Major upheaval within the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PCs) as well as the entry of a disruptive political force in Doug Ford in the Party’s hastily organized leadership election has generated unprecedented media coverage over the last two weeks. These events have had a major impact on public opinion.
The PCs began 2017 with a sizeable lead that they sustained until the summer of 2017. By mid-year, the PCs held an impressive 8- point lead over the Ontario Liberal Party (OLP) (PCs=38, OLP=30, NDP=23). In the fall of 2017, the OLP continued to close the gap as they campaigned on populist policies, namely the minimum wage increase, government funded prescription drug plan, and free tuition for eligible students.
Two weeks after PC Leader Patrick Brown’s resignation and the launch of a leadership election, the PCs widened their lead over the OLP and are currently in position to form a majority government. The PCs are currently at 43%, while the OLP sits at 28%. The Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) continues to trail, captivating only 20% of decided voters. The PCs have strong support from voters 35 years of age and older (Age 35-44= 43%, 45-54= 44%, 55-64= 48% and 65+= 51%), as well as both men and woman (Men= 45% and Woman= 41%). Regionally, the strongest voter intent for the PCs came from the GTA (45% in the GTA and 46% in the rest of Ontario, outside the GTA). The OLP has strong support from younger voters (Age 18-24= 47%, 25-34= 31%). Unsurprisingly, the strongest region for the OLP is Toronto, where they continue to hold a significant lead over the PCs (42% to 32%).
Campaign Research’s findings for early February show that any of the major PC Party leaders could form a majority government against the Ontario Liberals lead by Kathleen Wynne, the Ontario NDP lead by Andrea Horwath, and the Ontario Green Party lead by Mike Schreiner.
Christine Elliott scores the highest and would win the largest majority government. (Elliott PC’s= 46%, Wynne’s OLP= 20% and Horwath’s NDP= 23%).
A Ford-led PC Party would garner 39% of the vote while the OLP and NDP would each get 24% of the vote. Conversely, if Caroline Mulroney were leader of the PCs, she would garner 41% of the vote, while the OLP would receive 22% and the NDP would get 25%.
Ford and Elliott are currently tied with Wynne in city of Toronto, significantly threatening Wynne’s voter stronghold. Wynne is ahead of Mulroney by 8 points in Toronto.
Interestingly, Elliott had a significant lead over other PC leadership hopefuls with respect to net “job approval” rating. Elliott scored a +18 (Approve= 32%, Disapprove= 14% and Don’t know/ no opinion= 54%), while Ford had a -7 net rating (Approve= 29%, Disapprove= 36% and Don’t know/ no opinion= 35%), and Mulroney had a +7 net rating (Approve= 27%, Disapprove= 20% and Don’t know/ no opinion= 53%).
“Ontario voters are much more in tune with the coming election because of the major events and media coverage that took place over the last 2 weeks. Patrick Brown’s departure resulted in an increase in support for the PCs. Any of the major leadership candidates could form a majority government at this point.” – said 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 February 9 to 11 2018, The study was conducted among an online panel of 1,426 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 2.5%, 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?