Half of Ontario residents believe the province is on the wrong track, according to an Abacus Data poll released Monday.
The online poll of 1,020 people found that 50% of respondents think "things in Ontario" are on the wrong track, while only 23% believe the province is headed in the right direction. Another 27% of those surveyed between Feb. 6-8 were unsure.
"It's now up to (new Premier) Kathleen Wynne to either prove them right or prove them wrong," Abacus Data CEO David Coletto said. "What our poll suggests is that people don't like the direction the province is headed right now; they recognize there are some problems and things aren't great, but some people are giving her the benefit of the doubt."
Coletto said the key for Wynne will be shoring up support among voters who traditionally vote Liberal.
The poll also suggests that 30% of voters who backed Dalton McGuinty in the 2011 provincial election say the province is on the wrong track."That's a warning sign," he said. "She needs to figure out a way to convince those people that things are now back on track and she was the one who did it."
Another key finding was that 55% of respondents believe that not much will change with Wynne at the helm because she played a major role in former premier Dalton McGuinty's government.
On the other hand, about 45% of those surveyed indicated they are willing to give Wynne a chance, despite the baggage associated with McGuinty's tenure.
"There are about 45% of the population that is at least open to the idea that she will bring change and is hopeful for that," Coletto said.
He added Wynne will need to work at double speed if she is to establish herself and take advantage of feelings of goodwill.Because the sample was not random, a margin of error could not be calculated.
However, polls of this size generally have a margin of error of 3.1%, 19 out of 20 times, according to Coletto.