Half of Ontario voters now support Progressive Conservatives, poll suggests

Half of Ontario voters now support Progressive Conservatives, poll suggests

Support among Ontario voters for the Progressive Conservative Party has hit Trudeau-like levels in the new year, a new poll suggests.

The recent telephone survey, conducted by Campaign Research and provided to QP Briefing on Thursday, found 50 per cent of those polled would vote PC if a provincial election was called.

“One half the vote share is an important milestone for an opposition party to reach; not only would a majority be guaranteed, but the kind of mandate most parties can only wish for would result,” said Eli Yufest, CEO of Campaign Research, in a release.

The Campaign Research poll was done on Jan. 29, and reached 676 random Ontario voters over the telephone using Interactive Voice Response software. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

After the Tories, it’s a long way back to the other parties in the poll. The survey found 28 per cent support for the Liberals and 15 per cent for the NDP. Campaign Research (whose principals include the former PC Party president) also discovered that nearly a third of the respondents who voted Liberal in 2014, would switch their vote to the PCs in the next election.

UPDATE: One of PC Leader Patrick Brown's key advisers says that even the Tories don't see themselves doing that well.

The Campaign Research poll, and its 22-point lead for the Tories, is the first public one released on Ontario voter sentiment this year. However, it is also the latest in a series of surveys that found the PCs are the most popular party in the province.

And while it may be a new year, it appears Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne is still drawing similar support in her personal polling. Just 19 per cent of those surveyed told Campaign Research that they approved of the job Wynne is doing as premier (a November poll from Forum Research pegged her approval rating at 13 per cent). Another 67 per cent told Campaign Research that they disapproved of Wynne’s performance and 14 per cent said they didn’t know.

Wynne hasn’t taken her unpopularity lying down, and has vowed to fight on and lead the Liberals into the next provincial election in June 2018. Declaring that they have heard Ontarians concerns about everyday costs, Wynne and her government brought in an 8-per-cent hydro rebate for households and recently quashed Toronto Mayor John Tory’s proposal for road tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway in the name of affordability.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was the most popular party leader in the Campaign Research poll, drawing nods of approval from 38 per cent of voters. Of those polled, 33 per cent disapproved of Horwath and 29 per cent had no opinion.

PC Leader Patrick Brown drew an approval rating of 28 per cent, but he was also the party leader who most voters didn’t know what to make of – 37 per cent of respondents said they weren’t sure about the job he was doing and 35 per cent reported they disapproved.

Nevertheless, the poll also found that Brown was the most popular choice for premier, albeit within the margin of error. The Tory leader received the support of 28 per cent of those surveyed on who would make the best premier, while Horwath drew 24 per cent support and Wynne 16 per cent. “None of these,” collected the support of 25 per cent of respondents.

“We are a year and a half out from the election, of course, but Mr. Brown is currently in a very commanding position,” said Yufest.

To contact the reporter on this story:
gzochodne@qpbriefing.com
416-212-5913
Twitter: @geoffzochodne

Geoff Zochodne

Geoff Zochodne joined QP Briefing in 2014 after working as a reporter, photographer and editorial writer for The Oshawa Express weekly newspaper. He is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. To contact Geoff: gzochodne@qpbriefing.com 905-926-8026 Twitter: @geoffzochodne

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