If it's change versus more of the same, many Ontario voters may be ready to dump the current Liberal government — even some who think the Grits have "done a good job."
That’s according to a Campaign Research poll, provided exclusively to QP Briefing. The poll’s findings suggest that two-thirds of Ontarians — 64 per cent — want a new, non-Liberal government in power at Queen’s Park.
A desire for change exists among voters who think the Liberals have run the province well, the poll found. Of the 64 per cent who support fresh faces in charge, 18 per cent agreed the government “has done a good job, but it’s time to give someone else [a] chance.” The other 46 per cent said the view closest to theirs was that the Liberal government “has done a bad job, and should not be re-elected.”
Sixteen per cent agreed that the Liberal government has done a good job and deserves another term in power and 11 per cent had no opinion. Nine per cent said the government had blundered, but was “better than the alternatives.”
However, 30 per cent of voters who identified themselves as provincial Liberals were open to throwing the Grits out as well, the poll found.
The findings are the latest bummer for the Ontario Liberals, who have seen positive movement in some surveys, but have mostly spent the past few years trailing the Progressive Conservatives in the polls. The July Campaign Research poll is no different, as the Tories had the support of 38 per cent of those surveyed, the Liberals were at 31 per cent and the NDP were at 23 per cent.
What’s more, Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s approval rating remains stuck in the teens, less than a year away from the next provincial election. Only 17 per cent approved of her, the poll found, while PC Leader Patrick Brown earned the approval of 30 per cent of respondents (although 47 per cent said they didn't know what to make of him). Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was still the most popular provincial party leader, with 38 per cent approving of her.
“After the Liberals experienced a bump in approval several months ago, party standings have normalized and not changed materially in recent weeks,” said Campaign Research CEO Eli Yufest in a release. “Patrick Brown remains largely unknown to the electorate and if this doesn’t change, the Liberals and Premier Wynne may find a way to capitalize on that.”
Campaign Research also asked its panel a variety of questions, beyond horse-race ones. For example, the firm gave respondents 11 different “priorities” for the government to choose from, and 22 per cent ranked “lowering taxes” as one of their top two, making it the most popular response. The second-most popular was “reducing the cost of electricity for consumers,” with 19 per cent picking it as one of their top two priorities.
In another section, 41 per cent of respondents “completely” agreed that “Premier Kathleen Wynne has gotten Ontario out of balance with too much spending.” That’s despite the Wynne government tabling a balanced budget this spring.
Thirty per cent completely agreed that “Ontario needs a government that will set a totally new direction for the province.” Another 28 per cent wholeheartedly supported that "It’s time for a new generation of leaders to take charge of Ontario."
The online poll surveyed 943 Ontarians between July 7 and 10. Campaign Research says a sample of this size would have a margin of error of three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Here's the full poll:ON Horserace Issues release, July 2017