Tories pull ahead again in new poll despite strong support for Grit policies

Tories pull ahead again in new poll despite strong support for Grit policies

A raft of progressive policies doesn’t appear to be enough to rescue the Ontario Grits from sinking popularity.

That’s according to the latest public-opinion survey from Campaign Research, released Thursday, that puts the Tories ahead of the governing Grits by eight points — despite the fact more than half of voters are on board with a slew of Liberal-branded policies, including the basic income experiment, a $15 minimum wage and pharmacare.

The online poll gauged the opinions of 1,118 Ontarians, 38 per cent of whom said they would vote Progressive Conservative if an election were held tomorrow, while 30 per cent would cast their ballot for the Liberals. Another 24 per cent would back the NDP, and 7 per cent would support the Greens.

It’s a slip from a Campaign Research poll last month that had the Grits and Tories in a virtual dead heat — in May, the Liberals rallied 37-per-cent support and the PCs garnered 34 per cent, which was within the poll’s margin of error. The latest numbers may also salt Liberal wounds — a Forum Research survey earlier this week suggested the Grits would be relegated to third-party status in the next election, scheduled for June 7, 2018.

Per Thursday's survey, provided exclusively to QP Briefing, nearly 30 per cent of people who voted Liberal in the June 2014 election — and helped carry them to a majority government — would not do so this time around. Instead, 15 per cent said they would cross over to the PCs and 13 per cent would opt for the New Democrats.

“This change in voter behaviour was not present among those who voted for either PC or NDP parties in the last election,” the poll added.

At 18 per cent, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s personal likability is bleak – 69 per cent of those surveyed said they disapproved of the job she is doing as Premier, and 13 per cent weren’t sure how to feel about her. That’s consistent with a Mainstreet Research survey published Thursday which places Wynne dead-last in a popularity contest between all of Canada’s first ministers, with just 19-per-cent approval in her home province.

Tory Leader Patrick Brown boasts a 30-per-cent approval rating, according to the poll. Twenty-one per cent disapproved, and a whopping 49 per cent said they didn’t know what to make of Brown, who has yet to detail planks of his platform. That won’t happen before the PC policy convention this November.

Ever the most popular leader, captain of the NDP Andrea Horwath was endorsed by 41 per cent of respondents — which is about double the support for her party. Just as many folks, 41 per cent, said they weren’t sure how she’s doing as leader, and 18 per cent disapproved.

But the poll contains a silver lining for the Grits, whose smorgasbord of progressive policies appears to be resonating with many voters — even if that support doesn’t translate to approval ratings.

“While Ontario Liberals are, once again, in second place, their signature initiatives, including the minimum wage, the basic income, youth pharmacare and the three week vacation promise have become very popular,” said Eli Yufest, CEO of Campaign Research, in a release.

For instance, 78 per cent of respondents gave the thumbs-up to expanded vacation provisions for employees that have been with the same company for five years, while 65 per cent approved of OHIP+, which will cover prescription medication for everyone until their 25th birthday starting next year.

The Grit pledge to gradually up the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019 garnered support from nearly six-in-10, or 59 per cent. About half, 51 per cent, supported the three-year basic income pilot project.

Campaign Research’s latest survey was conducted between June 9 and June 12, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Ontario Horserace June 2017

To contact the reporter on this story:
Twitter: @sabrinananji

Sabrina Nanji

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