Ontario’s electorate appears hungry for change. Yet, if an election were held tomorrow each of the main parties would be jumping out of the starting blocks at the same position.
A new Ipsos Reid/CTV poll shows that polled voters have placed the three parties in a dead heat – with the Progressive Conservatives at 34 per cent and the Liberals and NDP both at 31 per cent.
This is a statistical tie, given that the poll’s margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points. The results further show Tim Hudak is the least popular of the leaders: Only 28 per cent of respondents said the Tory Leader would make the best Premier, compared to Premier Katheen Wynne (31 per cent) and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath (32 per cent).
The closeness of the race indicates that Ontario may be again heading into minority government territory when the next election is called, unless any of the parties can raid another’s stronghold – or sway that substantial part of the electorate (16 per cent) who remain undecided.
By far the biggest issue is the economy and jobs, which 24 per cent of voters picked as the most important.
The Ipsos Reid poll found the next most important issues to be health care and government accountability, at 11 per cent each.
In terms of the decided voters, the Liberals remain strongest in the City of Toronto, with 43 per cent of the decided vote.
Meanwhile the Tories have a seeming lock on the suburbs around Toronto (48 per cent). The NDP, meantime, has been locking blue-collar support in Southwestern Ontario (43 per cent) and Northern Ontario (53 per cent).
A majority of the Ontarians surveyed (69 per cent) said it was time for another party to lead the province, which the Liberals have been running for the past 11 years. The poll found Liberal support to be the softest of all of the parties.
Over all, Liberal support has slid since the 2011 election, almost all of lost support seeping to the NDP. Levels of Conservative support have remained constant, according to the poll.