Million Dollar Jobs Plan Driving Campaign Agenda; Wynne still leads as Best Premier

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Yesterday, we reported that the Liberals hold a seven-point lead over the Tories but that the race is closer among likely voters.  While a majority of eligible voters in Ontario want change and only 27% think the Liberals deserve to be re-elected, a large portion are not yet ready to pass judgment on the Wynne government.

The stable horse race numbers mirror perceptions about the political party leaders. While NDP Leader Andrea Horwath continues to have the most favourable personal numbers (or the least negative), Kathleen Wynne continues to have the advantage on who would make the best Premier.  Among eligible voters, she leads Tim Hudak by six points with Andrea Horwath well back in third. There is little evidence in our data that Horwath’s more aggressive posturing last week has had much impact on her support.  While her personal numbers are still stronger than other leaders, there’s still a large portion of the electorate who have a neutral impression of the NDP leader.

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In this release we also report on the effectiveness of campaign promises announced during the campaign.  It is clear that the PC Party’s Million Jobs Plan has dominated the campaign.  Two in three eligible voters say they have heard a lot about both the jobs plan and the promise to cut 100,000 jobs.  While the plan to create a million jobs is overly popular, the public sector cuts is not.  These findings demonstrate the liability the promise to cut jobs has had on the Hudak campaign, despite the fact that they set the campaign’s agenda early on.

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The findings also suggest that while popular, the NDP promises have not cut through all the noise created by the PC/Liberal debate over economic management.  Horwath’s promise to introduce tax credits, free tuition, and remove the HST off of electricity bills is popular with voters.  But, those promises have failed to break through as only one in four voters report hearing much about them.

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The 2014 election has switched from a referendum on the Liberal government to a referendum on Hudak’s Million Jobs Plan.  Tonight, Hudak needs to do what he can to shift the focus back on the Liberals.

Key Findings

  • Andrea Horwath continues to have the best leadership evaluation among eligible voters.  Her net impression is +5, compared with  -8 for Kathleen Wynne and -23 for Tim Hudak.
  • Kathleen Wynne has opened up a 6-point lead over Hudak on who would make the best Premier.  27% of eligible voters selected Wynne, followed by Hudak at 22%, and Horwath at 16%.  36% of eligible voters are unsure, down 5-points from last week.
  • Wynne is now in the lead or tied as best Premier among all age groups.  Among female voters she has a 12-point lead over Andrea Horwath.  Hudak has a small marginal lead as best Premier over Wynne among men.
  • In this report, we also looked at how well the campaigns have set the agenda with their campaign promises.
  • Overall, Tim Hudak’s Million Jobs Plan and promise to cut 100,000 public sector employees are the most well known promises.  Two thirds of eligible voters say they have heard a great deal or a fair bit about both promises.  Wynne’s promise to introduce an Ontario Pension Plan was third at 44% followed by Hudak’s promise to set up a judicial inquiry into the cancelled gas plants at 41%.
  • Although voters are more likely to have heard about Hudak’s Million Dollar Jobs plan, voters are divided on the cuts to the public sector – 32% support the cuts while 53% are opposed.

Methodology

The survey was commissioned by the Sun News Network and conducted online with 1,000 respondents who are eligible to vote in Ontario. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of Ontarians, recruited and managed by Research Now, one of the world’s leading provider of online research samples. The survey was conducted from May 28 to 31, 2014.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys.   The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.  The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 875 committed voters of the same is +/- 3.4 %, 19 times out of 20.

Likely voters were identified by creating a six-point scale based on seven questions about a respondents interest in politics, their intention to vote, whether they have voted already, and the attention they have paid to the election campaign.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Ontario’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding. For more information please contact David Coletto, CEO at david@abacusdata.ca or at 613-232-2806.