Wynne ahead as “Best Premier” but Horwath has least negative impressions.

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Yesterday, we reported that the Liberals and PCs are tied among committed eligible voters while the PCs have a slight lead among likely voters.  Today, we focus on leadership and how Ontarians view the three individuals vying to be the next Premier.

While NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has the more favourable personal numbers (or the least negative), Kathleen Wynne has the advantage on who would make the best Premier.  This, despite the fact, that the Tories lead the Liberals in vote intention among likely voters.

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Our results indicate that Kathleen Wynne is likely having a positive impact on Liberal fortunes so far.  Her numbers are not  significantly weaker than Andrea Horwath’s and are more positive than Tim Hudak’s.    She’s perceived to be different and a better Premier than her predecessor Dalton McGuinty by a plurality of eligible voters.  More importantly, she’s liked more than the other leaders by voters in the key swing groups we have reported on.

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Wynne also has a more or equally positive brand image than her competitors.  She more likely to be seen as a capable leader and despite all the challenges she’s faced dealing with the gas plants issue, as many voters consider her to be “more honest than most politicians” as they do of Horwath or Hudak.

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The challenges for Tim Hudak persist over his personal image.  The first days of the campaign have not improved his image.  Only 22% of the electorate has a positive impression of him and he trails Wynne on best Premier.  The biggest challenge for Hudak is convincing the OLP/PC swing voters that he would be a better premier than Wynne.  Right now, only 17% consider him to be the best choice for Premier but with 47% of those voters “unsure”, there is still plenty of time to shift perceptions.

Key Findings

  • Andrea Horwath has the best leadership evaluation among eligible voters.  Her net impression is +8, compared with -9 for Kathleen Wynne and -20 for Tim Hudak.
  • Kathleen Wynne leads by six on “Best Premier” among eligible voters.  Wynne 26%, Hudak 20%, Horwath 18%, Unsure 35%.
  • Wynne leads as best Premier among all age groups except for those aged 60 and over.  Among the oldest group of voters, Hudak has a marginal two-point lead over Wynne.
  • Compared to Dalton McGuinty, 40% of eligible voters consider Kathleen Wynne to be a better Premier, 34% consider her neither better nor worse, and 12% consider her to be worse.
  • Despite the challenges faced by the Ontario Liberals, Kathleen Wynne’s personal brand is relatively strong.  She is the leader most likely seen as a capable leader and she is tied with Andrea Horwath when it comes to being “down to earth” and “understanding the problems facing Ontario”.  Most noteworthy, she is tied with Horwath on being “more honest than most politicians.”
  • Among the OLP/NDP swing group (representing about 20% of the electorate), Wynne has a commanding 18-point lead over Andrea Horwath on which leader would make the best Premier.  Wynne was selected by 43% of voters in this group compared with 25% who selected Horwath.  Thirty percent were undecided.

Methodology

The survey was commissioned by the Sun News Network and conducted online with 2,000 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 14 to 16, 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 +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.  The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 1,672 committed voters of the same is +/- 2.4 %, 19 times out of 20. The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’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.

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.