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Poll says Canadians think MacKay would be better leader than Scheer

According to a poll conducted by Abacus Data, 60 per cent of Canadians said they would prefer Peter MacKay, left, as the Conservative leader over Andrew Scheer. - File/Reuters/Herald composite
According to a poll conducted by Abacus Data, 60 per cent of Canadians said they would prefer Peter MacKay, left, as the Conservative leader over Andrew Scheer. - File/Reuters/Herald composite - 123RF Stock Photo

Peter MacKay is still one of Canadians’ top choices to lead the Conservative party, despite saying he’s not seeking the job.

In its latest poll, Abacus Data asked Canadians who they would prefer to see as leader of the Conservatives. Given nine choices, Canadians picked seven ahead of Andrew Scheer.

Nationally, 60 cent said they would prefer MacKay over Scheer, and five of the nine choices were eight points or more ahead of the current leader including two of Brian Mulroney’s children, former prime minister Stephen Harper and Manitoba and Saskatchewan premiers Brian Pallister and Brad Wall.

Among Conservatives, who will be the ones actually making the decision, the results were much different. The majority of Tories preferred Scheer to the other options by a wide margin, and only 32 per cent said they preferred MacKay to the current leader. There was one exception. Fifty-five per cent said they preferred Harper to Scheer.

The result of the October election has put Scheer’s capabilities as leader into national discussion, notably the way he handled questions on controversial social issues during the campaign.

MacKay, a former Tory cabinet minister and longtime Nova Scotia MP, said during a panel discussion last month that Scheer gave away votes by failing to clarify his stance on same-sex marriage and abortion. Those issues “hung around Andrew Scheer’s neck like a stinking albatross," he said, and called the party’s loss “like having a breakaway on an open net and missing the net.”

His comments came amid media reports that MacKay’s supporters are organizing for a possible leadership bid, which he has since denied.

Speculation about a MacKay leadership bid has been in the air since he announced prior to the 2015 election that he would be stepping away from politics to focus on his young family, and MacKay has consistently topped similar polls as a national favourite to lead the party.

Scheer will stay on as leader until at least April when he is up for a leadership review at a party convention. MacKay recently told CTV that he continues to support Scheer and would vote in favour of his continued leadership.
 

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