Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath
Credits: REUTERS/MARK BLINCH
TORONTO - Ontario residents have yet to get behind any of the provincial party leaders in a big way, according to an Abacus Data poll released Tuesday.
When it comes to the question of who would make the best premier, the online poll of 1,020 people found that NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne each got the nod from 23% of respondents. PC Leader Tim Hudak trailed at 20% and 35% of those surveyed were undecided.
However, people plainly seem to like Horwath the best with 34% of respondents indicating she made a "positive impression," compared to 30% for Wynne and 23% for Hudak.
More proof of Hudak's lack of popularity is a finding that 44% of those polled had a "negative impression" of the Tory leader, compared to 21% each for Horwath and Wynne.
"If you look at these numbers and you're Tim Hudak and you're the Progressive Conservatives, you have to be somewhat concerned," said Abacus Data CEO David Coletto.
Coletto added that he doesn't have a prescription for how Hudak can fix his relationship with voters.
"But right now I think he is holding back the Progressive Conservatives in some way and it's very difficult for a political leader to change perceptions of him," he said.
He added that it's difficult for a leader to pick up points in opinion polls when people don't "personally" like the politician.
Coletto said while not always fair, that's the nature of politics.
"It's not going to prevent you from becoming premier (if a lot of the public doesn't like the candidate), but it's a lot harder to (win)," Coletto said.
He added that it's still early days for Wynne's government and a large portion of public is not sure which of the three leaders would make the best premier.
"That's not necessarily surprising considering one of the key members of that group is gone, Dalton McGuinty," he added.
"It will take some time for the public to assess how those three leaders play out," he added. "There's not one that's significantly more popular than the other, so, all eyes are going to be on how they react to the new legislative session, particularly, how (Wynne) handles her job and managing all the difficult files she needs to deal with."
Since 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.