Circling the drain
So, about that Angus Reid poll... (PDF link)
First of all, sad to say, Kathy Dunderdale is not tied with Christy Clark of BC at the bottom of the Premier rankings. While they are both at an anemic 25% approval rating, Dunderdale's disapproval rating (73%) is worse than Clark's (67%). Dunderdale's net disapproval rating stands at -48%, compared to Clark's -42%. Neither is a good place to be in.
To put Dunderdale's net disapproval rating into perspective, here are the other bottom-rankers in these Angus Reid numbers, since first publicly reported in 2009.
In November 2009, just a year after his PC party won a resounding majority re-election, Alberta's Ed Stelmach hit -47%. Faced with slumping polls, a lukewarm leadership review, and a restive caucus, he announced his resignation 13 months later.
In February 2010, New Brunswick's Shawn Graham bottomed out at a net disapproval of -47%. In September, he would lead his party to a loss of 19 seats, and a fall from power after only one term in office.
British Columbia's Gordon Campbell hit a net disapproval of -57% in the November 2010 polling. Not at all coincidentally, that was the same month in which he announced his resignation.
In February 2011, Quebec's Jean Charest scored a net disapproval of -54% (narrowly edging out BC's Christy Clark, at -53%). Charest would continue to be at the bottom of the Angus Reid Premier's pack for another four polls, up to and including that of March 2012. He actually improved – if that is the word – to net-disapproval ratings in the -30% to -40% range before losing the September 2012 election, and his own seat, to the Parti québécois minority government.
In December 2012, Ontario's Dalton McGuinty hit a net disapproval rating of -44%. This was both a year after an election that reduced his government to a minority, and after he had already announced his impending resignation.
Of all the Angus Reid's poll-trailing Premiers, only Darrell Dexter of Nova Scotia, who had net-disapprovals in the -40% range in two Angus Reid polls last year, is still available for kicking around. This would appear to be due largely to the fact that Nova Scotia hasn't had an election yet.
Since 2009, only three Premiers – Charest, Campbell, and Clark – have had net-disapprovals worse than Dunderdales's. Only Clark is still around, and for the same reason that Dexter is.
So, how bad are things for Kathy Dunderdale and the NL Tories?
Very bad. That's how bad.