Liberals lead in Ontario

| Filed under: Ontario

Headed for majority government

In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 996 Ontario voters, close to 4-in-10 will vote for the Liberals (38%) in the upcoming provincial election, compared to just more than a third who will vote PC (35%). These results represent a reversal from those noted at the outset of the campaign on May 2 (Liberals 33%, PCs 38%). One fifth will vote NDP now (21%) and this has not changed since the last time we polled (May 2 - 22%). Few will vote for the Greens (5%) or for any other party (1%). At this point, the Liberal vote is common to the youngest (45%) and the wealthiest ($80K to $100K - 46%, $100K to $250K - 45%). The PC vote is characteristic of the oldest (47%), males (41%) and residents of eastern Ontario (45%). The NDP vote is common to Gen Y (35 to 44 - 26%), mid-income groups ($40K to $60K - 30%), among the wealthier ($80K to $100K - 26%) and, marginally, in Toronto 416 area code (24%). Of note, close to one fifth of past NDP voters will vote Liberal this time (18%), while about one tenth of past Liberal voters will support the NDP (12%) or the PCs (12%) this time.

Strong Liberal majority seen

If these results are projected to seat counts in a 107 seat Legislature, the Liberals would capture a 13 seat majority of 68, compared to just 26 for the PCs and 13 for the New Democrats. This represents an increase from the Liberal minority of 49 seats and a decrease in the PC seat count from 45 which we noted the day the election was called.

New Democrats are most popular second choice

In total, one third of voters would pick the NDP second (33%), while one tenth would pick the Liberals (12%), fewer than those who would choose the Green Party second (18%). Very few select the PCs second (7%), and one quarter doesn’t have a second choice (23%). Among PC supporters, one quarter will vote NDP second (27%) and about half this proportion would vote Green second (15%). Among Liberals, the most common second choice is the NDP by far (60%) and very few will choose the PCs second (7%). One fifth or so will choose the Green Party second (17%). Among New Democrats, Liberals are most likely to be the second choice (38%) followed by the Greens (27%). Liberals (12%) and New Democrats (20%) are less likely to say they have no second choice than are PC voters (37%).

Wynne's favourables up sharply; Hudak's tumble

Close to 4-in-10 approve of the job Kathleen Wynne is doing as Premier (38%) and this is an increase from the last time we polled (34%). Her net favourable score (approve minus disapprove) has improved from -17 to -12. Andrea Horwath has the approval of just more than a third (35%), steady since last month (36%), and her net is -8, down slightly from -5. Tim Hudak, however, has seen his approval decline from more than a quarter at the outset of the campaign (26%) to less than that now (23%), and his net has tumbled precipitously from -25 to -36. Of note, 3-in-10 past PC supporters disapprove of Hudak now (30%).

Wynne increases her lead as best Premier

One third of voters think Kathleen Wynne makes the best Premier (32%) and this is up from the beginning of the campaign (28%) and from the month before (26%). Fewer than one quarter pick Tim Hudak on this measure (22%) and this has not changed since the start of the campaign. About one seventh think Horwath would make a good Premier (15, stable) and close to one quarter think none of these is up to the job (22%).

Jobs/growth key issue of campaign

More than one third of voters agree that jobs and growth are the most important issues in the Ontario election campaign (34%), followed by one seventh who think government corruption is most important (15%). No other issue listed is mentioned by as many as 1-in10, including eliminating the deficit (9%), transit and transportation (9%), the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP - 7%), the gas plants affair (7%), eliminating waste (6%) or limiting the influence of unions (2%). Among Liberals, jobs and growth is the most important factor (47%), followed by transit (16%) and the ORPP (11%). Among PC supporters, jobs and growth and government corruption share top billing (24% each) followed by eliminating the deficit (14%) and the gas plants (13%). Among New Democrats, jobs and growth is most important (31%), followed by government corruption (14%) and cutting waste (10%).

Hudak's key proposals unpopular, Horwath's better-liked

Tim Hudak's key promise to cut 100,000 public service jobs receives strong disapproval (62%) and only limited approval (26%), while one tenth have no opinion (11%). While the vast majority of New Democrats and Liberals disapprove (84% each), a significant minority of PC supporters also disapproves of this idea (22%) and just two thirds approve (67%). By the same token, very few believe Hudak's signature pledge of creating 1 million jobs in 10 years is possible (26%), while two thirds think it is not (63%) and one tenth do not know if it is (11%). Fully one third of PC voters don't think it possible (33%) and just more than half think it can be done (55%). Liberals (83%) and New Democrats (77%) agree this pledge is unfulfillable.

Just more than a third approve of the NDP promise of an employment grant for new hires (35%) and just less than half disapprove (47%). Liberals and PCs are equally unlikely to approve of this plan (30% and 24%, respectively), but approval is high among New Democrats (72%). Approval is higher for the NDP's business tax credit for the purchase of new machinery (49%) and just one third disapprove (33%). The plurality of PC supporters (46%) and Liberal supporters (45%) approve of this idea, and the majority of New Democrats do (73%).


Apparently, promising to fire 100,000 of their neighbours doesn't engender warm feelings of support among the electorate. Tim Hudak may have forgotten that there's proverbially a teacher in every family in Ontario, and it’s teachers who will bear the brunt of those cuts. This is a sudden reversal in Tim Hudak's fortunes to have happened in just the space of a few days. Based on past experience, we may expect to see him modify that promise in the near future," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.