The latest Nanos Research poll on Ontario voter preferences shows the Tories still in the lead with 41 per cent support, down 3 per cent from a month ago. Dalton McGuinty’s Grits are second with 34 per cent, down one per cent, and the NDP trails with 19 per cent, up a full three percentage points.
Thirty per cent of the 503 respondents said PC leader Tim Hudak would make the best premier, while only 25.3 per cent approved of Premier Dalton McGuinty. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath gained ground to 15.7 per cent approval from 9.7 per cent in March.
The news here is the apparent New Democrats’ momentum—the Dippers’ support is trending up with a three-point gain in the past month and a six-point increase since February 2011. And their leader, Andrea Horwath, is also on the rise in personal popularity, begging the question as to whether Ontario voters are considering giving the Dippers another chance to run the province. With a little over four months to go and after the NDP surge in the federal election, anything seems possible.
I’d feel more comfortable regarding Tory prospects if PC leader Tim Hudak had more business-friendly policies leading up to the election campaign, and if there wasn’t so much talk about cancelling energy contracts and opposing HST. This coming election will hinge more on economic policy—read jobs, jobs, jobs—than on any other factor, except perhaps for health care.
The PCs have slipped three percentage points since the last poll, despite Mr. Hudak’s hammering of the government on bureaucratic mismanagement and exorbitant-and-still-soaring energy bills. Perhaps he’ll begin to reverse the worrisome slippage in support with his pre-election promise on Tuesday, when he said he’d add another $6.1-billion to health care funding over a four-year term using savings from the “bloated” Ontario bureaucracy.
[Source: Nanos Research, which queried Canadians between May 14 and 15 in a random telephone survey of 503 Ontarians. For 438 decided voters, the poll is accurate plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.]