PC leadership hopefuls bring little to race

| Filed under: Ontario

PC leadership hopefuls bring little to race

Chow as NDP leader changes the equation

TORONTO November 1st, 2014 – In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1104 Ontario voters, vote shares for the Progressive Conservative party are lower when actual leadership contenders are named than when no leader is named, but when Olivia Chow is proposed as leader of the Ontario New Democrats, the balance of probabilities changes considerably.

Liberals with 5 point lead in generic horserace

In the generic horserace, where no leaders are named, results are very similar to the recent election, and 4-in-10 will vote Liberal if a provincial election were held today (40%), while just more than a third will vote PC (35%). In this scenario, the NDP take a fifth of the vote (19%), and the Greens (4%) and other parties take few (2%).

Two seat majority seen for Liberals

If these results were projected up to seats in a 107 seat Legislature, the Liberals would take a two seat majority of 56, to 37 for the PCs, up from 28 in the election. Under this scenario, the NDP would take 14 seats, well down from the 21 actually held after June 12.

Elliott is strongest contender for PCs

Among the 5 current contenders for the PC leadership (and Doug Ford), Christine Elliott posts the most promising trial heats, followed by Ford. Nevertheless, her vote share is lower than that recorded for the PCs in the generic horserace. If she is leader, the Liberals take a 4-in-10 share (41%) to just less than a third for the PCs (32%) and almost a quarter for the NDP (22%). Of note, in all trial heat scenaria, the NDP do better than in the generic horserace. Lisa MacLeod posts the least positive results, driving the Liberal vote up to close to half (44%) while suppressing the PC vote below 3-in-10 (28%). Doug Ford keeps the Liberal vote lower than anyone but Elliott (42%), but has disappointing results among PCs (27%). All other stated contenders do about this well or slightly less successfully.

Chow changes the arithmetic

When Olivia Chow is proposed as leader of the New Democrats, the balance of power shifts considerably, and the horserace actually starts to look like a horserace. With her named as leader, the NDP take close to 3-in-10 votes (28%), tied with the PCs for second place (29%) right behind the Liberals (33%).

Elliott, Ford are 1-2 in voters' hearts

When voters are asked which of the five contenders (and Doug Ford) they expect to win the leadership, Christine Elliott is first among all voters (26%) followed by Doug Ford (18%) and Lisa MacLeod (7%). Fully one third don't have an opinion (35%). Among PC voters, however, results are much more clear. One third prefer Elliott (34%), followed closely by one quarter who prefer Ford (24%). Among this group, the undecideds are not as numerous (26%). No other contenders are mentioned by as many as about one twentieth.

Wynne's favourables up sharply, Horwath flat

Premier Wynne's favourables have bounced back from a post-election low and are now close to half (46% approve, up from 41% last month). While Jim Wilson still makes little impression as interim PC leader (23% now, 18% last month), Andrea Horwath has seen her formerly very high approval levels stagnate (31% this month and last). In terms of net favourable scores (approve minus disapprove), both Wynne (+4) and Wilson (-2) are close to neutral, while Horwath is in negative territory (-13).

 We all know Christine Elliott is cruising for a coronation, but Doug Ford may prove to be a bump on the road to that event. He has partisans in the all-important, vote-rich 905, and that's where the PCs need to win votes to take power," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

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