News

PCs still ahead in popular support: poll

Shawn Jeffords, Political Bureau Chief

By Shawn Jeffords, Political Bureau Chief

PC Leader Patrick Brown, Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. (Postmedia file photos)

PC Leader Patrick Brown, Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. (Postmedia file photos)

Is that the best you’ve got?

Ontario’s Liberal government has seen a bounce in its approval numbers after a string of high-profile measures to shore up support over the last two months. But according to a new Forum Research survey provided exclusively to the Toronto Sun, it hasn’t been nearly enough to knock the front-running Progressive Conservatives out of majority government territory if a vote were held today.

The PCs still lead in popular support with 41%, the Liberals have 28% support and the NDP trail with 23%. That would put the Tories on track to win 72 of the Ontario Legislature’s 122 seats in 2018. The Liberals and NDP would win 25 seats each.

From its 25% hydro rate cut to its bid to cool the red-hot housing market to the youth pharmacare plan, none of the government’s recent high-profile announcements seems to have done enough, says Forum Research President Lorne Bozinoff.

“It’s given the Liberals a bit of a bounce,” he said. “The bounce is limited to the 416. In the rest of the province, the Tories continue to have a big lead ... They’ve had their big budget announcement. They’ve had a big housing announcement. What else is there that they can offer people. The cupboard is bare in terms of future measures.”

And Bozinoff says even the rebound in the 416 has only pulled the Liberals, with 36% support, back into a statistical tie with the PCs, who have 34% support. That’s bad news for the Liberals whose traditional stronghold is Toronto, with the Tories normally not in the mix.

“The fact that we’re even talking about it being a neck-and-neck race in the 416 ... is unheard of,” he said. “It’s a situation we haven’t seen in Ontario in a long time.”

Bozinoff said the PC numbers have softened since a February Forum survey pointed to a “super-majority” for the party if an election were held in February. But if you’re PC leader Patrick Brown you’re likely still happy with the figures, he added.

“This was the Liberal’s big chance to sort of reboot themselves and move on,” he said. “They just didn’t get much of a bounce for it.”

The poll was conducted May 9 and 10 and was a random sampling of 1,103 Ontario voters. Forum Research considers it accurate +/- 3%, 19 times out of 20.