"Trust -- or the lack of it --" Tasha Kheiridden writes, "can make or break a political career." She then goes on to list three politicians who lost the public's trust and retired quickly -- the mayors of Montreal and Laval and Dalton McGuinty.
Which brings us to Stephen Harper. The 2012 Americas Barometer poll is not good news for the prime minster:
The survey of 40,971 people in 26 countries measures people’s trust in their politicians and institutions. It reveals that only 16 per cent of the 1,500 Canadians polled place “a lot of trust” in Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Keith Neuman of Environics, which did the Canadian portion of the survey, was quoted by the Globe and Mail on November 12 as saying, “In an international context, Harper has a lower level of trust than almost every other national leader in the hemisphere.” Worse yet, he added that, “Canada hasn’t made any progress [on a number of key rankings] in recent years, and it has lost a bit of ground on others in the last few years. The gap with other countries is smaller than it was before.”
One wonders if the news bothers Harper. He appears to only care about one poll -- the next election. And the chances are that he will make it to the next election. But the poll brings into question how well Harper's program and record will sell.
For there is also the problem of what has happened to the political culture since Harper's arrival. Kheriidden writes:
Attack ads have become the norm, and the Conservatives have become very good at them. The Tories have also become embroiled in two scandals involving questionable and/or illegal campaign practices: the In and Out Scandal, which saw the party pay over $230,000 in fines for violating spending laws, and the Robocall voter suppression scandal, which continues to be investigated by the RCMP and Elections Canada.
Most politicians eventually do themselves in. Perhaps the Americas Barometer poll is a signal that Harper is on on the way out.