At­tack ads hurt­ing PC fe­male voter base: poll

Brown’s ap­proval rat­ing among On­tario women drops to 15% from 22%

Toronto Star - - CANADA - ROBERT BEN­ZIE QUEEN’S PARK BUREAU CHIEF

An on­slaught of union-funded at­tack ads aimed at Pa­trick Brown ap­pears to be hurt­ing the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives with fe­male vot­ers, a new poll sug­gests.

The blitz of neg­a­tive com­mer­cials from pub­lic- and pri­vate-sec­tor unions seems to have tight­ened an al­ready close race in the June 7, elec­tion.

The Cam­paign Re­search sur­vey shows Brown’s PCs at 35 per cent, Pre­mier Kath­leen Wynne’s Lib­er­als at 32 per cent, An­drea Hor­wath’s New Democrats at 23 per cent and the Greens led by Mike Schreiner at 9 per cent.

“The ‘third-party’ ads are all tar­geted to­ward women and it ap­pears to be hav­ing a strong ef­fect on (fe­male) vot­ers,” Cam­paign Re­search CEO Eli Yufest said Thurs­day.

Us­ing an on­line panel of1,263 On­tario vot­ers, Cam­paign Re­search polled be­tween Mon­day and Thurs­day.

A prob­a­bil­ity sam­ple of that size would have a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus 2.8 per­cent­age points, 19 out of 20 times.

In last month’s track­ing poll, the Tories were at 36 per cent, the Lib­er­als 32 per cent, the NDP 25 per cent and the Greens at 7 per cent.

Yufest said the “most sig­nif­i­cant” change in the Novem­ber sur­vey is the ef­fect of the at­tack ad­ver­tis­ing on Brown’s per­sonal ap­proval rat­ings.

The spots are by Work­ing On­tario Women, bankrolled by the Ser­vice In­ter­na­tional Em­ploy­ees Union and Work­ing Fam­i­lies, a coali­tion of pub­lic- and pri­vate-sec­tor unions that in­cludes Uni­for.

They blast the rookie PC leader for his anti-abor­tion vot­ing record as an MP in former prime min­is­ter Stephen Harper’s Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment be­tween 2006 and 2015 and ques­tion his claim of now be­ing “prochoice.”

This month’s poll found Brown has a 21 per cent ap­proval, 29 per cent dis­ap­proval, with 50 per cent hav­ing no opin­ion.

In Septem­ber, he had 25 per cent ap­proval, 25 per cent dis­ap­proval and 50 per cent didn’t know.

But among fe­male vot­ers, Brown’s ap­proval rat­ing has dropped to15 per cent from 22 per cent a month ago and to 27 per cent from 28 per cent among males.

Wynne’s per­sonal ap­proval rat­ings re­main the low­est of the three ma­jor party lead­ers.

She has a rock-bot­tom 16 per cent ap­proval rat­ing, 65 per cent dis­ap­proval and 19 per cent weren’t sure.

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