The Ontario Liberals would go from majority government to seven-seat rump if an election were held this week, according to a poll and projection by Forum Research.
In the poll conducted on Wednesday, Forum found 46 per cent of voters said they would cast a ballot for the Progressive Conservatives if an election were held today, 27 per cent said they'd vote New Democrat and only 21 per cent said they'd vote Liberal.
Forum has had the PCs polling in the 40s for most the past two years, with the NDP and Liberals battling it out in the 20s for second place for most of the past year.
But their most recent previous poll, conducted March 29, saw the PCs at 36 per cent, the Liberals at 27 per cent and the NDP at 26 per cent.
The pollster projects this week's poll would translate to 94 seats and a majority government for the PCs, with the NDP serving as official opposition holding 23 seats — while the Liberals would win 7 seats, and lose official party status.
The poll was conducted in the middle of a busy week in Ontario politics. On Monday, the New Democrats released their platform, which includes hiking taxes on the wealthy and implementing subsidized, means-tested day care. Meanwhile, the PCs have been rolling out their first policy announcements, including getting the highly paid CEO of Hydro One fired, lowering corporate taxes and giving minimum wage earners a tax credit for all of their provincial income tax, while freezing the minimum wage.
It was three weeks after the Liberal government unveiled its budget. On Monday of this week, the party unveiled a series of attack ads against Doug Ford.
"The bump in support following the Liberal budget is gone,” said Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research. "The Progressive Conservatives are back where we’ve seen them for the past year, and Doug Ford looks on track to be premier in a few months. While campaigns matter, and it’s hard to count out an effective campaigner like Kathleen Wynne, the fact that the shine from the Liberals’ billions of dollars of promises has already diminished, must be a blow to their chances.”
Forum also asked respondents about some of the PCs' recent policy announcements and found that 50 per cent of voters said that eliminating any provincial income tax would be better for minimum wage earners than increasing their pay by $1, while 35 per cent said the opposite, and 15 per cent weren't sure.
(According to economic analysis, the minimum wage hike from $14 to $15 an hour proposed by the Liberals and NDP results in more take-home pay for minimum wage earners, but critics say increasing the minimum wage results in job losses.)
Forum found opinion on the PC plan to lower corporate taxes is split: 40 per cent said they disapprove of the proposed tax cut, with 26 per cent doing so strongly, while 37 per cent approve, a quarter strongly.
The Liberals would maintain the corporate income tax rate of 11.5 per cent, the NDP would raise it to 13 per cent and the PCs would lower it to 10.5 per cent.
Forum also asked respondents who they believe will win the election. More than half, 54 per cent, said they believe that the PCs will win the provincial election, while 19 per cent said it will be the Liberals and 10 per cent said NDP.
One per cent — "a hopeful few," according to the pollster — said the Greens will win, while 16 per cent said they did not know.
While 87 per cent of PC supporters think the PCs will win, only 54 per cent of Liberal supporters thought their party would win and 27 per cent of New Democrats had faith in their own party.
Forum polled 1,126 respondents by Interactive Voice Response, and says the poll has a margin of error of +/- three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.