Ontario Liberals trail Tories and NDP: poll

TORONTO – The Liberal party may be losing its allure for voters, a new poll suggests.

The poll, conducted for Global News, the National Post and Newstalk 1010 by Ipsos-Reid, reveals that Ontarians prefer the Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservative Party ahead of both the NDP and the Liberals.

If a provincial election were held today, 37 per cent of voters would support Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak while just 29 per cent would support the NDP and 28 per cent would support the Liberals.

(The difference between the NDP and Liberals falls within the +/- 3 percentage point accuracy of the poll, – leaving the two parties effectively tied.)

That gives Progressive Conservatives a greater edge on their opponents than an EKOS poll conducted April 3-10, which gave them 31.7 per cent, compared to the Liberals’ 30.8 and the NDP’s 25.5 per cent.

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“This is a government that has had a chance in the last two months to really establish what it stands for, who it is, what it leads on, and the numbers show that it’s flat. It hasn’t emerged that way,” John Wright, Senior Vice President of Ipsos-Reid said.

But that Tory lead can be misleading: Prior to the 2011 election that gave Dalton McGuinty a minority government, the Conservatives held a large lead in polls, with support among as much as 42 per cent of respondents.

As Premier Kathleen Wynne prepares to reveal her budget next week, opposition parties with the power to bring down the government may be emboldened: This poll suggests the majority of Ontarians think it’s time for another party to government the province.

Sixty-six per cent of Ontarians, according to the poll, believe it is “time for another political party to take over.”

That leaves just over a third who believe the “government has done a good job and deserves re-election.”

While the Liberal brand may no longer be as attractive to Ontario voters, Kathleen Wynne remains popular.

In the two months since Wynne took the reins of the Liberal party, the majority of voters believe she is “doing a good job.”

But a large minority – 41 per cent – disagree.

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The majority of voters also think she is “fair and reasonable” (66 per cent) and “addressing the issues that matter most to me” (54 per cent).

But while the majority approve of Wynne’s performance thus far, she is statistically tied with Hudak and NDP leader Andrea Horwath in who Ontario voters think would make the best premier.

All three leaders were statistically tied in terms of trustworthiness, but voters’ opinions of them varied significantly in other categories.

Conservative Tim Hudak beat out the other two leaders in the economic categories but was also chosen by 44 per cent of respondents as the most likely to have a hidden agenda.

Wynne and Horwath were also seen as more likely than Hudak to be open to ideas and willing to compromise for the greater good.

Respondents chose Wynne as the best person to manage the education system despite recent troubles created with the passage of Bill 115 which stripped teachers of bargaining rights and caused months of strike actions.

The poll was conducted by Ipsos-Reid between April 12 and 17, 2013 on behalf of Global News, the National Post and Newstalk 1010.  The poll surveyed 1,360 Ontarians in an online interview. It is considered accurate within +/- 3 percentage points.