A majority of Ontarians believe the province is headed in the wrong direction but the Liberal government still has more support among voters than the opposition, according to a new poll released Wednesday.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Global News, shows support for the Liberal government has risen 5 points to 40 per cent since they gave their throne speech on Sept. 12. The Progressive Conservatives, under the leadership of Patrick Brown, have seen their support fall to 35 per cent. Meanwhile, under the leadership of Andrea Horwath, the New Democrats have also seen a decline in their numbers as well – down 3 points to 20 per cent.
While the results of the poll, which was conducted from Sept. 19-22, show the Liberals have made made recent gains among the public, they still have plenty of work to do before the next election.
More than half of Ontario voters (62 per cent) believe the province is headed in the wrong direction while just a quarter of voters believe Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government deserves re-election (25 per cent).
“It looks to me like it has as much to do with what the options are, as opposed to how people are reacting to this specific government,” Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, said.
On Tuesday. Ipsos released another poll suggesting voters weren’t happy with the recently announced hydro rebates. Fifty-three per cent declared the Wynne government didn’t go far enough.
Bricker said he was surprised by Wednesday’s numbers considering results of the hydro poll paired alongside other recent polls which had been showing the Conservatives ahead in public opinion. While he was surprised by the poll, he pointed to Wynne’s other numbers which were reminiscent of another recent Canadian leader.
“If you look through the poll and you look at things like approval, whether the province is on the right track or the wrong track, whether or not people approve of the premier – all the numbers are not very good,” he explained.
Given the NDP is a distant third behind both parties in voters’ opinion, it might seem strange that Andrea Horwath is the party leader who Ontarians said they believe would make the best premier in the poll.
“(She’s) the most popular leader,” Bricker said. “She’s certainly more popular than the premier but the party itself – the brand of the NDP – is not doing very well right now. And there is probably some influence of what happened in federal politics spilling over a little bit into Ontario politics.”
Horwath (37 per cent) is slightly ahead of Brown (35 per cent) while both are well ahead of Wynne (28 per cent).
All the numbers released Wednesday raise a huge question going forward for the PC party, according to Bricker.
The Ipsos poll was conducted between September 19 to 22, 2016. For this survey, a sample of 800 Ontarians from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The poll is accurate to within +/ – 4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Ontarian adults been polled.
With files from Tania Kohut