Progressive Conservatives lead Liberals in Ontario

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PC minority seen if election held today

TORONTO FEBRUARY 28th, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 996 Ontario voters, almost 4-in-10 will vote PC if the election were held today (39%), while just one third will vote Liberal (32%). This stands in contrast to last month when the two parties were in a statistical tie (January 30 - 36% and 37% respectively). One fifth will vote for the provincial NDP (21%), one twentieth will vote Green (6%) and few will vote for other parties (2%). In contrast to past waves of polling, when the Liberal party had the “stickiest” vote (past voters who will vote the party again), this distinction belongs to the PCs this month, and 9-in-10 past PC voters will vote their party again (89%). Just three quarters of Liberals and New Democrats will vote for the same party they supported in June (74% each).In the meantime, one tenth of past Liberals (12%) and New Democrats (11%) will vote PC this time.

PC minority seen

If these results are projected up to seats in a 107 seat legislature, the PCs would capture a six seat minority of 49, compared to 39 for the Liberals. The New Democrats would occupy 19 seats.

Elliott improves PC chances, not so much Brown or McNaughton

If the leader of the PC is Christine Elliott, the party does slightly better than with a generic leader (PC - 41%, Liberal 31%). On the other hand, Patrick Brown (35% and 34% respectively) and Monte McNaughton (33% and 36%, respectively) do not do as well.

Wynne’s favourables drop, others are steady

Just more than one third of voters approve of the job Premier Wynne is doing (36%), down from 4-in-10 last month (40%) and her net favourable score (approve minus disapprove) is a negative -16. Andrea Horwath’s approval is steady at more than a third (37% this month, 36% last month) and her net score is a neutral -1. Jim Wilson’s approval as interim leader of the PCs stands at one quarter (24%), and his net favourable is a neutral -2.

Two thirds aware of Sudbury by-election controversy

Two thirds of Ontario voters are aware of the controversy surrounding the Sudbury by-election (64%), and they tend to be older (55 to 64 - 79%, 65+ - 73%), male (71%) rather than female (57%), wealthier ($80K to $100K - 74%), among PC supporters (74%) but not among New Democrats (56%), among the best educated (post grad - 71%). Curiously, awareness is lower in Northern Ontario than elsewhere (57%).

Two thirds think Sorbara should step aside

Two thirds of Ontario voters aware of the Sudbury controversy agree the Premier’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Patricia Sorbara, should step aside while the controversy is being investigated (65%), while one quarter think she should not (27%). One tenth have no opinion (8%). Predictably, PC voters (88%) and New Democrats (73%) agree she should step aside, but so do one third of Liberal supporters (32%).

Less agreement Sorbara should be charged

Just fewer than 4-in-10 think Sorbara should be charged with a crime (39%) and almost as many think she should not be charged (36%). Fully one quarter have no opinion (25%).

One half want a mulligan on by-election

One half of Ontario voters familiar with the Sudbury by-election controversy think the results of the by-election should be set aside and the by-election held gain (52%), while one third do not agree (33%). One sixth have no opinion (15%). Even one quarter of Liberal supporters think the by-election should be held again (24%).

More than a third want Wynne to resign

Just more than a third of Ontario voters think Premier Kathleen Wynne should resign (37%), while one half do not think so (48%). One sixth are unsure on this issue (15%). Of those aware of the Sudbury controversy, more than 4-in-10 want a resignation (43%), while about half as many who are not aware of the controversy think this (26%).

Despite awareness, no interest in pursuing Liberal scandals

 When asked which of a number of actions both the government and opposition parties should take, the overwhelming support is for the government to work to create jobs and growth (37%) and for the opposition parties to work with them to achieve these ends (52%). Few want the gas plants scandal pursued (government - 11%, opposition - 11%), or the Sudbury by-election scandal (government - 3%, opposition - 5%). Other actions voters want the government to take are to control government spending and wages (18%) and eliminate waste (15%). The opposition parties are encouraged to rebuild (9%).

 The corrosive effect of the ongoing coverage of the gas plants controversy, coupled with the Chief Electoral Officer’s finding in the Sudbury by-election case, have finally dealt Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals a telling blow. It’s clear that the publicity, although not universally recalled, is enough to materially affect both the Premier’s personal approval ratings and those of her party. In a majority government at the beginning of its mandate, this is not a major concern, but Ms Wynne will need to put these genies back in the bottle at some point," 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.