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Kevin O’Leary ties Peter MacKay in hypothetical Conservative leadership race

Last Updated Jan 18, 2016 at 12:42 pm EDT

Kevin O'Leary has never been afraid of voicing controversial opinions or insulting an entrepreneur. REUTERS

The key word here is hypothetical.

Kevin O’Leary would tie Peter MacKay in a hypothetical Conservative leadership race, according to a poll from Mainstreet Research.

“Should he actually enter the Conservative leadership race there would be support, but whether he actually intends to run is another matter entirely,” Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet Research, said in a statement.

“Certainly he has the potential to shake-up the race and despite being a newcomer to politics, would be one of the candidates to watch.”

The poll found that McKay leads the pack with the support of 25 per cent among all Conservative voters, where O’Leary would get the support of over 23 per cent of Conservative voters. However, O’Leary leads MacKay in western Canada (BC, AB and Prairies).

The businessman and reality TV star confirmed last week he was considering a run.

“I thought at some point, someone is going to say to me, if you can be such a critic, why don’t you do better? Why don’t you try it?” O’Leary told CBC News.

“I thought to myself, hmmm, maybe I should.”

Early last year, McKay retired from federal politics. He did not run for his Nova Scotia riding in the fall election and has not said much publicly about the current leadership race.

Tony Clement and Kellie Leitch have thrown their names into the ring, while rumoured candidates include Jason Kenney and Lisa Raitt.

The Mainstreet Research poll found that “none of the other early insider favourites is registering much support with Conservative voters, including Kenney at just eight per cent,” Maggi said.

Raitt has 4.4 per cent support, Bernier has four per cent (21 percent in Quebec), and Leitch has three per cent.”