December 21, 2017 8:15 am
Updated: December 21, 2017 8:37 am

Majority of Ontario residents believe it’s time for leadership change at Queen’s Park: poll

WATCH ABOVE: Improving poll numbers and progressive policies buoy Kathleen Wynne after a rough 2017. Alan Carter speaks one-on-one with the premier.

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With the 2018 provincial election months away, a new exclusive Ipsos poll for Global News finds a majority of Ontarians believe it is time for a change in Queen’s Park.

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At the moment, the poll suggests the incumbent Liberals appear to be in trouble with the Progressive Conservative Party holding the lead. But it is the New Democratic Party who holds the momentum.

If an election were to be held tomorrow, the PCs under Patrick Brown would win with 36 per cent of the decided voters, but those numbers are down three points since Ipsos’ last findings in September. The NDP under Andrea Horwath, however, are up six points, sitting at 28 per cent. That finding ties them with Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals, who have dropped four percentage points.

But overall, 81 per cent of residents polled said they believe it is time for another party to take over.

READ MORE: Wynne says Ontario ballot question will be ‘uncertainty’

“People feeling like they’re not sure what’s coming next,” Wynne told Global News in a recent year-end interview. “That uncertainty – that’s the environment we are operating in. So whether the ballot question will be about jobs or whether it’ll be a cost of living, it will be in that area because it’s that uncertainty.”

“If you’re asking me if we need a political change, well, the people of Ontario will decide that.”

While the vast majority of Ontario residents believe change should happen, a number of variables, including key ridings, candidate popularity and a historically high number of people (one in ten) saying they would vote for a party other than the big three, including the provincial Green Party, that could shift voters one way or the other. Seventeen per cent of voters surveyed remain undecided.

The 905 ridings around the GTA appear to be the tightest race. With the Liberals at 34 per cent and the PCs at 32, they are statistically tied factoring in the margin of error. The NDP sit in third with 24 per cent.

The popularity of Horwath is the “wildcard,” according to Ipsos Global Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker. He emphasized that Wynne isn’t very popular and Brown is still relatively unknown. Forty-one per cent of voters believe that Horwath would make the best premier, 37 per cent believe in Brown and Wynne sits well behind at 22 per cent.

What these numbers say is that there is “ample opportunity for these results to shift as the election draws nearer and Ontarians become more familiar with the candidates, leaders and platforms.”

Bricker said the key will be in how the candidates perform during the campaign.

“While Wynne seems to be in a difficult spot, campaigns in Ontario have proven to be highly volatile,” he said. “Wynne is a very tough, proven campaigner.

“Nobody should count her out.”

While uncertainty seems to be the feeling going into the election, Wynne told Global News that she would stay in office if the people were to vote for a minority government.

“If I’m elected back into office, I will do my very best to deliver on our plan, whatever the configuration of the legislature because I believe in what we’re doing and so I’ll work with whoever is in the legislature to make that plan happen.”

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between December 8 and 14, 2017, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 829 Ontarians aged 18+ from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±4.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Ontarian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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