Poll says Ontario voters ‘less likely’ to vote for Scheer this fall thanks to Ford
|Toronto Star 06 Jun 2019 at 19:09|
A majority of Ontario voters are “less likely” to vote for Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer in the fall federal election due to Premier Doug Ford’s policies, a new poll suggests.
The Corbett Communications survey for the Star found 54 per cent of respondents said the actions of Ford’s Progressive Conservatives would have an impact on their federal voting choice.
Among federal Conservative voters 21 per cent said they were less likely to vote for Scheer because of Ford’s policies.
“Ford is a huge anchor on Scheer,” pollster John Corbett said Thursday.
Perhaps mindful of that, the premier’s office has adjourned the Ontario legislature until Oct. 28 — one week after the federal election.
“He is a danger for the (Scheer) Tories,” Corbett said of Ford, whose popularity has plunged to the low levels of his Liberal predecessor, Kathleen Wynne, thanks in part to service cuts from the April budget.
About one-third — 31 per cent — of respondents said Ford’s policies would have no effect on their ballot this fall while 15 per cent didn’t know.
Using Maru/Blue’s Maru Voice Canada online panel, Corbett Communications surveyed 1,555 Ontario voters on Tuesday and Wednesday. It is an opt-in sample, but for comparison purposes a randomly selected sample of this size would have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Ford’s officials insisted they did not extend the summer break, which was to have ended Sept. 9, in order to help the federal Tories.
Scheer’s office said in a statement that “nobody in the office of the leader of the official opposition was in touch with Premier Ford’s office about his decision to adjourn the legislature.”
As Ford on Friday marks the first anniversary of his majority victory over Wynne’s Liberals, Corbett said the premier appears to be in a tailspin.
“He’s lost 11 points since our last poll,” he said.
That’s a reference to the Corbett Communications survey in May that found 24 per cent approved of the job the premier is doing compared with 66 per cent who disapprove and 10 per cent who were unsure.
His overall -42 per cent approval last month has sunk even lower.
Only 18 per cent approve of Ford’s performance with 71 per cent disapproving and 11 per cent unsure for a -53 per cent ranking.
Corbett noted that compares with Wynne’s ratings at her lowest ebb in the run-up to last year’s election.
“This is awfully far down,” the pollster said.
Indeed, 61 per cent agreed with the statement that “Ontario is moving in the wrong direction” while only 25 per cent agreed with the statement that “Ontario is moving in the right direction.”
However, the Tories still lead in party support with 32 per cent compared to 27 per cent for the New Democrats, 26 per cent for the Liberals, and 13 per cent for the Greens.
“That’s the institutional vote for the Tories. You’ve got to look where it’s gone — from 40.5 per cent (in last June’s election) down to 32 per cent. But when you get down to the personalities behind the leaders, he loses points,” said Corbett.
Asked if “Doug Ford should step aside in favour of another leader,” 62 per cent agreed and 25 per cent disagreed and 13 per cent didn’t know.
“When his popularity is as low as it is — even among members of his own party — it may be time to think about that,” he said, pointing out that 19 per cent of Progressive Conservatives polled feel Ford should move on.
With the premier poised to shuffle his cabinet as part of a “reset” of the government, Corbett said showcasing his more talented ministers might be a prudent course of action.
The survey suggests some of Ford’s signature policy initiatives, such as expansion of beer and wine sales into corner stores, are not being well received.
A majority — 52 per cent — said the Tories should not break the contract with the Beer Store that would enable further liberalization of booze retailing.
Some 27 per cent said the government — which passed legislation to that effect Thursday, though there are no immediate plans to enact it — should end the 10-year agreement signed in 2015.
In its poll question, Corbett Communications did not mention the government’s potential financial penalties of up to $1 billion payable to the major breweries for breaching the accord.