Stephen Harper has some trust issues, at least according to a new poll of political attitudes in 26 countries in the Americas.
The Americas Barometer poll from The Environics Institute has found that Canada's prime minister lags behind leaders in the U.S., Mexico, and Central and South America on the issue of trust.
You can see by exactly how much in the slideshow below. The numbers represent the percentage of respondents who said they had "a lot of trust" in their prime minister or president.
All data comes from The Americas Barometer poll from The Environics Institute.The survey was conducted in the spring of 2012 in 26 countries. The total sample size was 40,971 people, with samples in individual countries ranging from 1,412 in Haiti to 3,009 in Bolivia.
The heads of state (front row, L-R) Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Antigua and Barbuda's PM Baldwin Spencer, St. Lucia's Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, Suriname's President Desi Bouterse, Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque, St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, pose before the summit of the Caricom countries, in Paramaribo on March 9, 2012. Pinera was in the summit as a special guest.
Leaders, from left to right in the front row, Bolivia's President Evo Morales, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez, Uruguay's President Jose Mujica, and Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, wave along side, back row from left to right, Colombia's Foreign Minister Maria Holguin, Suriname's President Desi Bouterse, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, Peru's President Ollanta Humala, Venezuela's Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and Guyana's Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett as they pose for a group picture during a gathering by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in Mendoza, Argentina, Friday, June 29, 2012.
Outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderón.
U.S. President Barack Obama.
Honduran President Porfirio Lobo (L), Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla (C) and Guatemalan President Otto Perez (R) take part in the 39th Summit of Central American Integration System (SICA) in Tegucigalpa, on June 29, 2012. SICA, an economic, cultural and political bloc grouping countries in the region, coordinates efforts to combat drug trafficking and organized crime that is threatening to turn some countries into failed states.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Canada's trust in Parliament, at 17 per cent, was similar to the number for the PM. However, Canada does not badly trail other nations here, with the U.S. (6 per cent), South America (16 per cent) and Central America and the Caribbean (both 15 per cent) all giving their elected bodies less trust than in Canada. Only Mexico was higher, at 24 per cent.
Political parties fared worst of all in the survey, with only 6 per cent of Canadian respondents saying they have a lot of trust in the organizations. That number was 2 per cent in the U.S. and ranged from 9 to 12 per cent in the other regions.
These numbers don't mean Canadians are inherently distrustful though. The armed forces received a 53 per cent trust rating, lagging behind only the U.S. at 60 per cent. Trust for national police was 36 per cent and the Supreme Court 34 per cent.
Are the numbers something Harper should be worried about?
Not according to political writer and broadcaster Tasha Kheiriddin. In a column for iPolitics, Kheiriddin writes that the low trust numbers are likely the result of unfulfilled high expectations, the distasteful tactics necessary to govern while in minority and the general trend toward nastiness in our political culture.
Citing a recent Nanos poll, Kheiriddin argues that while Harper's numbers may be bad internationally on trust, he still stacks up well against NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal leadership front-runner Justin Trudeau.
Regardless of why we're having trust issues, it seems they aren't the precursor to political unrest. "There is no groundswell for an overhaul of the system," Environics Institute pollster Keith Neuman told The Globe And Mail.