Jobs, deficit talk paying off for Hudak as new poll shows increasing support

New polling numbers show that Tim Hudak’s message of cutting spending and taxes may be helping the Progressive Conservative leader capture an early lead in the Ontario election.

The Tories top an Oracle Research poll released Thursday with 42 per cent support, leaving the Liberals well back at 31 per cent and the NDP with 25 per cent.   The polling data is similar to recent surveys showing Hudak within striking distance of a majority government.

Oracle Poll research conducted 1,000 phone interviews between May 2nd to May 5th, before the official campaign began but after the NDP’s decision to oppose the Liberal budget triggered an election.  Results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 per cent.

But if they like his policies, selling voters on Hudak himself may be toughter: The PC Leader continues to be hampered by low personal popularity numbers, finishing last in this recent poll with a dismal 28 per cent compared to 42 per cent for NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and 40 per cent for Premier Kathleen Wynne.

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Hudak can take comfort that his campaign’s focus on jobs seems to address one of the central issues for voters in this campaign: 23 per cent said unemployment is their main concern.  All three party leaders are attempting to position themselves as having the best plan to “create jobs,” but it’s the number two and three top concerns of those polled that could spell trouble for the Wynne Liberals: Twenty-one per cent say the deficit is the top concern, while 11 percent say it’s rising utility costs.

The proposed Liberal budget includes higher taxes for the rich and big businesses as well as significant increases in spending, puts the deficit up more than a billion dollars to $12.5 billion for 2014-15. The Liberals have also presided over a decade of steadily increasing hydro bills, and the defence the government inherited a broken system when it won power more than a decade ago is wearing thin.

Seven in 10 of those polled said they want change, something all party leaders are trying to represent change, including Wynne, who repeatedly notes she’s new to the job, and not a facsimile of her scandal-plagued predecessor Dalton McGuinty.