Do you hold an unfavourable opinion of politicians? Groucho Marx once said, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”
With numerous scandals of infidelity, greed, corruption and general ineptitude, politicians get a bad rap. But are politicians really viewed in such a negative light? A new study released Monday suggests being a politician isn’t the most respectable career endeavour.
According to the Manning Centre's study
, a conservative think tank group, only one percent of Canadians hold a “very favourable” view of politicians in this country. Meanwhile, 77 percent hold at least a “somewhat unfavourable” opinion towards public officials.
As part of the 2012 Manning Centre Barometer Poll, the institute conducted an 82-question online study to analyze the state of the nation today with an omnibus of questions related to issues, concerns, government, political philosophy and public officials.
The survey found that a total of 26 percent of Canadians believe the economy and personal finances are the matters that concern them the most. When asked how they deal with personal issues, 39 percent said they rely on themselves, while 19 percent said they would turn to their family first.
Most of the study participants, though, scored the government in providing solutions to the problems at hand between a zero (poor) and a five. However, it asked a follow-up by giving them the option of more involvement by large corporations. Nearly half said that it would make no difference.
So can the government and its leaders do anything right? According to the survey, their constituents don’t think so.
Although 58 percent said a political candidate must be honest, truthful, genuine, open and credible in order to for them to support him or her, most of the electorate can’t find anything positive about politicians.
A strong majority of respondents feel that politicians are “unprincipled,” “dishonest,” “untruthful,” “more concerned with money,” “incompetent,” “lazy,” “reactive” and “out-of-touch.” The question with the closest margin was if politicians were “hardworking” or “lazy?” this had a 52 percent to 48 percent response.
Also, nearly half of the participants considered themselves centre of the political spectrum – but 29 percent said they would vote Conservative, which was followed by Liberal and New Democrat with both garnering 21 percent.
The online interviews were conducted with 2,067 adults between Feb. 10 and Feb. 20. It contains a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.
Manning Networking Conference
Preston Manning, president and CEO of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, spoke at the annual Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa Saturday. During his remarks, he stated that ethics must be at the forefront of political parties.
Manning explained that with the robocall scandal inflicting bad publicity on parties and politicians, including the Conservatives, all political organizations must improve practices and must avoid any strategy, tactic or technology that would mislead or misdirect a voter.
“To work for Starbucks as a barista you need at least 20 hours of training. But you can become a lawmaker in the Parliament of Canada or a provincial legislature without one hour of training in law making,” said Manning. “For conservatives, being ‘right’ must mean more than adherence to right-of-centre policies; it should also mean 'doing the right thing.’”
For his full speech, click here