A poll released the day before the results of the Ontario Liberal leadership race were announced showed just how much of a hill Kathleen Wynne will need to climb as premier.

The Forum Research survey for the Toronto Star put the governing Liberals at 27 per cent support, well behind the Progressive Conservatives at 32 per cent and the New Democrats at 35 per cent. With Andrea Horwath seen as a much more likely partner than the Tories’ Tim Hudak, Wynne will need to use all of her skills of persuasion to prevent the NDP leader from pulling the plug on the Liberal minority government.

In the short term at least, Wynne’s victory is unlikely to have a big impact on Ontarians’ voting intentions. When asked how they would cast their ballot with Wynne as leader of the Liberals, Ontarians hardly budged. Nor were they swayed by Sandra Pupatello as leader, though Gerard Kennedy could have given the party an immediate, though modest, boost.

Beating Dalton McGuinty’s numbers should not prove to be a big problem, however, as his approval rating stood at only 21 per cent on the eve of his departing speech Friday. Hudak, too, has unimpressive numbers, with only 27 per cent approving of his performance as leader of the PCs. Howarth, however, scored 51 per cent approval in the Forum poll, with only 28 per cent disapproving of her performance.

Wynne will face off against her two rivals as soon as the legislature is recalled in a few weeks. Ontarians certainly want their legislators to get back to work: 66 per cent said they think the legislature should be recalled immediately.

They are move divided on whether they want them to continue working, however. While 48 per cent said they felt an election should be held now, 45 per cent disagreed. It is no surprise that a majority of PC and NDP supporters want to head back to the polls, but at 59 and 53 per cent respectively, even the opinion of those who oppose the Liberals is hardly unanimous.

Leading in this poll, there seems to be little reason for the New Democrats to keep the Liberal government on life support. This may be the best chance the party has had at forming the next government since 1990, and the opportunity may slip away. But Wynne does have the potential to eat into Horwath’s support: 28 per cent of NDP supporters thought she was the best choice among the Liberal contenders, compared to only 15 per cent of PC voters. Pupatello, on the other hand, had far more favour among Tories (37 per cent) than New Democrats (18 per cent).

With the vote as divided as it currently is, the probability of a minority government is very high. The Progressive Conservatives have been unable to move into a position where they would stand a good chance of winning a majority of seats in the legislature, and have been stuck at or below the 35 per cent they achieved in the last election. If the Tories do win a minority, though, many Liberal and NDP voters would not look askance at a coalition of the two parties to the left of Hudak -- 62 per cent of New Democrats could get on board, along with 71 per cent of Liberals.

But before thinking about the province’s next government, Wynne will need to keep the current one alive. The question is, do Hudak or Horwath have any incentive to help?

Éric Grenier taps The Pulse of federal and regional politics for Huffington Post Canada readers on most Tuesdays and Fridays. Grenier is the author of ThreeHundredEight.com, covering Canadian politics, polls and electoral projections.

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  • Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, right, congratulates incoming premier Kathleen Wynne at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Kathleen Wynne reacts after becoming the new leader of the Ontario Liberal party at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013. The 59-year-old Toronto politician will be the province's first female and openly gay premier.

  • Sandra Pupatello, right, congratulates Kathleen Wynne after Wynne becomes the new leader of the Ontario Liberal party at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Kathleen Wynne, left, and her spouse Jane Rounthwaite stand together on stage at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne celebrates with fellow candidates Eric Hoskins (left), Gerard Kennedy (right) and Charles Sousa after they gave her their support at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne reacts to the results of the second ballot at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Sandra Pupatello, right, talks on her phone next to Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, left, at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Before and After

    What the street outside the convention usually looks like and what it looked like during a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/26/ontario-liberal-convention-protest_n_2556296.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-politics">protest held by Ontario teachers and unions</a> on Saturday afternoon.

  • An Ontario Liberal Party delegate is heckled as protesters gather outside Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on Saturday, January 26, 2013 while the party gathers to vote for a new provincial Leader and in turn a new premier of Ontario.

  • Supporters of Sandra Pupatello look on as Kathleen Wynne gains momentum at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • A look at the size of the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/26/ontario-liberal-convention-protest_n_2556296.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-politics">protest outside the Ontario Liberal Convention</a> in Toronto on Jan. 26, 2013.

  • Sandra Pupatello, left, gets endorsed by Harinder Takhar, right, at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Sandra Putatello celebrates with former prime minister John Turner at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne speaks at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne waves with fellow candidate Eric Hoskins (right) and his wife Samantha Nutt (front left) after he arrived to give her his support after the first ballot at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Sandra Putatello celebrates with fellow candidate Harinder Takhar after he gave her his support at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Sandra Putatello speaks at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Kathleen Wynne dances on stage at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership convention delegates are greeted by hundreds of protesters as they arrive at convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Gerard Kennedy waves on stage at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Harinder Takhar waves on stage at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Charles Sousa waves to supporters while on stage at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Eric Hoskins waves to supporters on stage at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty waves from the stage with his family after speaking at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty speaks at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty speaks at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Premier Dalton McGuinty and his wife Terri McGuinty take their seats at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Interim federal Liberal Leader Bob Rae greets Premier Dalton McGuinty at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Sandra Pupatello departs after voting at the convention in Toronto on Friday January 25, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne talks with a delegate as she registers to vote at the leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy talks on his phone at the leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • A cameraman is silhouetted against a projection screen at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Charles Sousa and his wife Zenaida arrive to vote at the leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate supporters hang banners at the site of the convention in Toronto on Thursday January 24, 2013.