With the election of Kathleen Wynne as the new Ontario Liberal leader and now Ontario Premier, Andrea
Horwath's NDP has dropped from first place to third place, behind the surging Liberals under Wynne.
Horwath has no choice but to pull the plug on the new Ontario Liberal Government.
As reported by Robert Benzie in the Toronto Star, on February 22, the Forum Research poll indicates the following: Ontario Tories -- 36 per cent; Liberals -- 29 per cent; and NDP -- 28 per cent.
This was the first public poll taken since the Ontario Liberals' recent Throne Speech.
Also, as reported in the same Toronto Star article, when the last Forum Research was taken on January 24, before the election of Kathleen Wynne as the new Liberal leader; NDP were at 35 per cent; Tories at 32 per cent and Liberals, at 27 per cent.
In this recent poll, Andrea Horwath's approval rating is still strong at 49 per cent, but Wynne is at 36 per cent and Hudak is still mired in last at 27 per cent.
This is devastating news to Andrea Horwath and the NDP. The NDP has dropped from first place at 35 per cent to third place at 28 per cent behind the Liberals now at 29 per cent and trending upwards. The support for the Tories is steady at 36 per cent, showing a small increase from the last poll. Clearly, Wynne is cutting into NDP support. Conversely, the Tory support is rock solid centre-right, where Wynne has less appeal.
To date Wynne has been successful in presenting herself as the new face of the Liberals, the non-Dalton McGuinty. She comes across as more conciliatory, more co-operative and more willing to work with both parties. To make minority government work.
Wynne is also trying to reach out to the teachers who were alienated by McGuinty's hard-ball negotiating tactics. She appears less corporate and more socially conscious, that is, sensitive to the needs of the disadvantaged and struggling workers and unemployed workers. Wynne is taking the Liberals left and going after Horwath's core support.
Things will only get worse for Horwath and the NDP, as Wynne and the new Liberals become more entrenched.
As a result, Andrea Horwath has no choice but to oppose the Liberal budget in April and bring an end to the Wynne administration. Horwath will get no political brownie points for propping up the Wynne government and allowing them to survive the upcoming budget vote. The longer the Liberals are in power, the more the Ontario public will forget the misdeeds of the former McGuinty government. And more NDP support will gravitate to Wynne's Liberals.
Currently, Andrea Horwath, according to the above Forum Research poll, still enjoys the best approval rating at 49 per cent, but Wynne is coming up fast at 36 per cent.
With her high approval rating now, Horwath still has a shot at victory and forming the next NDP government.
But she who hesitates, is lost. Horwath will be in a worse position next year.
If I were Horwath's adviser, I would be urging her to seize the moment now. And together with the Tories, put the boots to the Liberals while the scandals of eHealth, Ornge, and gas plants cancellations are still on the minds of Ontario voters.