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NEW POLL: ONTARIO TORIES LEAD, NDP IN SECOND PLACE, LIBERALS DROP 11 POINTS TO THIRD

Environics: PC 37%, NDP 30%, Libs 27%, Greens 6%

by Susanna Kelley

New poll results obtained exclusively by OntarioNewsWatch.com show provincial voters favour Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives to win power should the Liberal minority government fail in its negotiations to get New Democratic Party support for its budget.

What's more, the Environics Research Group poll shows the New Democrats have surged to second place, while the Liberals have fallen behind to third.

The poll pegs the Tories at 37 percent support of decided voters, the NDP at 30 percent, and the Liberals at 27 percent. Six percent of Ontarians would support the Green Party.

The results may explain the more conciliatory tone taken by Premier Dalton McGuinty and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan since last weekend about talks with Andrea Horwath's NDP.

Negotiations with the New Democrats in advance of the April 24 budget vote are said to be picking up speed.

Environics says the results indicate a three way split.

"The Liberal decline is a product of a budget that hasn't been well received or well positioned, the ORNGE issue and to a lesser degree the weakness of the federal Liberal brand," said Darren Karasiuk, VP of Public Affairs for Environics Research Group.

"The NDP have made the most of the Liberal loss," he said Wednesday. "The Tories, not so much."

In the riding-rich Greater Toronto Area, however, the Liberals are still fairly strong. They have the support of 37 percent of those polled, while the PC's are at 34 percent. The NDP are the favourite of 24 percent. (The GTA definition used by Environics Group includes both the so-called "416" area and some of the "905" belt outside of Toronto, so named for their telephone area codes.)

But in the rest of Ontario, 39 percent of those asked would vote Tory if an election were held today. 34 percent would vote NDP, and just 20 percent would mark their ballot for the McGuinty Liberals.

"The Liberal stronghold is shrinking geographically," Mr. Karasiuk said.

When it comes to gender, men who left the Liberals went predominantly to the Conservatives, while the NDP was the beneficiary of dissatisfied women. This follows a traditional pattern.

Overall, 43 per cent of men polled favour Tim Hudak's Tories, 22 percent the NDP, 28 percent Liberals, with Greens at six percent.

Women, on the other hand, moved to Andrea Horwath's New Democrats, with 37 percent favouring that party. The PC's female support now stands at 30 percent, the Liberals 26 percent and the Greens at six.

"The NDP may also be enjoying a bit of a bump because of the high profile nature of its recent federal leadership contest," Mr. Karasiuk noted.

Overall, the Liberals have fallen 11 points since the provincial election in October 2011, when they took 38 percent of the popular vote.

The PC's are up two points from 35 percent, while the NDP has surged by seven from 23 percent last fall. The Greens increased their support by three percentage points.

The telephone poll of 500 Ontario adults was conducted April 10-13. Environics says the margin of error for a sample this size is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points at 95 times out of 100.

You can find Susanna here: @susannakelley

About Susanna Kelley

Susanna Kelley is Editor-in-Chief and Queen’s Park Bureau Chief for Ontario News Watch. A veteran political and investigative reporter, documentary-maker, host and media commentator, Susanna oversees and has final editorial control over all news production at Ontario News Watch. Susanna has reported for the CBC, the Canadian Press and served as Queen’s Park Bureau Chief for TVOntario for 13 years. She has also hosted a number of documentaries for CBC’s The Current, CBC Radio News and TVOntario’s Studio 2. Passionately dedicated to excellence in political journalism, and having covered both Parliament Hill and Queen’s Park, Susanna believes quality political reporting is essential to a healthy democracy. You can find Susanna here: @susannakelley
Posted date : April 18, 2012

View all of Susanna Kelley's columns
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