Monthly Archives: May 2014

Tim Hudak’s 1 million jobs plan is a tough sell with voters, poll suggests

Nearly two-thirds of Ontarians disapprove of Tim Hudak’s plan to cut 100,000 public servants to streamline government, a new poll suggests.

The Forum Research survey also found‎ 63 per cent do not think the Progressive Conservative leader will be able to create his promised 1 million new jobs, while 26 per cent feel he can deliver and 11 per cent don’t know.

‎Similarly, 26 per cent approve of cutting 100,000 public-sector workers — such as teachers and bureaucrats — while 62 per cent do not and‎ 11 per cent aren’t sure.

“The number is just shocking people. One hundred thousand is a lot,” Forum president Lorne Bozinoff said Tuesday.

“‎They may be too far out there,” Bozinoff said of the Conservatives’ controversial platform pledge to reduce the broader public sector over four years to spur the creation of what the PCs calculate will be 1,030,688 private-sector jobs by 2022.

Indeed, Hudak’s restraint proposal has taken a toll on the party’s popularity as the June 12 election campaign heats up.

Kathleen Wynne’s governing Liberals now lead with 38 per cent support to 35 per cent for the Conservatives, 21 per cent for Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats, and 5 per cent for Mike Schreiner’s Greens.

In the May 2 Forum poll, the Tories were at 38 per cent, the Liberals 33 per cent, the NDP 22 per cent, and the Greens at 6 per cent.

Using interactive voice-response phone calls, Forum surveyed 996 people across Ontario on Monday and results are considered accurate to within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Extrapolating the polling results suggests the Liberals would secure 68 seats in the 107-member legislature, the Conservatives 26, and the NDP 13, said Bozinoff.

“It’s not a huge change in the standings, but it makes a major difference in the seats,” the pollster said of the movement since last week. He noted the Liberals tend to win urban seats by narrow margins while the Tories pile up huge pluralities in rural ridings.

At dissolution, there were 48 Liberal MPPs, including Speaker Dave Levac, 37 Tories, 21 New Democrats, and one vacancy.

In terms of personal approval, Wynne was at 38 per cent (up from 34 per cent on May 2), Horwath was at 35 per cent (36 per cent in the previous poll), and Hudak was 23 per cent (down from 26 per cent).

Hudak told the Star he is not surprised his popularity has taken a hit over his “bold” plan to rein in government spending to eliminate the deficit by 2016-17 — one year ahead of Wynne’s target for balancing the books.

“Listen, this is why I engaged in straight talk early on,” he said, conceding the cutting will be “a tough slog . . . that has to be done.”

A senior Liberal strategist said Hudak’s austerity proposal is “definitely resonating in a negative way.”

“People don’t understand starting a ‘million jobs plan’ with 100,000 cuts,” the Grit said on background.

“It’s a much clearer choice than voters often get.”

Wynne said Hudak’s scheme, which also includes corporate tax cuts, is a “backwards step” that has landed with a thud, allowing her to focus on a “stark” contrast facing voters.

“If you think it’s right to give billions more to already profitable corporations while putting 100,000 of our friends and neighbours out of work, then vote for Tim Hudak,” she said in Toronto.

Horwath insisted her campaign “is doing well” despite her main rivals receiving the lion’s share of media attention.

The NDP chief said she is the only leader putting forward solutions to the problems faced by ordinary Ontarians.

“We are going to continue over the next little while to lay out a number of priorities,” she said Tuesday in Toronto. “People will have a choice on June 12 in terms of what kind of Ontario they want.”

Forum’s poll is statistically weighted by age, region, and other variables to ensure the sample reflects the actual population according to the latest census data. The weighting formula has been shared with the Star and raw polling results are housed at the University of Toronto’s political science department’s data library.




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