Ontario voters divided on Brown's entry into PC leadership race: poll
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Monday, February 19, 2018 6:58AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 19, 2018 8:40AM EST
It appears Ontario voters are split on whether they believe former PC leader Patrick Brown should have entered the race for the party’s leadership, according to a new poll.
The Forum Research poll, which randomly surveyed 949 Ontario voters, found that 38 per cent of respondents agreed with his decision, while 39 per cent said they did not agree. About 22 per cent of those surveyed said they did not know if it was the right call.
Brown resigned late last month after CTV News published allegations of sexual misconduct against him from two women.
Brown, who has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, announced last week that he would be joining the leadership race in an attempt to reclaim his old job.
None of the allegations made against Brown have been tested in court.
Other candidates vying for the party’s leadership include Caroline Mulroney, Christine Elliott, Doug Ford, and Tanya Granic Allen.
The poll, which was conducted on Feb. 16 and 17, suggests that about half of those surveyed said they would support the PCs if an election were held today, which marks an increase of eight point since the last poll was conducted on Jan. 25.
About one quarter of the respondents said they would support the Liberals and approximately two in 10 said they would support the NDP.
When asked which PC leadership candidate would make the best leader, 22 per cent of respondents said they believe Christine Elliott was the right pick for the job, 16 per cent said they support Doug Ford, and about 14 per cent said they believe Caroline Mulroney would make the best leader. Patrick Brown received about 13 per cent support from respondents and only about five per cent said they would support Tanya Granic Allen.
Approximately 31 per cent said they did not know who would be the best candidate for leadership.
The poll also suggests that about 49 per cent of respondents said they would support the PCs in the next election if Mulroney was leader and approximately 48 per cent made the same declaration about Elliott.
“In this projection, of the four candidates, it is Mulroney and (Elliott) that reduce Liberal vote share to its lowest level, with each pushing the Liberals to about one quarter support (22%),” the poll read.
“Ford and Brown would both receive support from more than 4 in 10 (43%) but they don't appeal to quite as many leaning Liberal voters.”
In his analysis accompanying the poll, Lorne Bozinoff, the president of Forum Research, said the attention surrounding the PC leadership race has only served to help the party.
"Even Patrick Brown's re-entry into the race isn't yet showing as a negative, with just as many people saying they agree with the decision as disagree,” Bozinoff said. “Right now it looks as any of the four frontrunners would secure a majority for the PCs in the next election."
The poll is considered accurate plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.