The Liberals have cut into the Progressive Conservatives’ lead, but are still underperforming with their base. These findings come from INNOVATIVE’s latest online survey of 818 Ontario residents, weighted to n=700, conducted from May 12 to May 16, 2022.
The Tories lead the Liberals by 5 points, 36% to 31%. The Liberals are now pulling away from the NDP, who are holding steady at 23%.
The Liberals’ reversal of fortune has come from several key voter blocs.
Almost 1-in-5 voters do not identify as Progressive Conservative but still like or support Doug Ford (18%). This has been a source of strength for the Tories in this election. Last week, the PCs led the Liberals among this group 45% to 28%. This week, the Liberals lead the PCs among this group 40% to 32%.
Clustering Ontarians into six major groups based on shared values, the Liberals have made meaningful gains among groups that have historically been part of their coalition. Since last week, the Liberals have broken the three-way tie among Left Liberals and overtaken the NDP among Core Left voters. Meanwhile, the Tories have slipped among Business Liberals, Thrifty Moderates, and Populist Conservatives, and gained with Deferential Conservatives.
The number of Ontarians who believe that the election is a two-horse race between the Liberals and Conservatives (53%) has rebounded from last week (48%).
The Liberal Party’s numbers have improved, but Steven Del Duca’s continues to struggle on favourability and questions of leadership. Almost 1-in-3 Ontarians have a neutral opinion of Del Duca or don’t recognize him, and only 1-in-4 say they have a favourable impression of him (24%).
Del Duca also continues to underperform with the Liberal base on the question of who would be the best premier. Just 2-in-5 Liberal partisans say Del Duca would be the best premier (39%), well behind both Doug Ford and Andrea Horwath with their core supporters.
Satisficing numbers have held fairly stable week-over-week. Currently, 46% said they would like to hear more before making up their minds, while 47% say they have heard all they need to make up their minds. Unaligned voters are the likeliest to say that they would still like to hear more (57%), followed by voters who identify as Liberal (52%).
Time for a change
However, many voters who think it is time for change remain conflicted. The number of Ontarians who believe it is time for a change in government, but also believe that the PCs are the best option to form government sits at 15%. More than 1-in-7 voters conflicted about “time for a change” with just two weeks to go. This ambivalence remains an advantage for the Tories.
Despite Del Duca’s struggles, the Liberals appear to be gaining ground on the Tories in the horserace. A sizeable segment of voters remain conflicted about “time for a change”, and many have yet to make up their mind about their vote. The final weeks of the campaign will matter. Time is on the Tories’ side. Momentum is not.