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ONTARIO LIBERAL LEADERSHIP RACE RE-ENERGIZES PARTY SUPPORT

PC SUPPORT LIKELY UNDERSTATED

[Ottawa – February 15, 2013] – Kathleen Wynne’s victory as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party appears to have been well-received by the public and the party now stands at 33 per cent, holding a small lead over the Progressive Conservative Party, who are at 29 points, and the NDP, who elicit the support of 26 per cent of eligible voters. This represents a modest improvement in the Liberal Party’s fortunes from two months ago, when it was sitting on the lower end of a three-way statistical tie with the two opposition parties in aftermath of prorogation and Dalton McGuinty’s resignation.

It is not clear, however, whether this rise in support is a nod of approval to Wynne’s performance or whether it is merely a blip arising from the extensive media coverage the party has received over the last few weeks. It is not unusual for political parties to enjoy a temporary surge in support after the election of a new leader. For example, in the wake of Michael Ignatieff’s ascension to leader of the federal Liberal Party, we saw the party catapulted into a commanding leader over the ruling Conservatives, only to watch as the party plummeted helplessly to its disastrous third place finish in the 2011 federal election.

In any case, this rise in support would seem to suggest that Ontarians are at least somewhat receptive to extending the shelf life of current government, at least for the time being. This, coupled with the recent slide of the PC and NDP may curb their enthusiasm for an early election.

Much of the PC’s support appears to be concentrated among men, while the NDP is highly popular with women. Liberal support is more demographically balanced, although it is skewed somewhat towards those with a university education. Liberal support remains unrivalled in the core of the Greater Toronto Area, although the rest of the province is evenly divided among all three parties, with the exception of the Eastern Ontario where the NDP is not competitive.

Finally, it should be noted that support for the Ontario PCs and, to a lesser extent, the Ontario Liberals, is likely understated, as much of their support comes from seniors and baby boomers – groups with the highest propensity to actually get out and vote. The Ontario NDP and Green Party, meanwhile, rely heavily on younger generations and will find their biggest challenge to be motivating a demographic that routinely flakes out on Election Day.

Click here for the full report: Full Report – Ontario(February 15, 2013)

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