Ontario Election 2014: New Polls Suggest Wynne Leading, Seen As 'Best Premier'

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KATHLEEN WYNNE
Two new polls may give Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne an extra jump in her step with the provincial election just three weeks away. (CP) | CP

Two new polls may give Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne an extra jump in her step with the provincial election just three weeks away.

According to the latest survey from Forum Research, the Ontario Grits are leading at 41 per cent compared to 34 per cent for Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives and 20 per cent for Andrea Horwath's New Democrats. The Greens sit well back at just four per cent.

Forum president Lorne Bozinoff told The Toronto Star that Hudak's controversial plan to cut 100,000 public sector jobs and an NDP campaign he categorized as "slow to launch" may explain why Wynne has the momentum.

And with a Liberal platform that leans hard to the left, Bozinoff suggested progressives may be starting to rally around Wynne to keep Hudak from seizing power.

Forum surveyed 1,136 Ontarians using interactive voice-response phone calls on Tuesday. Results are considered accurate to within three percentage points, 19 times of out 20.

Last week, the polling firm suggested Hudak's numbers were starting to slide after his vow to fire 100,000 public sector workers as part of his so-called "million jobs plan."

And there is more good news for Wynne from Abacus Data. The polling firm suggested on Tuesday the race is a tie between Liberals and PCs among eligible voters, with the Tories leading slightly among those who say they are "likely" to vote.

However, on Wednesday, Abacus data suggested Wynne is seen as the "best premier" among 26 per cent of Ontarians surveyed, against Hudak's 20 per cent and Horwath's 18 per cent. Thirty-five per cent of people surveyed aren't sure yet.

The survey results show Wynne's personal brand remains strong, with a plurality of eligible voters viewing her as a better and different leader than former Grit premier Dalton McGuinty.

On the question of leadership favourability, however, Horwath comes out on top.

According to the Abacus results, the NDP leader is viewed positively by 29 per cent of eligible voters, against 28 per cent for Wynne and 22 per cent for Hudak.

The PC leader has the weakest personal numbers of the three. Forty-two per cent of those surveyed have a negative impression of Hudak, against 37 per cent for Wynne and 21 per cent for Horwath.

The poll, commissioned by Sun News, was conducted online among 2,000 eligible voters between May 14 and 16.

A survey last week from EKOS Research suggested Wynne's Liberals were sitting at 37 per cent against Hudak's Tories at 30 per cent. But, like Abacus, the poll pointed to a Tory lead among "likely" voters that could be Hudak's saving grace.

Ontario voters head to the polls on June 12.

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