Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday June 8, 2019
Andrew Scheer has an Ontario problem — and it could be Doug Ford
Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party is struggling to make inroads in Ontario, the battleground province that’s likely to decide October’s federal election. He might have Ontario Premier Doug Ford to thank for that.
Multiple polls suggest Ford and his Progressive Conservative government are deeply unpopular, just one year after ousting Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals from office.
While those polls undoubtedly aren’t being welcomed by provincial Progressive Conservatives — and may have been the motive behind Monday’s about-face on cuts to municipal funding — they don’t necessarily represent a pressing problem for Ford. He still has another three years to go before the next provincial election.
But the Ford government’s dismal poll numbers could present a big problem for Scheer, who needs Ontario if he’s to win the federal vote that’s now less than five months away.
The Conservatives continue to hold a six-point lead over the Liberals nationwide in the CBC’s Canada Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polling data. The Conservatives have led ever since the SNC-Lavalin affair sent Liberal support tumbling.
The party has seen some significant gains in certain parts of the country. Compared to where the Poll Tracker pegged Conservative support in January and early February (before the SNC-Lavalin story broke), the party has gained up to five points in Quebec and the Prairies and between five and nine points in Atlantic Canada.
The Conservatives are also holding their support in British Columbia and Alberta. The drop in Liberal support has increased the Conservatives’ lead by about four points in B.C., five points in Alberta and nine points in the Prairies, while shrinking the Liberal lead in Quebec and Atlantic Canada by about 11 and 22 points, respectively.
But the dial has not moved as dramatically in Ontario.
The Conservatives hold a slight edge over the Liberals in the province, with 37 to 34 per cent support. While that represents a big drop for the Liberals, who won 45 per cent of the vote in Ontario in the 2015 election, it shows Scheer’s party up only two points over the result that cost Stephen Harper his job — and down as much as five points from where the Conservatives were in the province at the beginning of the year. (Toronto Star)