Liberals, PCs all tied up in Ontario

| Filed under: Ontario

Liberal minority seen

In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 882 Ontario voters, exactly equal proportions, just more than a third, will vote for the Liberals or the PCs in the upcoming provincial election (36%). This represents a decline for the Liberals since the last time we polled (May 20, Liberals - 41%, PCs - 34%). The NDP will take one fifth of the vote (20%) and this has not changed since last week. Close to one tenth will vote Green (7%), but very few will vote for other parties (1%). The Liberal vote is especially high among Boomers (55 to 64 - 41%), females (39%), high income groups ($80K to $100K - 45%, $100K to $250K - 41%), in the Toronto 416 area code (49%) and in the north (41%). The PC vote is especially common to the oldest (45%), males (45%), mid income groups ($60K to $80K - 49%) and in eastern Ontario (47%). The NDP vote is characteristic of younger groups (under 35 - 25%, 35 to 44 - 26%), females (24%), the least wealthy (30%), and in southwestern Ontario (29%). Of note, 3-in-10 past New Democrats will vote Liberal this time (29%), as will one tenth of past PC voters (11%).

Liberal take 5 seat minority

If these results are projected up to seats in a 107 seat Legislature, the Liberals would take a 5 seat minority of 50, to 42 for the PCs and 15 for the New Democrats. This represents a significant drop in projected seats for the Liberals (from 63 last week) and a commensurate increase in seats for the PCs (from 31).

Wynne's favourables slip

Kathleen Wynne has the approval of one third (34%), down from close to 4-in-10 last week (38%). Her net favourable rating (approve minus disapprove) is -20, well down from -8 previously. Andrea Horwath has the approval of one third as well (34%), and her net is a similar -14, down from -5 last week. Tim Hudak has seen his approval inch up to more than a quarter now (27%), from a quarter last week (25%) and less than that previously (May 12 - 23%). His net, however, is a dismal -36, similar to last week's -34.

Wynne slips as best Premier

Three-in-ten think Kathleen Wynne makes the best Premier (31%), down from a third last week (34%). Well more than a quarter see Tim Hudak in this role (28%, up from 22% last week). Andrea Horwath trails at just one fifth (18%), while one fifth think none of these would do the job well (18%).

PCs lead on jobs/growth, battling corruption; tied on transit

In a testing of attributes important to voters, one third see the PCs as best at promoting jobs and growth (33%), compared to 3-in-10 who pick the Liberals (31%), Fewer think the NDP will be good at this (19%). Three-in-ten think the PCs are best able to handle government corruption (29%), and just fewer think the NDP would be best (24%). Fewer think the Liberals can police this issue (15%). On transit and transportation infrastructure, Liberals (26%) and PCs (27%) are equally likely to be preferred, while the NDP is not (14%).

NDP platform well-liked, PCs' too; Liberals', not so much

When asked directly, the plurality prefer the NDP plan to raise corporate taxes from 11.5% to 12.5% (46%) to the PC plan to reduce corporate taxes to 8% (34%). One fifth opts for neither course (17%). Fully 7-in-10 approves of the NDP family caregiver tax credit (70%), and this proposal is popular with the majority of all party supporters (PCs - 56%, Liberals - 71%, NDP - 90%). One half approve of the NDP promise of a cabinet-level Minister of Savings (51%), while one third disapprove (35%). Disapproval is common to PCs (42%) and Liberals (41%), but also to New Democrats (19%). One half agrees with the PC plan to hold a judicial enquiry into the gas plants controversy (50%), and more than a third disapprove (37%). The PC admission that class sizes will grow is disapproved of by two thirds (64%), including 3-in-10 PC supporters (29%). More than half approve of the PC plan to cut cabinet to 16 ministers (55%), and this is relatively popular with Liberals (37%) and New Democrats (43%) as well as PC voters (90%). Just one half approve of the proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP - 49%), and just fewer disapprove (41%). It is popular among Liberals (80%) and New Democrats (50%), but not PC supporters (17%). There is an even split on the proposed Liberal plan to spend $29 billion on transit and transportation infrastructure (45% approve, 44% disapprove), and this promise is most popular among Liberals (77%) and in Toronto 416 area code (68%).

Honesty and competence valued most in a candidate

More than 4-in-10 said the one quality they most valued in a candidate is honesty (42%), followed by competence (34%). While one tenth value loyalty to the constituent (11%), no other quality breaks one tenth. PC supporters are slightly more likely to value honesty (47%) and loyalty to constituents (15%) than others, while Liberals value competence above other qualities (46%, compared to 31% for honesty). New Democrats are especially likely to value honesty (54%) and less likely than others to value competence (22%).

New Democrats most interested in keeping PCs out of power, not Liberals

One quarter, or the plurality, say the most important attribute in voting for a party is being able to defeat the PCs (25%), followed by about one fifth who opt for promoting transparency and ethics in government (20%) or promoting low taxes and deficit reduction (18%). One seventh say the most important aspect is being able to defeat the Liberals (15%). Among PC supporters, the most important party attributes, cited by more than a third each, are defeating the Liberals (37%) and pushing low taxes and deficit reduction (34%), followed by transparency and ethics (18%). Among Liberals, the most important party attributes are keeping the PCs out of power (49%), followed distantly by transparency and ethics (19%). Among New Democrats, keeping the PCs out of power (37%) is much more important than defeating the Liberals (11%). Transparency and ethics (17%) and low taxes (12%) are also valued.

This was always a very close race between the two leading parties, and we've just seen it get closer still. It is interesting to note that New Democratic partisans are much more likely to fear the PCs winning than the Liberals holding on to power, which well they might, given Tim Hudak's antipathy to organized labour, It's also clear that the Liberals need to continue to leverage this fear by emphasizing PC policies like increasing class sizes and laying off public servants. The PCs, on the other hand, can use the popular concern with government corruption to their advantage. This is something Andrea Horwath has been doing recently, it appears with some success," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.