With a little over two years to go until the next Ontario election a new poll released Thursday suggests the Ontario Liberals could win a majority government — if they dump Kathleen Wynne as leader.
A Mainstreet/Postmedia poll found the Patrick Brown led PC’s would win if an election were held today with 43 per cent support, well ahead of the Liberals at 28 per cent and the NDP at 23 per cent. However, if the Liberals were to change leaders, the Liberals would have 29 per cent support, the PC’s 28 per cent and the NDP 16 per cent, with 22 per cent undecided.
“As we approach the mid-term of Kathleen Wynne’s mandate, it appears her own popularity lags the Liberal brand drastically,” said Quito Maggi, President of Mainstreet Research. “This reversal of fortunes for the once popular Wynne who outpaced her party brand in June 2014 to lead them to an unexpected Majority is quite astounding but not unprecedented in Canadian politics.”
The next provincial election in Ontario is scheduled for October 4th, 2018.
The poll found if the Liberals replaced Wynne as leader 39 per cent would support the party, 35 per cent would support the Progressive Conservatives and 20 per cent would support the NDP.
“It is reminiscent of other first term Premiers including Jim Prentice and Alison Redford in Alberta & Greg Selinger in Manitoba,” said Maggi. “Like Prentice, Redford & Selinger before her, Wynne’s brand rejuvenated a long serving, tired administration with significant baggage. Her push of the Liberal brand to the left in 2014 outflanked a hapless Andrea Horwath led NDP – but that was then.”
Most recently, the Liberals lost another seat at Queen’s Park to the Progressive Conservatives in the Scarborough-Rouge River by-election. Another by-election is expected to be held for the riding of Ottawa-Vanier, though the seat is vacant right now.
Wynne’s approval ratings have plummeted over the course of the summer, in large part due to skyrocketing hydro rates.
The Liberals announced an 8 per cent hydro rebate last week in an attempt to smooth over relations with Ontarians.
Maggi suggests that Patrick Brown has momentum if he stays focused.
“He just needs to continue and not make mistakes. This is what undid the PC lead in the last election with Tim Hudak and the 100,000 job cuts. Steer clear of these controversial policies.”
Londoners were also of the mindset that Wynne needs to be turfed.
Derek, who is a self-professed Liberal supporter, said he was likely to mark his ballot for someone else.
“Unless there’s a major shift in their policies, yeah (my opinion) could change, but if they keep going the way they’re going, no it wouldn’t change.”
Another Londoner, Elaine, suggested the government should have thought out their spending better, but she’s not sure who else to trust.
“I’m very disappointed in the way things have gone. I think that promises were made that haven’t been kept, I think spending is absolutely outrageous, and I know we have to deal with things like infrastructure, but that should have been prepared for,” she said. “I don’t know who can do it better, but I don’t think it’s the Liberals.”