The First 100 Days With Premier Kathleen Wynne: Liberal Fortunes Up, Tories Down and NDP Slipping, But Lack of Current Ballot Question, Potential for Growth and No Leadership Frontrunner Suggest Ontario is Anybody’s Game

Friday, May 24, 2013

Toronto, ON – With NDP Leader Andrea Horwath agreeing to support Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal budget, thereby averting an election this spring, a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted for CTV News and CP24 has revealed that the Liberals and PCs are in a dead heat, while Horwath’s NDP remains the dark horse in the three-way race. In fact, the lack of a ballot question defining the debate, strong potential for growth – particularly among the NDP – and no leadership frontrunner suggest that the province of Ontario is anybody’s game in the next election. However, with the NDP support for the budget and no throne speech, it will likely be the budget a year from now that provokes the next confidence vote.

If an election were held tomorrow, 34% of decided voters would vote for Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Liberal Party, up 6 points since last month. It appears that her conciliatory approach in the budget process may well have buoyed her party’s fortunes. The Ontario Liberals are now in a dead head with Tim Hudak’s Tories (34%) who have dropped 3 points since last month. Tim Hudak largely absented himself from the budget debate, stating from the outset that he would oppose it.

The dark horse in all of this remains Andrea Horwath and the NDP. Throughout the budget process she did not commit either way until earlier this week when she decided her party would support the budget. Her initial indecision appears to have set the party back to 26% support among decided voters, down 3 points since last month. Five percent (5%) would vote for some other party, including Mike Schreiner’s Green Party (down 1 point), and 13% are completely undecided on who they would support.

Where the race tightens further is when one considers the potential for movement, and the NDP has the advantage here. Among the 60% of Ontarians who indicated that they had a first-choice vote but were open to having a second choice, the NDP (25%) has a distinct advantage over the Liberals (16%) and the Tories (12%) as the party Ontarians would support second, while 9% would pick another Party (including Green) and 38% don’t yet know who they would pick second. Therefore, depending on whether the NDP can capitalize on swaying those people who are open to voting NDP, they could see themselves being equally as competitive as the Tories and Liberals.

Further evidence of an open race in Ontario is that just 36% of Ontarians believe that the ‘Wynn government has done a good job and deserves re-election’, although this is up 2 points since last month. Conversely, two thirds (64%) of the province believes that it is ‘time for another party to take over’, down 2 points.

Elections matter as they provide an opportunity for issues to be discussed, and, perhaps more importantly, leaders to be showcased. The deadlock in Ontario is likely a function of no consensus among Ontarians about who would be best to lead the province. Currently, one in three (33%, up 1 point) believe that Kathleen Wynne would make the best Premier of Ontario, compared to a similar proportion (31%, down 1 point) who believes Tim Hudak is the best man for the job. Andrea Horwath (29%, up 1 point) is right behind, while Mike Schreiner lags (7%, up 1 point).

One issue that has received much attention lately in the news media is that of accountability, especially given the gas-plant closure review stemming from the last election. Focusing on these issues and leadership, the data reveal that:

  • Andrea Horwath and the NDP have a slight edge (32%) when it comes to being the most likely party and leader to provide the most transparent, open and accountable government to Ontarians, although Premier Wynne and the Liberals (29%) and Tim Hudak and the PCs (28%) are not far behind. Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner trails (10%).
  • Four in ten (39%) believe that the Liberals would be most likely to waste taxpayer’s money, although the Progressive Conservatives (35%) are not far behind. Fewer believe that the NDP (16%) or Green Party (10%) would be most likely to waste taxpayer’s money.
  • The Tories (34%) have a slight advantage when it comes to being the most likely to protect citizen’s pocketbooks and the taxes they pay, although the gap over the Liberals (30%) and NDP (30%) is small. The Green Party (7%) lags.
  • When it comes to doing the best job of providing social services at reasonable levels of taxation, the NDP (34%) and Liberals (33%) are virtually tied, while the Tories (27%) are slightly behind, with the Green Party (6%) far back.
  • Looking at which of the current opposition parties is most likely to provide the most effective opposition, holding the government to account, the NDP (56%) handily outflanks the Tories (35%) in that category, with the Green Party (9%) behind.

Examining the Vote by Region…

The Liberals appear to be doing well in the GTA, but outside of the GTA other parties are more competitive:

  • In the GTA, the Liberals (40%) lead the PCs (32%) and NDP (21%).
  • In Southwest Ontario, the race between the PCs (35%) and the NDP (34%) is tight, with the Liberals (25%) slightly back.
  • In Central Ontario, the Tories (36%) have a lead over the Grits (31%) and the NDP (26%).
  • In Eastern Ontario, the PCs (42%) are also most competitive, staving off the Liberals (32%) and the NDP (24%).
  • In Northern Ontario, the NDP (39%) and Liberals (38%) are tied, with the Tories (22%) well back.

PCs strong among Older Ontarians; Liberals Younger Ontarians… Each party appears to have its bastion of support, pitting demographics like age and gender against each other:

  • The Tories (37%) have a slight advantage over the Liberals (35%) among men, while the NDP (23%) aren’t very competitive among this demographic.
  • Among women, the vote is fairly evenly split among those who support the Liberals (34%), Tories (30%) and NDP (30%).
  • Among those aged 18 to 34, the Liberals (40%) are well ahead of the NDP (32%) and the Tories (21%).
  • Among middle-aged (35-54) Ontarians, the Grits (37%) have a slight advantage over the Tories (33%), with the NDP (24%) trailing.
  • Among those aged 55+, the Tories (44%) have a commanding lead over both the Liberals (28%) and the NDP (25%).
  • Among those who are active on social media, creating content and discussing issues of policy and politics on a regular basis, the Liberals (38%) have a significant advantage over the PCs (29%) and NDP (29%).

(Click to enlarge image)

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between May 15 to 21, 2013, on behalf of CTV News and CP24. For this survey, a sample of 1,772 Ontarians, from Ipsos' Canadian 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 precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/-2.9 percentage points had all adults in Ontario been surveyed. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

John Wright
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Reid
Public Affairs

About Ipsos Reid

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The First 100 Days With Premier Kathleen Wynne:
Liberal Fortunes Up, Tories Down and NDP Slipping, 
But Lack of Current Ballot Question, Potential for Growth and No Leadership Frontrunner Suggest Ontario is Anybody’s Game


John Wright
Senior Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs