February 21, 2018 7:00 am
Updated: February 21, 2018 2:33 pm

Ontario PCs still ahead in provincial election despite rocky month: Ipsos poll

More than a dozen supporters showed up to cheer on Patrick Brown as he met with the provincial nominations committee to learn if his bid to run for the bid leadership has been approved. Kamil Karamali has more.

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The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party is still very much in the driver’s seat when it comes to the upcoming provincial election, despite a tumultuous past few weeks and not having an official leader, a new poll shows.

The PCs would receive 38 per cent of the vote if an election were held tomorrow, an Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News shows. That’s up two points since a similar poll in December.

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READ MORE: Patrick Brown expected to learn on Wednesday if bid for Tory leadership can proceed

The Liberals would get 29 per cent, while the NDP would get 26 per cent. Eighteen per cent of respondents are undecided, the poll notes.

The poll was conducted between Feb. 15 and 19, a span of days that included Patrick Brown’s surprise entrance to the Ontario PC leadership race, weeks after he was ousted from the job amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Brown’s sudden departure left the party without a leader only four months before the province’s June election.

WATCH:  A look back on Patrick Brown’s resignation, PC leaderships

“The demolition derby that is the Conservative Party right now hasn’t been reduced in electability,” Ipsos president Darrell Bricker told Global News.

Bricker said the most important finding of the poll was the voting spread of respondents from the Greater Toronto Area.

The region, which has over 70 seats in Queen’s Park, had 26 per cent of respondents vote PC, over 17 per cent for NDP and 16 per cent for the Liberals. Thirty-two per cent of respondents said they were undecided.

“If [the PCs] are leading by that much, they’re poised to form a majority government,” Bricker explained.

That question was asked without mentioning leaders’ names, but the poll also looked at the party leaders’ – and potential leaders’ – favourability ratings.

READ MORE: Wellington, Kitchener Tory MPPs throw support behind Christine Elliott

Premier Kathleen Wynne was at the bottom with a 16 per cent rating. She was even beaten by Brown, who had an 18 per cent favourability rating.

The other PC leaders (Christine Elliott, Caroline Mulroney and Doug Ford) had a rating of around 22 per cent.

The NDP’s Andrea Horwath had the best favourability rating, at 30 per cent.

Leadership candidates in close race

The poll checked how each PC leadership candidate, and a “random-name” or a fabricated leader, would fare in the election.

In each scenario, Ontarian respondents hypothetically voted out Kathleen Wynne.

Every named PC leadership candidate defeated the Liberals, despite any controversy. The only scenario where the PCs didn’t take the government was the one with “random-name” Jim Smith as leader. In that case, Horwath and the NDP grabbed a victory.

WATCH: Ontario PC leadership candidates square off in debate

Bricker explained that it’s “not about the personalities.”

“All of them are seen as roughly equivalent — or some that have higher levels of negative reaction like Patrick Brown,” Bricker said.

“But even with those high levels of negative reaction, they still become the premier by a fair amount.”

Per cent of popular vote among decided respondents

With who as leader of Progressive Conservative Party?% PC Vote% Liberal Vote% NDP Vote% Other Party
Christine Elliott37%22%30%11%
Caroline Mulroney38%22%30%11%
Doug Ford39%24%27%10%
Jim Smith29%24%35%12%
Patrick Brown40%23%27%10%

 

Ford and Brown had the highest unfavourability ratings, so Bricker said the safest bet for the PCs would be to go with Mulroney or Elliott.

“You take a look at Caroline Mulroney or Christine Elliott, both of them do reasonably well against Kathleen Wynne and their negatives are lower, so looks like a more acceptable option, I would say,” Bricker said.

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.”

This Ipsos poll on behalf of Global News was an online survey of 802 Ontarians conducted between Feb. 15-19. The results were weighted to better reflect the composition of the adult Canadian population, according to census data. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is considered accurate to within plus or minus 4.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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