PCs start Ontario campaign with lead

| Filed under: Ontario

But Liberal minority government seen

TORONTO MAY 3rd, 2014 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1845 Ontario voters on the day after Premier Kathleen Wynne announced there would be a provincial election on June 12, just less than 4-in-10 will vote PC (38%), compared to one third who will vote Liberal (33%). One fifth will vote NDP (22%) and few will vote Green (6%) or any other party (1%). These findings represent stability since the last time we polled, before the election was called (April 7, Liberals - 31%, PCs - 38%, NDP - 23%). The Liberals have a lead in Toronto 416 area code, but trail everywhere else in the province. The PC vote is the most loyal, in that more past PC voters will vote their party again (86%) than will past Liberals (66%) or New Democrats (65%).

The PC vote is common to mid-income groups ($60K to $80K - 51%), in southwestern Ontario (44%). The Liberal vote is characteristic of the oldest (37%), the wealthiest (37%) and those in Toronto (44%). The NDP vote is highest among Gen Y (35 to 44 - 27%), the least wealthy and mid-income groups (less than $20K - 28%, $40K to $60K - 31%).

Liberal minority government in the cards

Despite their lead in the popular vote, if these results are projected up to seats in a 107 seat legislature, the Liberals would capture 49, for a 6 seat minority, while the PCs would take 45 and the NDP just 13. This represents an increase from 45 seats last month for the Liberals, and a decrease from 49 seats for the PCs. The NDP are stable from 13 seats last month.

No one picks PCs as second choice

Less than one tenth say the PCs would be their second choice (9%), compared to about one eighth who mention the Liberals (16%) or 3-in-10 the NDP in this respect (29%). The Greens are the second choice of another one fifth (17%).  PCs are more likely to select the NDP second 33%) than the Liberals (16%) or Greens (13%), while Liberals choose the NDP (47%) or Greens (16%) second. New Democrats will choose Liberals (38%) or Greens (30%) second. A substantial minority, however, will vote PC second to the NDP (15%).

Horwath favourables down; Wynne, Hudak flat

Just more than one third approve of Kathleen Wynne (34%), stable from last month (34%), and her net favourable (approve minus disapprove) is stable from  -15 last month to -17 today. Tim Hudak has the approval of just more than a quarter (26%), stable since last month (27%), but his net remains a very negative -25. Andrea Horwath has the same approvals as Kathleen Wynne (36%, down from 40%), but her net has tumbled (-5, down from +6).

Wynne now more likely to be seen as best Premier

Kathleen Wynne is clearly the leader for best Premier (28%, up from 26% last month), compared to Tim Hudak (22% now and 24% last month) or, especially, Andrea Horwath (15% now and last month). One quarter think none of these would be a good premier (22%).

Wynne seen to have best plan for transit

Kathleen Wynne is more likely (26%) to be seen as having the best plan for transit and transportation, compared to Tim Hudak (17%) or Andrea Horwath (12%). The premier leads on this measure in every region.

Majority approve of NDP decision to bring down government

More than one half of Ontario voters (56%) agree with Andrea Horwath's decision not to support the Liberal budget, while one third disapprove (33%) and one tenth don't know (12%). Eight-in-ten PCs (83%) and 7-in-10 New Democrats (70%) approve of this decision, while as many as one fifth of Liberals do too (17%). Close to one fifth of PCs and New Democrats, however, do not approve (14% and 20%, respectively).

One half hold Liberal government responsible for election

One half of voters hold the Liberals responsible for the coming election (47%), while just one quarter blame the NDP (26%) and less than half this proportion blame the PCs (10%). Most PCs hold the Liberals responsible (76%), while Liberals blame both the NDP (53%) and, to a lesser extent, the PCs (17%). New Democrats hold the Liberals responsible (55%), but also recognize their own role (22% blame NDP).

It's clear that Kathleen Wynne outpolls her party, while Hudak underperforms his party considerably. Wynne is liked and admired, and thought to make the best premier, but she can't rise above the Liberal legacy. On the other hand Andrea Horwath, who outpolls her party even more than Wynne does, just can't get the NDP into the Ontario voters' decision set," 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.