Post-election, Wynne's favourables up, Horwath’s down

| Filed under: Ontario

Christine Elliott favoured for PC leader

TORONTO JULY 3rd, 2014 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 810 Ontario voters three weeks after the provincial election, 4-in-10 now approve of the performance of Premier Wynne (41%), up from just more than a third before the election (June 9 - 36%). Her net favourable rating (approve minus disapprove) has increased dramatically from -17 to -3. In contrast, Andrea Horwath's approval has dropped from one third (34%) to about one quarter now (28%), and her net score has worsened from -13 to -19.


Among six listed contenders for the now vacant PC leadership, Christine Elliott draws the interest of one fifth in total (21%) and one quarter among PC voters (25%). Next is John Baird, with about one seventh of the vote (14%) among PC voters and one tenth in total (9%). He is followed by Lisa MacLeod, favoured by a tenth of PC supporters (11%) and a twentieth in total (6%). Few among party supporters opt for Lisa Raitt (3%), Doug Ford (6%) or Tony Clement (7%), and one sixth choose someone else (15%).

One third think Horwath should resign

In total, just more than one third of Ontario voters think Andrea Horwath should resign as leader of the NDP (35%), while just more think she should not (43%). One fifth have no opinion (21%). Among NDP supporters, however, this proportion is just one eighth (16%), and fully three quarters think she should not step down (73%).


One quarter of 2011 New Democrats voted Liberal this time

One quarter of those who voted NDP in the provincial election of 2011 voted Liberal in this election (25%), while one tenth of 2011 Liberals voted PC this time (10%). A similar proportion of Liberals voted NDP this time (9%), while one tenth of past PC voters supported the Liberals this time (10%).

Liberals voted for best leader; not so PCs/NDP

When asked what motivated them to choose the candidate they did, the plurality of voters say they voted for the party with the best economic plan (22%), followed by those who voted the best candidate in the riding (17%). After this, vote motivators include voting for the party one usually votes for or the one with the best leader (12% each), voting for the best anti-corruption plan (7%) and, last, voting the best transit plan (2%). One fifth say some other reason motivated their choice (21%), and about a twentieth have no clue (7%).

PC voters overwhelmingly voted for the best economic plan (40%) or the party with the best local candidate (18%), while Liberals voted primarily for the best leader (29%), followed by the economic plan (16%), the best local candidate (15%) or because they are the party always voted for (14%). New Democrats voted for the best local candidate (19%), the best economic plan (16%) and the customary party (17%), as well as the party best able to combat corruption (14%).

It is interesting to note that while Liberals are especially likely to say they voted for the party with the best leader (29%), PC supporters (3%) and New Democrats (4%) are unlikely to do so.

Wynne preferred for all attributes except fighting corruption

When asked to rate the leaders for the same attributes for which voters were asked their voting motivation, Kathleen Wynne is preferred for all except having a plan to combat corruption, on which attribute she narrowly cedes the lead to Tim Hudak (22% vs 19%). On all other attributes, Wynne leads, Hudak comes in second and Horwath comes in third, including inspiring the confidence she can lead the province to prosperity (37% to 21% for Hudak and 15% for Horwath), having the best economic plan (33% to 28% to 16%), having the best transit plan (33% to 17% to 14%) and having the best local candidate (29% to 28% to 18%).


Conclusion

While the issue of corruption cut into Premier Wynne's image and had a negative effect on her campaign, it was not the most important issue in the minds of voters, and they saw the Premier as better able to handle the issue which was top-of-mind, the economy. In addition, she was seen to be a stronger leader than either of the others, even among their own supporters. The combination of a strong leader combined with strong candidates and a superior economic plan proved to be the winning combination in this election.

 

I think the real loser here is Andrea Horwath, in that she entered this election with good favourables and high personal popularity, unlike Tim Hudak. While the poor perception of Hudak essentially never changed, Horwath's eroded considerably from the day she declined to support the budget, and it may prove difficult to rebuild it. Nevertheless, only a minority of the general public think she should resign, and even fewer New Democrats," 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.