OTTAWA - If Justin Trudeau dips his toe in the Liberal leadership pool, other potential contenders might want to consider taking a hike, suggests a new poll that shows the Montreal MP is by far the most popular non-candidate.
The Abacus Data survey says Trudeau, 40, is both the best known and most liked of eight names tossed about in a leadership race that has yet to begin.
The Montreal MP is mulling over whether to flip-flop on his earlier commitment not to seek the leadership of the third-place party in Parliament now that Bob Rae plans to remain as interim chief.
Abacus polled 1,008 Canadians June 20-23 and found 50% of respondents said they had a favourable impression of Trudeau compared with 28% who didn't.
"His personal popularity is significantly higher than any other federal leader and possible leadership candidate we tested," Abacus CEO David Coletto said.
"Awareness of Mr. Trudeau is very high and he does very well with groups the Liberals have had a difficult time attracting support: Seniors and Quebec residents."
Marc Garneau, the former astronaut, was second with 33% saying they had a good impression while 23% said they didn't.
Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney came third with 30% of online respondents giving him the thumbs up versus 18% the thumbs down.
Gerard Kennedy, a 2006 leadership hopeful who helped steer Stephane Dion to the victory lane in that race, had a favourable rating of 18% compared to 20%.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi scored 17% versus 22%; columnist Andrew Coyne 15%-21%; Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc 14%-16% and 2006 leadership hopeful Martha Hall Findlay 13%-19%.
"The Member of Parliament for Papineau could be a game changer if he decides to run and wins the Liberal leadership," Coletto said of Trudeau.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.