What Makes A Leader?

Sort of a cliché question, but one that I think is very relevant to current Canadian politics.  With three federal elections in less than six years, and the seemingly ever-present threat of a fourth, the Hill has been in a state of flux since 2004.

Over the last few years, the federal Liberal Party has had difficulty gaining traction with a successful leader, yet despite this weakness, the Conservatives have failed to fully capitalize on this opportunity and secure a majority government.  In a short briefing note I wrote recently, I looked at the prevalence and impact of vote switchers (those who voted one way in a given election, and another way in the next) to see what, if any, effect they had on the respective status of the major federal parties. (Read it here)

While not revolutionary, the results of the study were quite interesting. For the period I studied, the data suggests that Conservative switchers tend to switch for policy reasons or disagreement with party choices, while those who switched away from a Liberal vote did so largely because of an apparent lack of confidence in party leadership.

But what does this mean for political leadership within Canada?  Simply put, that a strong leader cannot ‘get away’ with a controversial policy agenda.  Similarly, a strong, developed party, with a long history can be brought down by the perception of weak leadership.  Common sense, right?

Alex Monk leads Abacus Data’s Business Strategy and Implementation practice and manages the development and testing of all online surveys and panels. He is also responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of Abacus Data and overseeing the company’s accounting department. Alex earned his BA (honours) in Political Science and Economics from Carleton University, and is currently a CMA Candidate with the Society of Management Accountants of Ontario.

Contact Alex Monk:

T: 613-232-2806 x.249

E: alex@abacusdata.ca

W: http://www.abacusdata.ca

Alex on Twitter Alex
on LinkedIn Alex on Google Plus