Ontario PCs back in front with 8 point lead nevertheless, strong approval for Liberal initiatives

TORONTO, JUNE 13, 2017 - The results from the fifth wave of the Campaign Research Poll – an online omnibus opinion survey conducted among 1118 Ontario voters – indicated that less than four out of ten of the people surveyed will vote Progressive Conservative if a provincial election were held today (38%), while three out of ten will vote Liberal (30%). This stands in contrast to last month, when the two parties were essentially tied (May 16, Liberals - 37%, PCs - 34%). Currently, the provincial NDP has one quarter of the vote (24%), which is similar to last month’s results (May 16 - 22%).

The greatest share of the Liberal vote comes from young voters (40%), Toronto residents (40%) and the wealthy ($80K to $100K - 39%). Meanwhile, the PC vote is largely comprised of older voters (55%), males (40%), residents in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and mid-income groups ($60K to $80K - 43%). The NDP vote is common to Gen X (45 to 54 - 28%) and the least wealthy (35%).

Of those who voted Liberal in the last provincial election of June, 2014, about one sixth will vote PC (15%) or NDP (13%) this time. This change in voter behaviour was not present among those who voted for either PC or NDP parties in the last election.

HORWATH OUTPERFORMS NDP, WYNNE UNDERPERFORMS LIBERAL

Four out of ten voters approved of Andrea Horwath (41%), almost twice that of her party (24%). Her net favourable score (approve minus disapprove) is a very positive +23. Kathleen Wynne’s approval is common to less than one fifth (18%), and her net score is a dismal -51. This is similar to her approvals last month (May - 19% approval, -50 favourability) and well below the support her party received (30%). Patrick Brown has the approval of three out of ten voters (30%), which is similar to his party’s level of support (38%). His net score is a positive +9, and these levels are similar to last month (29% approval, +5 favourability).

Notably, close to one half of Liberal voters approve of their leader (48%), and just fewer disapprove (40%). In contrast, two thirds of PC votes approve of Patrick Brown (63%), and just three out of ten don’t have an opinion (29%). Similar to PC voters, two thirds of New Democrats also approve of their leader (69%).

RECENT LIBERAL INITIATIVES GREETED POSITIVELY

Four recent Liberal government initiatives were tested and were approved by more than one half of Ontario voters. The majority of Ontarians (78%) agree with the the Liberal government’s proposition to guarantee three weeks paid vacation to all employees after five years of employment. The greatest support for these proposed changes come from boomers (55 to 64 - 83%), mid income groups ($60K to $80K - 87%), provincial Liberals (90%) and New Democrats (86%). Interestingly, two thirds of PC voters also approve (68%) of the current government’s propositions. Support is also high (74%) among the owners of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Pharmacare for youth under 25 is approved by two thirds of Ontario voters (65%), and this is especially the case among young (81%) and wealthy ($80K to $100K - 73%) voters, as well as Liberal (78%) and NDP (72%) supporters. One half of PC voters supported this idea (53%). Similarly, owners of SMEs are likely to support the idea (64%).

The minimum wage of $15 an hour (by 2019) is approved by almost six out of ten Ontario voters (59%). Support for this proposition predominantly stems from Gen X (45 to 54 - 65%) voters, females (61%), Torontonians (68%), the least wealthy (69%) and Liberals (82%). Interestingly, support for this wage raise is not shared among New Democrats (62%) or PC voters (42%). It is unlikely that owners of SMEs will reject the idea of a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour (approve - 54%) as the minimum wage is already seen to be too little (17%) or about right (47%). Even among small business owners, the amount is seen to be too little (15%) or about right (47%). Three out of ten survey respondents found the minimum wage increase to $15 an hour to be too high (30%).

One half of Ontario voters (51%) support the Basic Income experimental pilot but this is especially the case among Gen X (45 to 54 - 57%), males (60%), mid income groups ($60K to $80K - 57%), provincial Liberals (61%) and New Democrats (57%). PC voters do not support the Basic Income experimental pilot (40%). Notably, owners of SMEs are much more likely to approve of the Basic Income (67%) than almost any other group.

“While Ontario Liberals are, once again, in second place, their signature initiatives, including the minimum wage, the basic income, youth pharmacare and the three week vacation promise have become very popular” said Eli Yufest, CEO of Campaign Research. Eli may be reached at eyufest@campaignresearch.ca or at (647) 931 4025, ext 109.

METHODOLOGY

This online poll was conducted between June 9 and 12, 2017, among a panel of 1118 Ontario voters. A probability sample of this size would have a margin of error of plus or minus 3%, 19 out of 20 times

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