Brown’s victory vaults NDP into lead in Ontario

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Brown’s victory vaults NDP into lead in Ontario

Liberals in 3rd place

TORONTO May 12th, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1001 Ontario voters, more than a third (36%) will vote NDP if a provincial election were held today, while one third would vote PC (33%). Fewer than one quarter would vote for the incumbent Liberals under this scenario (24%).

The NDP vote is common to the youngest (under 34 - 47%, 35 to 44 - 48%), the least wealthy (less than $20K - 48%), mothers of children under 18 (49%) and the least educated (44%),

The PC vote is characteristic of the oldest (44%), males (40%), mid income groups ($60K to $80K - 45%), those who don’t believe in evolution (53%), disapprove of same-sex marriage (55%), are pro-life (43%) and disapprove of the new sex education curriculum (48%).

The Liberal vote is common to boomers (55 to 64 - 29%), the wealthiest ($80K to $250K - 28%), eastern Ontario 28%, Toronto 416 area code (33%), the best educated (university degree or post grad - 29%), those who believe in the evolution (28%), approve of same sex marriage (29%), and approve of the new sex education curriculum (34%).

Of note, close to 3-in-10 of those who voted Liberal in June 2014 will vote NDP if the election were held today (29%), while one tenth will vote PC (11%). There is little switching from the PCs or the NDP.

PC minority government seen

If these results are projected up to a 107 seat Legislature, the PCs would take 49, 6 fewer than required for a majority, while the NDP would come very close with 40 seats. The Liberals would be reduced to just 18 seats. In this situation, one might expect the Liberals and NDP would come to an agreement to govern cooperatively.

All 3 leaders evenly tied for best premier

There is fundamentally no light between any of the contenders when voters are asked who would make the best premier. One fifth select Patrick Brown (21%), one fifth Andrea Horwath (20%) and one fifth Kathleen Wynne (20%). One quarter say none of these people is up to the job (26%) and as many as a sixth don’t know (14%).

Two thirds of Ontarians share progressive values

When asked their view on a selection of fundamental value issues voters are most likely to adopt an explicitly progressive stance with respect to all, but the provincial government’s new sex education curriculum. Two thirds share a belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution (61%), approval of same sex marriage (56%) and a pro-choice stance on abortion (63%). On the new sex education curriculum, there is less agreement (45% approve, 36% disapprove), but this still represents a more favourable view than that noted two weeks ago (May 1, approve - 42%, disapprove - 40%).

On the other hand, there are substantial minorities with much less progressive views. One fifth do not credit Darwin’s theory of evolution (21%), one quarter do not approve of same sex marriage (25%), just less than one quarter are expressly pro-life (23%) and more than a third do not agree with the health education curriculum (36%)

Brown and Horwath supporters share values, Wynne’s most progressive

Kathleen’s Wynne’s partisans are especially likely to accept Darwin’s theory of evolution (78%), same sex marriage (85%), be pro-choice (77%) and support the new sex education curriculum (75%). Andrea Horwath’s supporters are less likely to support these positions, but follow the same trends (accept Darwin - 59%, pro-same sex marriage - 68%, pro-choice - 67%, pro-sex education - 47%). In many respects, the values of Brown’s supporters are more similar to Horwath’s than Wynne’s (Darwin - 53%, same sex marriage - 51%, pro-choice - 56%, pro-sex education - 25%). On the other hand, Brown supporters are especially likely to take positions which would not be described as progressive (don’t believe theory of evolution - 29%, don’t approve of same sex marriage - 38%, pro-life stance on abortion - 30%, disapprove of sex education curriculum - 58%).

Patrick Brown is a bit of a conundrum. He hasn’t shared any policy yet and he’s playing his cards very close to his chest when it comes to his beliefs. We can see, however, that his supporters have some very firm ideas about their values, and one they share widely is opposition to the new provincial health education curriculum. In that respect, and several others, his supporters resemble Andrea Horwath’s partisans more than Kathleen Wynne’s. Given that a PC minority might lead to a cooperative government of some kind between the two opposition parties, seeing how these different value sets might mesh will be interesting," 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.