Premier Danny Williams has received a 78 per cent approval rating in the latest Angus Reid public opinion poll, giving him the distinction of being "the highest ranked provincial head of government" in Canada.
The online survey involved a representative national sample of 7,000 Canadians, with large sample sizes in nine provinces.
Williams received approval from more than three in four respondents, with 10 per cent disapproving and 12 per cent saying they weren't sure.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was ranked second, with a 58 per cent approval rating, followed by Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter with 43 per cent.
The approval rating for Manitoba's Greg Selinger was 29 per cent while the disapproval rating for the remaining five premiers surpassed the 50 per cent mark.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest received a positive review from only 25 per cent of respondents, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell received a 21 per cent approval rating and New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham got 20 per cent.
The Canadian premiers with the lowest approval ratings were Ontario's Dalton McGuinty at 18 per cent and Alberta's Ed Stelmach with 14 per cent.
Williams approval rating was actually up one per cent from a similar poll conducted in August, while Wall and Dexter's approval ratings dropped slightly.
Alex Marland, an assistant professor with Memorial University's political science department, said Wednesday what he finds notable in the latest poll is Williams is still getting such high approval numbers so far into his term in office.
Wall and Dexter are still in their honeymoon period, Marland said, but it's not like Williams was elected in the last year.
"So that, right away, tells you that Danny Williams is not only achieving very high highs, but he's doing it for a long period of time."
Marland believes it also says something about this province because if you look at the demographics in Newfoundland and Labrador, most people are not that diverse in their opinions and people in the province have often rallied behind a premier to be sort of a super hero or saviour.
"Demographically, if you look at language, if you look at all sorts of things, it's a very homogenous population, and so there's not this wide variety of viewpoints," Marland said.
He also believes Williams gets people onside with him because he promotes a stronger economy that's going to benefit all of Newfoundland and Labrador and that resonates with people.
"It's something in political science we call economic regionalism," he said, explaining Williams is seen as somebody who's not trying to favour any particular group. "It's almost like he's trying to help out the Newfoundland society as a whole," Marland said.
Williams has also learned to target his anger and desire for reform against outsiders, he said, like Hydro-Quebec, New Brunswick or Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as opposed to people in the province.
Williams' popularity levels were actually tied with the Liberals for much of 2004, Marland said, and 2004 is really the only year that he was focusing on internal reform and making changes.
"I would say that it would be very hard for him to sustain those levels if he was actually saying to Newfoundlanders, 'Look, we've got to make all sorts of cuts because we've got a deficit.' All of a sudden Newfoundlanders would be very upset."
Marland said Williams' popularity also probably speaks to the lack of support for the alternative, "so it kind of says something bad about the Liberals or NDP."
He said Williams is seen to be actually representing citizens' concerns and a lot of people like him and put "an incredible amount of trust" in him.
"Polls are bearing that out and election campaigns," he said.
"Yes, the man makes mistakes, but the reality is most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians like and trust Danny Williams to represent their interests."
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Do you approve or disapprove of the performance of each of the following people?
Approve Disapprove Not sure
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier and
Progressive Conservative Party Leader
Danny Williams 78% 10% 12%
Saskatchewan Premier and Saskatchewan
Party Leader Brad Wall 58% 29% 13%
Nova Scotia Premier and New Democratic
Party (NDP) Leader Darrell Dexter 43% 32% 25%
Manitoba Premier and New Democratic
Party (NDP) Leader Greg Selinger 29% 22% 50%
Quebec Premier and Liberal Party of
Quebec Leader Jean Charest 25% 52% 23%
British Columbia Premier and BC Liberals
Leader Gordon Campbell 21% 66% 14%
New Brunswick Premier and Liberal
Party Leader Shawn Graham 20% 63% 16%
Ontario Premier and Liberal Party
Leader Dalton McGuinty 18% 56% 26%
Alberta Premier and Progressive
Conservative Leader Ed Stelmach 14% 61% 25%
Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion