31 January 2018 (Toronto, ON) – The departure of Patrick Brown as PC leader has moved Ontario voters to the “undecided” column and not to the Liberals or NDP, a new Mainstreet Research survey finds.
The poll surveyed 1932 residents of Ontario aged 18 and over between January 29th and 30th. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.23% and is accurate 19 times out of 20.
“Among all voters, we note a small decline in those saying they would vote Liberal while those saying they would vote NDP remains largely unchanged,” said Quito Maggi, President and CEO of Mainstreet Research.
The undecided rate has increased substantially from just 13.5% in early January with Patrick Brown as PC leader to over 2 in 10 voters under a Caroline Mulroney PC leadership (21.5%), more than a quarter under a Rod Phillips leadership (26.8%) and just under 2 in 10 under a Doug Ford led PC party (16.6%).
“The underlying numbers point to volatility in the Ontario electorate, even though the numbers on the surface point to very little change or an increase for PCs among decided voters,” Maggi added.
Among those who said they are undecided over all three potential leadership candidates, approximately 37% indicated the events of the past week had no effect on who they would vote for and they would still consider voting PC. A small number surprisingly said it would make them more likely to vote PC (<2%).
“The remaining almost seven in ten voters are now inaccessible to the PCs,” added Maggi. “This points to a ceiling for the opposition PCs and possible gains for the Liberals and NDP as we get nearer to the election.”
The PCs would see significant gains among women compared to a Patrick Brown-led party, including a very significant lead for Caroline Mulroney over Kathleen Wynne among women (+14.3%).
All potential PC leadership candidates would fare well vs Kathleen Wynne and hold significant leads over the Premier, but the smaller regional differences between Doug Ford and Kathleen Wynne point to a narrower path to forming a majority government with Ford as leader.
“Caroline Mulroney appears to be the PCs best option, but these first impressions based on name recognition alone, could change substantially once voters get to know her,” Maggi continued. “That said, her lead comes off the back of her strong performance with female voters compared to Phillips and Ford.”
“Although Doug Ford would not fare as well as Mulroney and Phillips, the undecided vote is lowest with him as the PC leader,” said Maggi. “That known quantity may be a plus if he wins the leadership race.”
“Rod Phillips does surprisingly well despite being lesser known among the candidates, and the high undecided rate with him at the helm of the PC party could be an opportunity or a risk,” Maggi concluded.