a>. He held the riding of Outremont during the 2008 election after first winning the seat in a 2007 by-election. Phil Edmonston was the first New Democrat to win a seat in Quebec, but his win came in a 1990 by-election. Robert Toupin was the very first to bring a Quebec seat to the NDP, but he did it in 1986 by crossing the floor. (Alamy)
4. He's Half Irish.
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mulcair" target="_hplink">Mulcair's father Harry Donnelly Mulcair was Irish-Canadian</a> and his mother Jeanne French-Canadian. His father spoke to him in English and his mother in French -- explaining his fluency in both official languages. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
3. He Votes In France
Muclair has voted in past French elections, but says that now that he is leader of the Official Opposition <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1157191" target="_hplink">he will not take part in the upcoming French presidential vote</a>. (Thinkstock)
2. Young Love At First Sight
<a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1158289--thomas-mulcair-s-wife-catherine-a-psychologist-and-political-confidante?bn=1" target="_hplink">Mulcair met his future wife at a wedding when they were both teenagers</a>. Catherine was visiting from France. They married two years later when they were both 21. (CP)
1. Mr. Angry
<a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/03/16/thomas-mulcair-is-mr-angry/" target="_hplink">Mulcair was given the moniker in a Maclean's headline</a>, but the new leader of the NDP has long been known for his short fuse. In 2005, he was fined $95,000 for defamatory comments he made about former PQ minister Yves Duhaime on TV. The comments included French vulgarity and an accusation that alleged influence peddling would land Duhaime in prison.