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On CPC leadership, both non-Conservatives and party faithful say Rona Ambrose has the right stuff

Andrew Scheer’s resignation as Conservative leader earlier this month may have closed the book on what – compared to  expectations – was a disappointing chapter in the history of the CPC. A fresh narrative has yet to be written, but just what story will be told and who will tell it remains to be seen.

The latest study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute in the wake of Scheer’s announcement shows Canadians – whether core Conservative voters or those who might vote CPC – want to see the party move closer to the political centre.

For six-in-ten Canadians overall (60%), that means taking climate change more seriously, and taking a more progressive stance on social values (57%). In each case, four-in-ten Core Conservatives agree.

Overall, Canadians are divided evenly over who was ultimately to blame for the party failing to form government. Exactly 50 per cent say that Andrew Scheer is primarily to blame, while 50 per cent say it was the party and its policies – not the outgoing leader – that bears responsibility.

As to who should shepherd the party into the next federal election, two names emerge from a cluttered field. Both former interim leader Rona Ambrose and former cabinet minister Peter MacKay are at the top. That said, Ambrose appears to be the top preference among both core Conservatives and those who aren’t committed to the party. By contrast, MacKay is a less appealing choice among committed CPC voters.

More Key Findings:

  • Three-in-ten Canadians (30%) say that the Conservative Party reflects their region of the country. One-quarter of B.C. (27%) and Ontario (25%) residents, and fewer than one-in-five in Quebec (12%) and Atlantic Canada (16%) feel this way, while three-quarters in Alberta and Saskatchewan do
  • Half of Canadians feel that the country is on the wrong track (49%), while three-in-ten (30%) say Canada is on the right track
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has an approval rating of 36 per cent to begin his second term. This is up from a low point of 31 per cent in August.

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