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Ontarians Side with Teacher Unions


[Ottawa – January 23, 2020] The leaderless (or, more precisely, the ‘official leader’-less) Ontario Liberal Party has now opened up a significant lead over the Doug Ford-led Progressive Conservative Party. The Liberals and the PCs are both up from December, while the Official Opposition NDP has been declining. The Green Party is holding steady at a respectable nine per cent but, as we have seen in the past, much of this does not translate into votes on Election Day.

As in the federal numbers, the largest divide is across education, which is interesting given the public response to Doug Ford’s educational policies and the current teachers’ strike. At nearly 45 points, the Liberals win decisively with the university-educated. In contrast, the PCs, at 48 per cent, do exceptionally well with Ontario’s high school-educated cohort. Education, both as a policy and as a critical demographic divide, is emerging as one of the biggest fault lines in Canadian politics.

When we break down provincial vote intention by federal vote intention, we see that the Ontario PCs are pretty well the federal Conservatives in Ontario. Given the last election, what is going on in Ontario is relevant not only to Doug Ford’s PCs, but also to whoever succeeds Andrew Scheer federally.

Ontarians side with teacher unions

We asked Ontarians about their views on the ongoing labour dispute between the Ontario government and the province’s teacher unions. By a margin of nearly two-to-one (57 per cent versus 30 per cent), the public are siding with the unions, not the Ontario government. Notably, a significant 22 per cent of Progressive Conservative voters are not supporting their party’s position. This would normally not be that troubling for the incumbent, but they party is down nine points from the last election and is now trailing the Liberals; losing even a handful of supporters at this juncture could cost them.

All in all, the Ford Government was already in some difficulty with Ontario voters. This current dispute with the teacher unions is the last thing they need at this point and, depending on the outcome, it could end up crippling their prospects in 2022.


This survey was conducted using High Definition Interactive Voice Response (HD-IVR™) technology, which allows respondents to enter their preferences by punching the keypad on their phone, rather than telling them to an operator. In an effort to reduce the coverage bias of landline only RDD, we created a dual landline/cell phone RDD sampling frame for this research. As a result, we are able to reach those with a landline and cell phone, as well as cell phone only households and landline only households.

The field dates for this survey are January 15-19, 2020. In total, a random sample of 634 Ontario residents aged 18 and over responded to the survey. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 3.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Please note that the margin of error increases when the results are sub-divided (i.e., error margins for sub-groups such as region, sex, age, education). All the data have been statistically weighted by age, gender, and region to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population of Ontario according to Census data.

Please click here for the full report.

Please click here for a copy of the questionnaire that was used for this survey.

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