Innovative Research released a poll this week headlined Early Signs Positive for Wynne. The poll suggests all may not be lost for the Ontario Liberals now that they have changed leaders. In particular, it is clear from the poll results that being a lesbian is not going to be a political liability for Wynne. TC thinks this is part of a broader shift of public opinion to a positive view of homosexuality. Half of the poll sample believe that it is a "good thing" Ontario has a lesbian Premier and another 28% express neutrality on the subject. Just 9% strongly disagree. Being a woman is also an asset, as 71% agree that "It's exciting to have a woman as Premier."
From the perspective of the Liberals, the poll has another key finding. Only 30% either strongly or somewhat agree with the statement "After the past few years, I am so angry at the Ontario Liberals, I will never vote for them again." (See page 26 for the results discussed). So, despite all the floundering of the McGuinty government, enough of the electorate is still open to voting to Liberal to give the party more than faint hope.
More interesting is the specific challenge that must be met. When asked what was "the single most important change" hoped for from Wynne, some 17% want an end to the teachers' dispute (this was the most frequent response and the number rises to 21% if we include only those who had a response). Support for the NDP has risen significantly since the last election but if Wynne reverses the rightward drift of the Ontario Liberals some could move back.
The survey also found only 8% wanted a balanced budget/deficit reduction or control of spending. As my previous post argued: austerity is not the path to political success. In this survey, of those offering a response, over half wanted action on the teacher's dispute, improved health care, education, social issues or immigration. A collection of responses I would label as reflecting a right-wing outlook commands only 17.5%.
I discovered this survey on a posting on the ThreeHundredEight.com site. The site also aggregates recent Ontario polls. Over the past two months while Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak has been aggressively releasing a series of very conservative policy papers, support for the party has been the following (beginning with the oldest survey): 37, 35, 35, 33, 32, 30. You get the picture.
Note that the managing director of the Innovative Research Group, Greg Lyle, is a former chief of staff to former Manitoba PC Premier Gary Filmon. The one important qualification one must make regarding this survey is that the sample size at 446 has a somewhat large ± 4.6 percentage points margin of error.