Ont. Liberals seven points ahead of Tories: Poll

Premier Kathleen Wynne. Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

Premier Kathleen Wynne. Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 7:40 PM ET

TORONTO — Ontario Liberals have opened up a seven-point lead over the Progressive Conservatives among eligible voters, according to an Abacus Data poll.

Kathleen Wynne's Liberals have the support of 37% of voters, with Tim Hudak's PCs at 30% and Andrea Horwath's NDP at 24%.

The online poll found the Liberal head start over the PCs shrinks to two points — a statistical tie — among those who say they are likely to vote.

Abacus Data CEO David Coletto said Ontarians would see a minority Liberal government almost identical to the one that was just dissolved if these numbers stand until election day on June 12.

"The Liberals have gained over the Tories, but it's still very close among those that are probably going to vote. If everybody had to vote, the Liberals would probably be headed to a majority at this point," Coletto said.

"The Liberals, over the course of the campaign, have improved — the only party to have actually improved among all voters out there."

With just over a week to go until voting day, that puts a lot of pressure on Hudak and Horwath heading into Tuesday night's televised leaders’ debate, he said.

Hudak needs to reassure Ontarians that he can create jobs without stripping them of public services they cherish, added Coletto.



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In Toronto on Monday, Hudak said he's hoping to convince voters of his sincerity during the debate.

Horwath's role in the debate, likely the toughest, is to convince viewers that she's a safe alternative to the Liberals without attacking Hudak so strongly that she drives support to Wynne, Coletto said.

"Based on these numbers, Kathleen Wynne just has to hold her own," Coletto said.

The Abacus Data poll found lots of voters haven't paid much attention to the campaign, and those who have are not generally thrilled with their choices.

The pollster asked Ontarians if they would be "delighted, dismayed or wouldn't mind" a Wynne, Hudak or Horwath government.

The poll found that 17% would be "delighted" with a Liberal government, and another 17% were peachy with the idea of the Tories in power.

"So, only one out of five Ontario voters would be delighted with any of the potential outcomes of the election,” Coletto said.

"That demonstrates to me that there's not a lot of excitement for any of the choices being offered to voters right now."

Voters were least "dismayed" at the prospect of a NDP government, but didn't show much enthusiasm for one, he said.

The PCs drew a strong reaction with 44% of Ontarians polled saying they would be "dismayed" if they formed government.

For Hudak, the numbers mean he has little room to grow his support, but he can take solace in the fact that his voters are the most committed to actually showing up at a ballot box, he said.

Abacus Data surveyed 1,000 eligible Ontario voters online May 28-31 with a margin of error of 3.1%.


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