Ontario PCs Take Lead from McGuinty Liberals

THUNDER BAY – For the first time since McGuinty’s Liberals were re-elected in 2007, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives have overtaken them in the polls, according to a new Ipsos Reid poll.

If a provincial election were held tomorrow, the Progressive Conservatives under leader Tim Hudak would receive 36% of the vote (up 4 points since June) among decided voters, narrowly leading the governing Liberals under Premier Dalton McGuinty (35%, down 2 points), who, for the last year, have been steadily declining in support. The NDP, under Andrea Horwath, would receive 18% support (down 2 points) while the Green Party led by Mike Schreiner would garner 11% of the vote (unchanged). Nearly one in ten (7%) voters remain undecided.

The political landscape in Ontario has changed markedly over the last year, likely a result of various scandals and highly-unpopular decisions made by the McGuinty Liberals, and the current sentiment among most Ontarians is that it’s time for a change. Two thirds (64%) believe that it’s ‘time for another provincial political party to take over’, while just three in ten (30%) more closely identify with the notion that the ‘McGuinty government has done a good job and deserves re-election’. Six percent (6%) don’t know which statement is closer to their point of view.

While PC Leader Tim Hudak is relatively new to his post as leader of the party, four in ten (37%) Ontarians believe that he would make the best Premier of Ontario, more than the 29% who say that current Premier Dalton McGuinty would make the best Premier. On Election Day in 2007, 41% thought that John Tory, at the time, would make the best Premier of Ontario, while just one in three (33%) thought that McGuinty was the best man for the job.

By comparison, two in ten (21%) believe that Andrea Horwath would make the best Premier, and one in ten (13%) believe Mike Schreiner would make the best Premier of Ontario.

Just one in three (32%) Ontarians believe that the province is on the ‘right track’, while the vast majority (68%) believes the province is heading in the ‘wrong direction’, which likely helps explain why the Liberals are beginning to lose their lustre. In fact, on Election Day in 2007, six in ten (60%) Ontarians thought the province was on the right track (representing a 28 point drop over three years), and four in ten (40%) thought the province was moving in the wrong direction (representing a 28 point rise over three years).

The data also reveal how the party leaders stack up with regards to various leadership characteristics, as Ontarians were asked to identify which leader is best described by each trait:

  • Someone you can trust: Tim Hudak (33%), Dalton McGuinty (27%), Andrea Horwath (25%), Mike Schreiner (15%)
  • Someone who will get things done: Tim Hudak (41%), Dalton McGuinty (31%), Andrea Horwath (20%), Mike Schreiner (9%)
  • Someone who has what it takes to lead Ontario: Tim Hudak (41%), Dalton McGuinty (30%), Andrea Horwath (20%), Mike Schreiner (9%)
  • Someone who has a vision of Ontario that you can support: Tim Hudak (40%), Dalton McGuinty (24%), Andrea Horwath (23%), Mike Schreiner (13%)
  • Someone who has a hidden agenda: Dalton McGuinty (56%), Tim Hudak (24%), Andrea Horwath (12%), Mike Schreiner (8%)
  • Someone who is open to the ideas of others: Tim Hudak (28%), Andrea Horwath (27%), Mike Schreiner (25%), Dalton McGuinty (20%)
  • Someone who knows when to compromise for the greater good: Tim Hudak (33%), Dalton McGuinty (28%), Andrea Horwath (26%), Mike Schreiner (12%)
  • Someone who is best to manage the economy: Tim Hudak (43%), Dalton McGuinty (29%), Andrea Horwath (21%), Mike Schreiner (7%)
  • Someone who is best to manage taxpayers dollars: Tim Hudak (38%), Dalton McGuinty (25%), Andrea Horwath (21%), Mike Schreiner (15%)
  • Someone who is best to manage the future of the provincial healthcare system: Tim Hudak (37%), Andrea Horwath (26%), Dalton McGuinty (25%), Mike Schreiner (12%)

These are the findings of two Ipsos Reid polls conducted exclusively for the National Post, Global Television and NewsTalk 1010: The telephone poll dealing with vote intention and time for change was conducted from August 3 to 19, 2010. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 800 adults living in Ontario was interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population living in Ontario been polled. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample’s regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Ontarian population according to Census data.