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The Ford Factor: Ontario premier more likely than any other to have an impact on federal vote in his province

As federal party leaders work to pick up momentum and recover from stumbles in this election campaign, to what extent are they helped or hindered by their provincial counterparts?

Nowhere has that question been more hotly debated than in the province of Ontario – where federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has eschewed campaigning alongside provincial Conservative Premier Doug Ford in favour of solo events. In contrast, Justin Trudeau mentioned the Ontario premier more than a dozen times earlier this week during a health care funding announcement in Hamilton.

It appears Scheer is onto something: the latest study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds that indeed, half of Ontario’s population (49%) say that Doug Ford’s government will sway their vote. Among this group, the vast majority (85%) say they are less likely to support Scheer and the Conservative Party.

Overall, this equates to four-in-ten (42%) Ontario residents who say Ford’s government will dissuade them from voting for the CPC. In a province that many say could win or lose the election, every vote counts and this data suggests the federal party risks alienating much-needed voters by standing too close to Ford.

Nationally, four-in-ten Canadians (39%) say that the policies and actions of their provincial government will have an impact on who they decide to vote for at the federal level.

The dynamic plays out differently in British Columbia. The nation’s only premier governing under the NDP banner is John Horgan. In BC, among those who say they’re taking provincial policies into account as they consider the federal vote, 53 per cent say it has made them more likely to support the New Democrats while at least two-thirds say they’re less likely to support the CPC (67%) and Liberals (74%).

More Key Findings:

  • Approximately one-in-three residents in Alberta and the prairies (SK/MB) say that their provincial government will influence their federal vote. Among this group, the impact is mixed, with close to half saying it will make them more or less likely to support each of the CPC, Liberals and NDP
  • In Ontario, residents of all age and gender categories are close to equally likely to say their vote will be affected by the Ford government’s policies and actions. At least two-in-five among each group say they will take his performance into account
  • Federal vote intention in Ontario remains competitive, with the Liberals supported by 36 per cent and the Conservatives 35 per cent.
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