Ontarians Split Between Horwath (38%) and Ford (37%) as Best Premier, with Wynne (19%) Far Behind

But Three in Four (74%) Ontarians Wish There Were Different Party Leaders to Choose from in This Election

The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, Ontario, May 9, 2018 — As the Ontario election campaign officially gets underway this week with the dropping of the writ today, a new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News finds that Ontarians believe that NDP Leader Andrea Horwath (38%; -1pt) or PC Leader Doug Ford (37%, unchanged) would make the best Premier of Ontario, from among the three major party leaders. Few Ontarians say that current Premier and Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne (19%; -5pts) would be the best leader of Ontario.

But it appears that Ontarians are not overly impressed with any of the options they have to choose from: three in four (74% -- 35% strongly/39% somewhat) say that they wish there were different party leaders to choose from in this election. This is a sentiment held by a majority of voters of every party, including 74% of NDP voters, 74% of Liberal voters, and 68% of Conservative voters.

While Horwath and Ford are statistically tied in the eyes of Ontarians for who would make the best Premier, Horwath has the advantage in terms of favourability. Four in ten (40%; +1pt) Ontarians say that they have a favourable impression of Horwath (10% very/30% somewhat), while only one in three (33%; +1pt) say the same about Ford (12% very/21% somewhat). Just two in ten (20%; unchanged) Ontarians say they have a favourable impression of Wynne (5% very/15% somewhat).

Ontarians’ Review of Leadership Candidates

Ontarians were presented with a series of traits and asked which leader was best described by each. Scores for each attribute can be seen in the chart below with tracking comparing back to an Ipsos poll conducted in February. In many instances, Ontarians said that none of the leaders, including Wynne, Ford, or Horwath were fitting of the attributes, or capable of dealing with the issue at hand. Notably, nearly half (49%) of Ontarians lack confidence in the three main party leaders to deal with the traffic gridlock, and four in ten (42%) don’t trust any of them. As well, many (40%) Ontarians indicate that they are not interested in having a beer or coffee with any of the Premier-hopefuls, underscoring the apathy with which they view the party leaders. Ford leads on six of the traits, Horwath leads on seven, and Wynne leads on none of them.






None of these leaders

Protect the interests of cultural, religious and other minorities in Ontario

23% (+7)

13% (-3)

33% (+5)

31% (-9)

Get things done

18% (+3)

37% (+13)

21% (-1)

24% (-15)

Best to manage during tough economic times

18% (+3)

32% (+8)

19% (-)

32% (-10)

Fight for the middle class

18% (+3)

30% (+9)

34% (+5)

18% (-17)

Deal with the traffic gridlock





Tackle Ontario's deficit





Help improve health care

17% (+3)

19% (-)

40% (+12)

23% (-16)

Provide open, responsible, and ethical government

12% (-1)

23% (+5)

33% (+6)

33% (-9)

Values best represent my own

17% (+4)

26% (+5)

28% (+4)

28% (-14)

Make housing more affordable





Someone you can trust

12% (-)

16% (+1)

30% (+8)

42% (-10)

Has the right temperament and maturity to be Premier





Spend taxpayers' money wisely

12% (-)

32% (+11)

24% (+4)

32% (-15)

Sort out the hydro situation

10% (-1)

37% (+16)

21% (-1)

32% (-15)

Stand up for Ontario's interests within Canada





You'd like to have beer or coffee with

15% (+4)

24% (+9)

21% (-)

40% (-13)


Frustration, Anger Fuel Desire for Change

Nearly three quarters (73%) of Ontarians agree that the economy is rigged to advantage the rich and powerful, while 64% say it is hard for them to get ahead. In fact, when jobs are scarce, nearly three in four (65%) Ontarians say that employers should prioritize hiring people from Canada over immigrants.

A majority of Ontarians also express frustration with not feeling cared about by traditional political parties/politicians (68%), and say that the mainstream media cares more about making money than telling the truth (66%). To combat these feelings, Ontarians want a strong leader who can take the country back from the rich and powerful (81%), and a leader who is willing to break the rules (53%).

Ontarians are generally frustrated with the current political climate and express a desire for change. Two in three (64%) say that for them, this election is about making sure the Wynne Liberals are not reelected, highlighting the fact that, above all, this is a “change” election. By comparison, only half (50%) believe that this election is about keeping Doug Ford and the PCs out of office.

© 2018, Ipsos Limited Partnership
This polling release and the data contained in it are the sole and exclusive property of Ipsos. They are NOT designed to support any election outcome or prediction model and no license to use the polling release or the data is either granted or implied by their publication. Ipsos does not endorse, and has no responsibility for the accuracy of, the result of any predictive model that incorporates this polling data. Furthermore, any use of this information to produce polling aggregations or election models without Ipsos’ written permission will be considered a violation of our intellectual property, and Ipsos reserves the right to take appropriate legal action.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between May 4 and 7, 2018, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,197 Ontario eligible voters was interviewed online (789 Ontarian eligible voters aged 18+ from Ipsos' online panel were interviewed online, supplemented by river-based sampling) and by telephone (408 Ontarian eligible voters aged 18+ via live-operator random-digit dialing, dual-frame cellphone and landline). Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all eligible Ontario voters been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Darrell Bricker, CEO
Ipsos Global Public Affairs
+1 416 324 2001

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The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs