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PC Party leads Liberals in Ontario: Majority of Ontarians want a change in government priorities

July 18, 2017

In the sixth wave of the Campaign Research Poll, a provincial online public opinion omnibus survey conducted among a sample of 943 Ontario voters, just fewer than 4 in 10 will vote Progressive Conservative if a provincial vote were held tomorrow (38%), whereas just more than 3 in 10 will vote Liberal (31%). Fewer than a quarter will vote for the NDP (23%) and few will vote Green (6%). These results are almost identical to those noted last month (June 13, PCs - 38%, Liberals - 30%, NDP - 24%).

The PC vote is especially strong among the oldest (46%), males (44%) more so than females (33%), federal Conservatives (93%), those in mid income groups ($60K to $80K - 52%) and in the GTA surrounding Toronto (42%). The Liberal vote is strongest among the youngest (45%), females (36%), rather than males (27%), in the city of Toronto (39%), among federal Liberals (69%), and the wealthy ($80K to $100K - 41%). The NDP vote is common to areas outside the GTA and Toronto (27%), among federal New Democrats (89%) and mid income groups ($40K to $60K - 33%).

 

LEADER APPROVALS ARE GENERALLY STABLE

 

Premier Wynne has the approval of fewer than one in five Ontarians (17%), and her net favourability score (approve minus disapprove) is a dismal -52. This compares to last month, when her approval was at 18% and her net score was -51. Patrick Brown has the approval of 3 in 10 (30%) and his net score is a positive +6. This compares to last month (June 13) when his approval was identical (30%) and his net was +9. His greatest problem continues to be that voters are too unfamiliar with him to have an opinion (47%). Close to 4 in 10 approve of Andrea Horwath (38%, almost twice her party’s vote share, and her net score is a very positive +16. This is down from last month when her approval was 41% and her net favourability was +23.

 

TWO THIRDS SEE GOVERNMENT CHANGING, GOOD JOB OR NOT

 

Two thirds of Ontarians think the government needs to change (64%), whether they think it has done a good job overall (18%) or a poor one (46%). Just one quarter thinks the government deserves to be reelected (25%), whether it has done a good job (16%) or not (9%). Liberals are, not surprisingly, most likely to say the government has done a good job and deserves to be reelected (47%), although one quarter of Liberals think it’s still time for a change, even if the government has done well (23%). Among PC supporters, most believe a bad job has been done and the government needs to change (78%). Among New Democrats, half think the government has done a bad job and must go (50%), while more than a quarter say a good job has been done, but the government still must change (28%).

 

SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT SEEN TO HYDRO, ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

 

Ontarians are asked whether key provincial assets and services need improvement or not. They are most likely to see significant improvements needed in Ontario Hydro (a lot of improvement - 57%) and access to health care (48%). They are least likely to see strong improvement needed in provincial parks (14%) or in the Ontario Provincial Police (15%). Ontarians are most likely to see no improvement needed at all in vehicle licensing and registration (32% no improvement at all).

 

LOWER TAXES, CHEAPER HYDRO, CONTROLLING DEFICIT ARE KEY PRIORITIES

 

Ontarians are asked which of 11 provincial priorities are their top two. At the top of the list is lowering taxes (22%), followed by reducing the cost of electricity (19%) and tackling the deficit (17%). In a second tier of priorities are, helping the less fortunate (10%), providing excellent public services (7%), building transit and transportation infrastructure (7%) and tackling crime and making Ontario safer (7%). Few select making Ontario greener (3%), making it a leader in Canada (2%) or helping immigrants and newcomers settle (1%).

 

LOWER TAXES, FEWER SERVICES PREFERRED TO HIGHER TAXES, MORE SERVICES

 

Ontarians are asked which statement is closest to their view, one espousing more services at the expense of higher taxes, and one advocating lower taxes at the expense of fewer services. Respondents prefer the low tax, fewer services model (45%) to the higher taxes, more services model (36%). One fifth don’t have an opinion (19%). Both Liberals (49%) and New Democrats (48%) espouse the higher tax vision, while PC supporters opt for the fewer services plan (61%).

 

FINANCIAL SECURITY VERY SLIGHTLY VALUED OVER OPPORTUNITY

 

Ontarians are asked if the opportunity to succeed is more important to them vs. a basic level of personal financial security. Financial security wins out over opportunity by a slim margin (49% to 45%), and very few have no opinion (7%). Partisan differences are very clear. While PC supporters prefer opportunity to security (54% to 41%), provincial New Democrats are in the other camp (security - 61%, opportunity - 34%). Liberals straddle these two positions, and mirror all Ontarians’ views (security - 50%, opportunity - 45%).

 

NEW DIRECTION IN GOVERNMENT NEEDED

 

Respondents are most likely to agree with statements describing the current government as unbalanced and calling for wholesale change. Of 8 statements tested, highest agreement was for one describing Premier Wynne’s spending as unbalancing Ontario (average score of 7.5 out of 10.0), followed by a need for a new generation of leadership (7.4 out of 10.0) and one calling for a completely new direction in government (7.3). There is a second tier of agreement for statements stating that Ontario has been run by the establishment for too long (6.8) and that Ontario needs to be the best in the world at something (6.3). There is less agreement that Ontario is an exciting place to be now (5.7), that our best days as a province are behind us (4.9) and that more needs to be done to help immigrants settle here and integrate (4.8 out of 10.0).

 

“After the Liberals experienced a bump in approval several months ago, Party standings have normalized and not changed materially in recent weeks.  Patrick Brown remains largely unknown to the electorate and if this doesn’t change, the Liberals and Premier Wynne may find a way to capitalize on that” 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 July 7 and July 10, among a panel of 943 Ontario residents. A probability sample of this size would have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2%, 19 out of 20 times.

 

 

 

 

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