MACKIE - The
Globe and Mail, Friday, Feb. 28, 2003
Progressive Conservatives will face an unhappy and confused electorate
if they call a spring election because they have lost their brand --
many former supporters are uncertain as to where the party stands, according
to a new Ipsos-Reid poll.
found that as Premier Ernie Eves and the Tories ponder the timing of
a spring election, they are confronted with a slightly diminished level
of popular support and an electorate where a clear majority of voters
think it is time for a change in government.
are given low or indifferent scores in a number of areas where they
used to receive a strong endorsement from voters, such as cutting taxes
and providing honest government.
for the Liberals, however, has also declined slightly. And the government
continues to get good marks for its record in other areas, such as creating
jobs and dealing with crime.
senior vice-president at Ipsos-Reid, said the poll shows that "the
Tories want to go into an election campaign with momentum and it doesn't
appear to be showing up."
found that 43 per cent of decided voters would support the Liberal Party
under Dalton McGuinty if an election were held today, while 36 per cent
would pick the Tories.
per cent would choose the New Democratic Party under Howard Hampton.
Five per cent would opt for the Green Party led by Frank de Jong, according
to the survey, which was conducted earlier this month for The Globe
and Mail, CFTO television and radio station CFRB.
show only slight shifts from similar polls in December and in October,
suggesting that none of the parties has been able to make a breakthrough
in attracting voters, Mr. Wright said.
the Conservatives were supported by 38 per cent of decided voters, while
45 per cent picked the Liberals, 14 per cent preferred the New Democrats
and 3 per cent opted for the Green Party.
were able to win a majority government in the election in June, 1999,
with 45 per cent of the vote, to 40 per cent for the Liberals and 13
per cent for the New Democrats.
to the obstacles facing the Tories is the fact that 57 per cent of voters
say it is time for a change, while 37 per cent say the government should
in May of 1999, 52 per cent said it was time for a change while 46 per
cent said the Tories deserved to be re-elected.
numbers continue a trend against the government that was evident last
June, when 41 per cent of those surveyed favoured re-election and 56
per cent of voters said it was time for a change.
said the survey's results make it less likely Ontario will face a spring
you go to the polls on these numbers? Maybe, if you were sure that you
could have a killer campaign."
that a Tory campaign would need to convince the 15 per cent of voters
who can be swayed that Mr. Eves is a better leader and runs a better
government than would be provided by Mr. McGuinty and the Liberals.
last month found that Mr. Eves was viewed as the leader who would make
the best premier by 42 per cent of those polled, while 26 per cent picked
noted that the survey's results also show signs of vulnerability for
the Liberals, as they have not been able to push up their level of voter
support despite the lack of fervour for Mr. Eves and the Tories.
which was conducted between Feb. 13 and 20, questioned 1,000 Ontario
residents. A sample of this size is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage
points 19 times out of 20.
On a positive
note for the Tories, the government has the approval of strong majorities
for its record in some areas.
per cent like its success in increasing business investment in the province.
Sixty-two per cent are happy with its ability to create jobs. And 60
per cent say it has done well in dealing with crime.
areas, voters are not happy.
cent disapprove of its handling of the education system. Fifty-six per
cent disapprove of its efforts to preserve Ontario's system of health
per cent disapprove of its measures to protect the environment.
are split in two areas that once were strong points for the Conservatives,
areas that were key elements of the Common Sense Revolution that paved
the party's way to office.
per cent approve of the government's record in cutting taxes, while
another 47 per cent disapprove. And only 49 per cent approve of the
Tories performance in providing honest and trustworthy government, while
47 per cent disapprove.
63 per cent disapprove when asked to rate the government in spending
taxpayers' money wisely, while only 34 per cent approve.