TORONTO: In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll among 881 Ontario voters, one third will vote Progressive Conservative if the election were held today (34%, down from 39% last month), while fewer than 3-in-10 will vote Liberal (29%). In fact, the Liberals are now effectively tied with the NDP (27%) for second place. One tenth claim they will vote Green (8%) and very few will vote another party (2%). It is clear the Liberals (32% in February, 29% now) are losing vote share to the NDP (21% in February, 27% now).
PC minority seen, NDP in opposition
If these results are projected up to a 107 seat provincial legislature, the PCs would take a minority of 52 seats, 3 short of a majority. The New Democrats would claim 32 seats to form the new opposition and the Liberals would take just 23 seats.
Elliott tests best as leader, not so Brown, McNaughton
When voters are asked the electoral preference question with Christine Elliott specified as PC leader, the party’s lead increase (36% to 28%), and the NDP do as well as they do in the generic measure. When Patrick Brown is tested as leader, the PCs the Liberals and the NDP all tie (30%, 30% and 29%, respectively). When Monte McNaughton is tried in the leader’s spot, the parties tie again (PC – 29%, Liberal – 31%, NDP – 29%).
Elliott preferred for PC leader by PC voters and members
When all voters are asked which of the three PC leadership candidates would be best for the job, the plurality chose Christine Elliott (24%), and this exceeds the score for the other two by a factor of four (Patrick Brown – 6%, Monte McNaughton – 7%). The largest group, one third, don’t have an opinion (34%), while just fewer think none of them are up to the job (29%).
Among those who will vote PC, Elliott is more strongly preferred (35%), at about three times the rate of Brown (11%) or McNaughton (15%).
Among paid-up PC party members, Elliott is preferred by as many as half (51%), compared to just one tenth for Brown (10%) and McNaughton (13%). Among members, relatively few have no opinion (11%) or think none are up to the job (14%). Caution: data based on small size of party members.
Premier’s favourables falling, Horwath’s up
One third of voters approve of the job Premier Wynne is doing (33%) and her net favourable score (approve minus disapprove) is a very negative -20. This is down from 36% last month and 40% the month before. In the meantime, Andrea Horwath has seen her approval increase to 40% from 37% last month and 36% the month before that. Her net score is a positive +7, up from -1. Interim PC elder Jim Wilson has approval from less than a quarter (22%) and his net is -4.
Gas plants scandal seen to be more serious than Sudbury by-election
Three quarters of voters are aware of the gas plants scandal (73%), while just half are aware of the more recent Sudbury by-election scandal (50%). Among those aware of both, the gas plants scandal is seen to be the most serious by half (50%), five times as many as those who find the Sudbury by-election scandal the most serious (10%). One quarter find both scandals equally serious (23%), and just fewer find neither serious (16%). Among provincial Liberal voters, this increases to 4-in-10 who find neither scandal serious (40%). More than a quarter of those aware of the gas plants (29%) and Sudbury (27%) claim their minds have been changed by these scandals. Those who now support the New Democrats are the most likely to say their vote decision has changed (34%).
“This no longer appears to be one bad poll for the Liberals, it appears to be part of a losing streak for them, and a gaining streak for the New Democrats, whose eulogy may have been said too hastily. They are showing all the signs of a vibrant opposition party once more. Now to see a majority government trailing mid-mandate in the polls is not surprising, but to be trailing a leaderless party is not a good sign,” said Forum Research President,