I’ve met Andrew Coyne. We had a pleasant chat about political matters a few years ago (although I was one of dozens of Toronto-area bloggers he talked with that night: I doubt he remembers me). I often agree with his writings (and even when I don’t, he’s usually quotable). But how would he fare as a candidate for the Liberal leadership? Abacus ran the numbers:
Nationally, most Canadians told us they didn’t know enough about Mr. Coyne to say whether they had a favourable or unfavourable impression of him. Sixty-four percent were not sure of their opinion while 15% said they had a favourable impression while 21% had an unfavourable impression. Unfortunately for Mr. Coyne, the percentage of respondents who had “very unfavourable” was higher than those who had a “very favourable” impression of him (9% very unfavourable vs. 3% very favourable).
Nonetheless, there are “pockets” of Coynemania out there.
- Men are slightly more likely to have a favourable impression of him than women (men 18% favourable, women 12% – women were also much more likely to be unsure).
- There was no significant age difference although older Canadians (no surprisingly) were more likely to be aware of Mr. Coyne.
- Regionally, he is more popular in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (25% favourable) than in other regions of the country. He is a tough sell in Quebec where his favourable rating is a mere 8%.
- Considering his occupation and the audience likely to read and watch him, it is no surprise that respondents with a university degree were most aware and favourable to Mr. Coyne. 24% of those with a bachelor’s degree and 29% of those with a post-graduate degree had a favourable impression of the National Post columnist.
- He is also more likely to be viewed favourably by those who live in urban communities (urban 18% favourable, suburban 13% favourable, rural 12% favourable).
- Mr. Coyne is also viewed more favourable by those who own stocks, bonds, or mutual funds: 20% favourable vs. 10% among those who don’t own those kinds of investments.
- Finally, there isn’t a significant partisan difference. Those who voted Liberal in 2011 are only slightly more likely to view him positively than NDP and CPC voters but the differences are marginal. He is a post-partisan candidate!
I don’t know if he’s actually interested in a political career, but he’d at least be a different kind of candidate than the Liberals have had in decades. I’ve never voted Liberal in my life, but I could imagine voting for a Liberal if Andrew Coyne was the Liberal leader. He appears to actually believe in smaller government and free markets — which is why he’d never be able to run as a Conservative. He’s on the record as being almost libertarian in his views on individual rights (especially on Nanny State issues) — which is why he couldn’t run as a New Democrat.
It’s not clear whether there are any members of today’s Liberal Party of Canada who could cope with a classical liberal as leader. But it would create a viable third choice in federal politics: that’s worth a lot in my books.
Update: There’s a Twitter hashtag for the movement: #coyne4lpc, and Jesse Helmer points out that there’s a Facebook group, too:
— Jesse Helmer (@jesse_helmer) June 26, 2012
Update, the second: Apparently Andrew Coyne is getting into the swing of being a big-time politician, having already fired his first campaign manager:
— Colby Cosh (@colbycosh) June 26, 2012