With less than a week to go before election day, a new poll has found four in 10 Ontarians think Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford would make the best premier for the province.
The poll, conducted by Ipsos exclusively for Global News found that 40 per cent of respondents said Doug Ford is the best person for the job, marking a one point drop from earlier this month.
Meanwhile, 29 per cent of respondents said Ontario New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath would be the best premier for Ontario, while 22 per cent said the same of Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca.
The survey, conducted between May 17 and 19, found that Ford was more popular among men (46 per cent) than women (34 per cent).
The poll also found that Ford was more popular among older age groups with 49 per cent of those aged 55 and older saying he would make the best premier. However, that dropped to 40 per cent among those in the 35-54 age group, and further to 27 per cent among those aged 18 to 34.
Ford was also more popular among respondents with a higher income. The survey showed 46 per cent of Ontarians who make +$100,000 said they think Ford would make the best premier. That number dropped to 40 per cent among those who make between $60,000 to under $100,000, as well as those who make $40,000 to under $60,000. The number dropped to 32 per cent among those who make under $40,000.
Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, told Global News that Ford is “matching the performance of his party,” adding that he is “well ahead” of both Horwath and Del Duca.
“At 40 per cent he’s well ahead of both of his competitors, and actually, even slightly better than his party’s performance right now,” he said, adding that Ford is looking “pretty strong.”
The poll also suggests that Andrea Horwath is “secure in her second-place position.”
The survey found that 38 per cent of those with a household income under $40,000 said Horwath would make the best premier, while 35 per cent of those making $40,000-$60,000 said the same. Thirty-one per cent of those making between $60,000 and $100,000 said she would be the best for for the job, however, that number dropped to 20 per cent among those making more than $100,000.
Younger Ontarians were also more likely to say Horwath is the best fit for premier. The poll shows 41 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 years old said the NDP leader is the best fit for the job. Twenty-nine per cent of those in the 35-54 age group said the same. However, that number dropped to 20 per cent among those aged 55 and older.
The survey found support for Del Duca continues to be higher among women (25 per cent) than men (18 per cent).
Del Duca was also popular among those earning more than $100,000 at 27 per cent. However, that number dropped to 24 per cent among those making between $60,000 and under $100,000, and to 16 per cent among those earning $40,000-$60,000. Nineteen per cent of those making under $40,000 said Del Duca is the best fit for premier.
Overall, Bricker said the numbers have moved “very, very little” from the start of the campaign.
“All the polling that we’ve seen through the course of the campaign — it’s almost like there’s no campaign going on.”
Bricker said “almost everything” is a “battle for second place” adding that Del Duca and Horwath are “both trying to compete to be the second best.”
He said “at this stage of the game, it’s really about who is going to form the official opposition.”
“You’ve got the NDP incumbents who are holding what were previously Liberal ridings,” Bricker explained. “So it’ll be interesting to see on election night how well Andrea Horwath is able to fight back against the Liberal attacks and whether or not the Liberals are actually able to make any gains.”
He said both parties are going to claim that they’re the most capable of holding the PCs to account.
“But at this stage of the game, that’s the best they can say,” Bricker said.
Favourable vs. unfavourable
The survey’s respondents were also asked how favourable each of the party leaders are to them.
The data shows a tight race between Ford and Horwath.
Thirty-four per cent of those surveyed said they think Ford is favourable, with 10 per cent saying he is “very” favourable, and 24 per cent saying he is “somewhat favourable.”
Meanwhile, 33 per cent said they think Horwath is favourable, with 10 per cent saying she is “very favourable,” and 23 per cent saying she is “somewhat favourable.”
Del Duca saw a four-point increase in favourability when compared to earlier this month. The survey showed 22 per cent of respondents said he is favourable, with four per cent saying he is “very favourable,” and 18 per cent saying he is “somewhat favourable.”
Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner saw a nine-point increase, with 19 per cent now saying he is favourable, with four per cent saying he is “very favourable” and 15 per cent saying he is “somewhat favourable.”
The poll also found that unfavourability has increased for all candidates.
What’s more, 56 per cent of Ontarians said they wish there were different party leaders to choose from in this election.
A total of 46 per cent of those surveyed said they have an unfavourable opinion of Doug Ford, marking a three point increase over earlier this month.
Meanwhile, 36 per cent said Horwath is unfavourable, marking a seven point increase over earlier this month. Del Duca also saw a seven point jump to 35 per cent, while Schreiner saw a four point jump to 20 per cent.
Bricker said usually in an election campaign “somebody’s performance moves ahead.”
“But all three leaders aren’t impressing particularly strongly, so the status quo — and that’s the premier — is the thing that’s moving ahead here, so neither of his competitors have been able to impact the campaign in a positive way,” he explained.
“As a result of that, what we see is their negative numbers moving up more strongly than their positive numbers.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The original version of this article included incorrect dates about when the survey was conducted. These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between May 17 and 19, 2022, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of n = 1501 Ontarians aged 18+ was interviewed online (n = 1001 though the Ipsos I-Say panel and non panel sources) and by live-operator telephone interview (n = 500 through landline and cellphones). Online respondents earn a nominal incentive for their participation. Quotas and weighting were 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 polls which include non-probability sampling is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Ontarians 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. Ipsos abides by the disclosure standards established by the CRIC, found here: https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/