No Clear Frontrunner as Ontario Campaign Enters Final Week

Andrea Horwath has a higher approval rating and momentum score, but Doug Ford is seen as a superior economic manager.

Vancouver, BC [June 1, 2018] – Voters in Ontario are almost evenly divided between two options to change their government, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of Ontarians, 39% of decided voters say they will cast a ballot for the Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in their constituency in this month’s provincial election, while 38% will support the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.

The governing Ontario Liberal Party is a distant third with 18%, followed by the Ontario Green Party with 4%.

Only 30% of Ontarians who voted for the Liberals in the 2014 provincial election are sticking with the party this year. The Liberals are losing more than a third of last election’s voters (37%) to the New Democrats and one-in-five (20%) to the Progressive Conservatives.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath has the highest approval rating of all contending leaders (52%), followed by PC leader Doug Ford (33%), incumbent Premier and Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne (27%) and Green Party leader Mike Schreiner (20%).

Horwath also has the highest momentum score of all leaders at +9 (27% of Ontarians say their opinion of the provincial NDP leader has improved since the start of the campaign, while 18% say it has worsened). On this indicator, Ford is at -35 and Wynne at -27.

When asked who would make the best premier for the province, 28% of Ontarians select Horwath, while 23% choose Ford. Wynne is once again third with 15%, followed by Schreiner with 3%.

Ontarians regard Ford as the best person to handle the economy (32%), provincial finances (30%), hydro (also 30%), jobs (29%), crime and public safety (27%), transportation projects (25%), and energy and pipelines (also 25%), while Horwath is ahead on dealing with housing, homelessness and poverty (36%), seniors care (35%), health care (33%), child care (30%) and education (28%).

Horwath and Ford are almost even on accountability (26% and 25% respectively), while Horwath and Schreiner are practically tied on the environment (22% and 21% respectively).

The most important issue facing Ontario is heath care (24%), followed by the economy and jobs (21%), housing, poverty and homelessness (18%) and government accountability (14%).

“This election is particularly close because of the performance the two main opposition parties,” says Mario Canseco, President at Research Co. “Doug Ford has retained a sizeable proportion of voters who backed his party four years ago, while more than half of Liberal voters from 2014 currently approve of Horwath’s performance as leader of the NDP.”

Results are based on an online study conducted from May 29 to May 31, 2018, among 701 Ontario adults, including 603 decided voters in the 2018 provincial election. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.7 percentage points for the entire sample and +/- 4.0 percentage points for the sample of decided voters, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.


Photo Credit: Andrijko Z.