Attack Ads May Be Weakening Patrick Brown’s Approval
The ninth wave of Campaign Research’s poll – an online public opinion omnibus survey conducted among a sample of 1263 Ontario voters – found that the gap in voter intent between the provincial Liberals and Progressive Conservatives (PCs) has remained consistent within the last month. Ontarians’ voting intent for the PCs was 36% in October. Our latest poll results indicate that PC voting intent decreased by only 1%. The greatest supporters of the PCs are men (38%) and voters aged 45 and older (Age 45-54= 38%, 55-64= 38%, 65+= 45%). Regionally, the greatest voter intent for the PCs came from the GTA. Similarly, Liberal voting intent did not change from October, remaining at 32%. Their greatest support comes from women (33%) and younger voters (Age 18-24= 39%, 25-34= 36%). As has traditionally been the case, Liberal voter intent is strongest in Toronto (40%). The NDP’s voter intent decreased 2% since last month. Their strongest support stems from women (26%) as well as voters between the age of 35 to 44 (26%).
Since our last public opinion poll, the PC party ran television ads in an attempt to increase Patrick Brown’s awareness. Additionally, the PCs also ran advertisements highlighting various political scandals that existed under Premier Wynne’s Liberal government. It appears that these ads were largely ineffective as Kathleen Wynne’s disapproval rating increased by only 1% (64% disapproval in October, 65% disapproval in November). Notwithstanding Patrick Brown’s increased television presence, it appears that Ontarians continue to be unimpressed by him. In fact, our latest poll found that only 21% of Ontario voters approved of Patrick Brown, down significantly from last month (25%). Much of this decline is attributable to a significant decline among woman voters (22% in October to 15% in November). Similar to his support base for voting intent, Patrick Brown’s highest approval came from men (27%) and voters between the ages of 45 to 54 (25%). Andrea Horwath continues to be the most likeable candidate (31% approval rating). Men (33%) as well as Ontario voters aged 45 to 54 (33%), and 65 and older (36%) represent Horwath’s strongest supporters. Regionally, Horwath’s approval rating is highest in Toronto (34%).
Campaigns from third party organizations may prove to be crucial in swaying public perception. The Working Families Coalition and Working Ontario Woman (WOW) both ran television advertisements challenging Brown’s commitment on various political issues. While this campaign was not effective in terms of decreasing the PC Party’s support, it did affect the public’s perception of Brown. November marks the first month that Brown has a negative net approval rating (21% approval subtracted by 29% disapproval= -8%). Again, this decline was driven by woman voters (disapproval in October 19% to 25% in November). The efficacy of such campaigns may largely be a result of Brown’s lack of public awareness. Brown has not been able to improve his recognition and establish a strong reputation among Ontario voters. As a result, such campaigns criticizing Brown’s political history may be the first-time voters’ have been exposed to the PC leader. This bad first impression appears to be causing Brown significant harm to his public image. Brown must increase his awareness, on his terms in order to make a favourable impression on Ontario voters. If his public awareness continues to be low, such political campaigns criticizing Brown may greatly impact a positive view of his image. Brown would subsequently have to overcome two problems: increasing his name recognition and redressing his poor perception among Ontario voters. This is an issue that Wynne also faces. Our latest research indicates that Wynne’s net approval rating is -49%. Notwithstanding, Wynne’s low net approval, the Liberal party continues to be competitive with the PCs in terms of voter intent (3% difference in PCs favor). While it is clear that the majority of Ontario voters disapprove of Wynne, they may still support her party and its initiatives. Horwath has a positive net approval rating (14%). If the NDP develop some impressive policy proposals that Ontarians are willing to stand behind, it may be the dark horse in this race.
In the wake of low public awareness, Patrick Brown’s ad campaign has had little effect on improving PCs voter intent or his personal approval rating. In fact, PC Party support has softened over the past few months. Conversely, third party organizations such as the Working Families Coalition and WOW have led effective campaigns against Brown that have affected his net approval rating. Brown will have to act fast if he hopes to mitigate the damage such ads have had on his image” – Eli Yufest, CEO of Campaign Research Inc. Eli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (647) 931-4025 ext. 109.
This online poll was conducted by Campaign Research as part of its monthly omnibus study between November 6th to 9th 2018, The study was conducted among a random sample from an online panel of 1,370 Ontario voters whose incentives for participation were handled by the panel provider and who were selected to reflect Ontario’s age, gender and regional distributions in line with 2016 Statistics Canada census data.
A probability sample of this size would have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7%, 19 out of 20 times. Data was weighted by age, gender and region in the Province of Ontario according to 2016 Statistics Canada census data. If you require more information, please contact us as it is available upon request.
The following screening question was asked in order to determine eligibility for participation in the study
"Are you 18 years of age or older and eligible to vote in federal elections?"