As first debate looms, Ford and PCs dip as NDP rises
Campaigns matter. We hear it all the time. And it seems more and more they do.
Partisan attachments among voters are weaker. The news cycle is shorter. Politics is more leadership and personality driven and as a result, voters are more volatile than they used to be. All this makes what happens during a campaign matter more than in the past.
That’s why the research team at Abacus Data, in partnership with our friends at Summa Strategies and Spark*Advocacy decided to approach our polling in this election differently. Yes, we will ask people how they plan to vote. But more important, we wanted to understand campaign dynamics better than pollsters usually do. We want to go beyond the horse race.
So we did something that’s rarely done in Canadian public polling, we designed and executed a panel study.
This way, we will be able to track the evolution of Ontarians’ minds in a way not typically done in publicly released election polling. It’s the way we approach our work with clients and part of Abacus Data’s record of innovation in our industry.
Here's what our new polling data finds:
- The PC lead has been cut in half and is down to 6 as NDP support rises.
- The desire for change remains broad and intense. We see no change from the previous wave.
- Doug Ford's personal ratings have become more negative over the past month, Horwath and Wynne have seen more positive impressions.
If there’s a large audience for tonight’s debate on CityNews, the stakes could be high.
Ford needs to demonstrate he’s up to job of being premier and not offensive to the 10% of the electorate that is persuadable and needed for a PC majority.
Kathleen Wynne needs to find a way to get people to see her in a different light. She has to reconnect her motivation and drive to be a public servant with her vision for the province.
Andrea Horwath, more than anyone, must find a way to connect with the large number of Ontarians open to voting NDP. Right now, they are inclined to like her but those impressions are built on flimsy foundations.
Watch this space throughout the week for more on what Ontarians are paying attention to and how party tactics and message frames have been affecting the race.
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