Days after Jagmeet Singh’s decisive first-ballot victory in the contest for NDP leadership, seven-in-10 Canadians are saying they themselves would consider voting for a national party leader who wears a turban and carries a kirpan, while the same number are hailing his historic win as good for the country.
But according to the latest public opinion survey from the Angus Reid Institute, when asked about their own friends and family, half of Canadians say “some” or “most” could not vote for a politician who fits Singh’s demographic profile.
The greatest reservations are found in Quebec, a province where opposition to visible, non-Christian religious garb and clothing is well-documented, and where support for the proposed Bill 62 – legislation that would prohibit the administering and receiving of public services for those who cover their face – cuts across political divides. In that province, nearly half say voting for a politician who looks – and prays – as Singh does, is a non-starter.
Notwithstanding the significant challenge Singh and the NDP will face in trying to re-conquer ground won in Quebec during the 2011 “Orange Wave” and lost to the Liberals four years later, the results of this survey also give reason for the party of Justin Trudeau to be concerned. Two-thirds of those who backed the Liberals in 2015 say they’d be prepared to give the NDP a look in the next federal election.
More Key Findings:
- Despite Singh’s dominance of media coverage related to the NDP leadership race – including video from one of his rallies that was viewed more than 35 million times – just one-in-ten Canadians (9%) claim to be “very” or “fairly” familiar with him. Seven-in-ten (69%) say they’ve either never heard of him, or have heard his name, but know nothing else about him
- Notwithstanding Singh’s leadership, two-in-five (43%) across the country say the NDP has a “real vision” for the future; and about the same number (40%) say the party can be trusted to “competently manage” government
- Canadians appear quite comfortable with the NDP filling a role as the party of national conscience. Two-thirds (65%) agree that it should “remain committed to its principles, even if that means not getting elected”. This agreement cuts across political lines
Link to the poll here: www.angusreid.org/new-ndp-leader-jagmeet-singh