Brian Topp speaks to the media as he announces his intention to run for the NDP leader during a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa, September 12, 2011.
Credits: (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)
OTTAWA - If you ask Canadians to name the best person to replace the late Jack Layton as NDP leader, most come up blank, a new poll suggests.
A Leger poll conducted for QMI Agency indicates 51% of Canadians polled have no idea who could best lead the New Democrats.
Out of a list of five names, the two top choices - with 14% each - were NDP deputy leader Thomas Mulcair and Layton's widow, New Democrat MP Olivia Chow.
Mulcair, who is considering a run at the leadership, did better in his home province, where 46% of respondents picked the Quebec MP as top choice.
Chow, meanwhile, recently said she won't run and is committed to staying neutral during the race.
Party president Brian Topp and interim NDP leader Nycole Turmel tied at 3% support. Topp is the only official candidate in the race so far, while Turmel isn't running.
Leger Marketing executive vice-president Dave Scholz said Topp, unlike Mulcair, has strong behind-the-scenes support but needs to work on his public profile.
"It's popularity with Canadians versus the popularity in the party," he said. "It's whoever pulls off both to the best degree who wins this
In a twist, 9% of respondents said they could see interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae as Layton's potential replacement. Scholz put those numbers down to simple name recognition.
Leger polled 1,003 people between Aug. 23 and 28. The results are accurate plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.