Ontario Politics: PC 35, NDP 31, OLP 28

Ontario Politics: PC 35, NDP 31, Liberal 28, Green 5
51% of Ontarians think province is headed off on the wrong track

Download detailed tables here

According to a new provincial survey by public opinion firm Abacus Data, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party has a four point lead over the Ontario NDP among decided voters in the province.  The incumbent Ontario Liberal Party is in third with 28% of decided voter support.

As Ontario Liberals decide who will become their next leader and the next premier, vote intentions among decided voters remains quite tight.  The PCs have a slight lead over the NDP, but the incumbent Liberals are not far behind.

The PC Party leads by four points outside Toronto and the GTA over the NDP (PC 39% vs. NDP 35%) while the Liberals, PCs, and New Democrats are statistically tied in the area surrounding and including Toronto (OLP 32%, PC 31%, NDP 28%).

Party

2011 Provincial Election

Abacus Data Poll
Decided Voters

Change

Ontario Liberal

37%

28%

-9

Ontario PC

35%

35%

NC

Ontario NDP

23%

31%

+8

Ontario Greens

3%

5%

+2

Other parties

2%

1%

-1

Most troubling for the Ontario Liberals should be their weakness outside of the Toronto area.  Right now they are trailing the Tories by seventeen points and the NDP by thirteen in the rest of the province outside of Toronto and the GTA.

Support for the PC Party is where it was at the 2011 provincial election.  Tim Hudak has not been able to grow PC support despite the weaknesses of the Liberals.

23% of Ontarians are “Undecided”

A large block of Ontarians remain undecided about which party they would support if a provincial election was held at the time of the survey.  Overall, 23% said they were not leaning towards voting for any party.  Most significant, 20% of those who voted for the Ontario Liberals in 2011 said they are undecided – the highest number of undecided for any party’s previous supporters (OLP 20% undecided, PC 11% undecided, NDP 8% undecided).

Many former Ontario Liberal supporters are in a holding pattern.  Many are likely waiting to see the outcome of the leadership race.  While the Liberals currently trail to the NDP and Tories, if those undecided former Liberal voters return back to the Liberal fold, the Liberals will be back in the game.

A Majority of Ontarians believe the province is off on the wrong track

When asked whether things in Ontario are headed in the right direction or if they are off on the wrong track, 51% believed they were off on the wrong track compared with 24% who believed things were headed in the right direction.  Another 24% were unsure.

Among those who voted for the Ontario Liberal Party in 2011, 38% believe things are headed in the right direction while 41% believe things are off on the wrong track.

Don’t count the Ontario Liberals out at this point.  Many people wrote them off in 2011 and they came back and won the election. While a lot of their former supporters aren’t happy with how things are going in the province, a new leader and a fresh approach could put them back into contention.  The electorate is quite volatile so anything could happen if there’s a spring election.

Ontario Liberal Leadership Candidates

All survey respondents were asked their impression of the seven men and women running to replace Dalton McGuinty as Liberal leader and Premier of Ontario.

Overall, Gerard Kennedy was the most known of all the candidates among all respondents and among those who voted Liberal in 2011.  He also received the highest favourable rating with 44% of Ontario Liberal voters saying they have a favourable impression of him while 24% of all respondents viewed him favourable.

Among 2011 Ontario Liberals, Kathleen was viewed favourably by 25%, followed by Sandra Pupatello (22%), Glenn Murray (18%) and Eric Hoskins (15%).  Both Charles Sousa and Harinder Tahkar were largely unknown and only 9% and 6% of 2011 Liberal voters had a favourable impression of them.

The downside to a short leadership selection process is that the candidates don’t have much time to build awareness among the general public.   Except for Gerard Kennedy, none of the Liberal leadership candidates have a substantial public image.  Whoever wins will have to work hard to build profile and an image with the public and past Liberal Party supporters.

Methodology

The survey was conducted online with 821 respondents living in Ontario in English and French using an internet survey programmed and collected by Abacus Data. A random sample of panelists was invited to participate in the survey from a panel of over 150,000 Canadians.  The survey was completed from December 7 to 8, 2012.

Since the online survey was not a random, probability based sample, a margin of error could not be calculated.   The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association prohibits statements about margins of sampling error or population estimates with regard to most online panels.

The margin of error for a probability-based random sample of 821 respondents using a probability sample is +/- 3.4%, 19 times out of 20.

The data was weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Ontario’s population according to age, gender, education level, and region.

These questions were posed as part of the Abacus Data monthly Omnibus survey.