Doug Ford scores low on ability to keep promises, post-election survey suggests

As Doug Ford is sworn in Friday and the dust from the election settles, the team behind Vote Compass got some insight into the results from voters.

Team behind Vote Compass surveys 20,000 Ontarians on their post-election reflections

Ontario PC leader Doug Ford reacts with his wife, Karla, left, after winning the Ontario Provincial election to become the new premier in Toronto, on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

As Doug Ford is sworn in Friday as Ontario's premier, the team behind Vote Compass got some insight into how voters are feeling by surveying approximately 20,000 of them after the election. 

Keeping promises

Vox Pop asked Ontarians about their perceptions of how well the leaders would keep their campaign promises. They were asked to rate each leader on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 means "not capable at all" and 10 means "very capable." 

Doug Ford scored the lowest, with an average of 3.3, while Andrea Horwath scored the highest at 5.6. Kathleen Wynne got an average of 4.9, while Mike Schreiner came in at 4.2.

Unsurprisingly, voters thought their favourite party and leader were most likely to fulfil their promises. 

(Vox Pop Labs)
 

"People were thinking, 'I'm going to go for that guy because I'm sick of those who were there before, but, at the same time, I'm realistic. I know that everything coming out of [Doug Ford's] mouth, he won't be able to do all of that,'" said Charles Breton, director of research at Vox Pop Labs, the company behind the Vote Compass tool.

Political scientist Pauline Beange, a lecturer at the University of Toronto, put it more bluntly, saying Ford's promises didn't matter so much to many voters. What mattered was that he isn't Kathleen Wynne and the Progressive Conservatives aren't the Liberals. 

"I think it was plain and simple: 'We want a change,'" she said. 

Strategic voting

Unsurprisingly, voters from all parties except the Conservatives expressed dissatisfaction with the results. That dissatisfaction was greatest among NDP voters at 96 per cent, even though it was the Liberals who only got seven seats at Queen's Park. 

(Vox Pop Labs)

Perhaps more surprisingly, the number of voters who would change their vote, given the outcome, was small. Of those who voted Liberal, 87 per cent said they would not change their vote. 

"I would have expected more people to tell us they would have voted differently," said Breton.

"For instance, people who voted for the Liberals in ridings where, if they had gone NDP, would have changed results. But even after the fact, people say they would stick with the way they voted." 

However, one of the main reasons NDP voters said they went orange was because of strategic voting.

Vox Pop found 37 per cent of people who voted NDP wanted to prevent another party from winning, while 35 per cent said they chose the party because of its policies. 

Local candidates

The proportion of people who voted for a party because of their local candidates was evenly distributed between Tory, NDP and Green party voters, between 7 per cent and 13 per cent. 

(Vox Pop Labs)

For the Liberals, 24 per cent who those who voted for them did so because they liked the local candidate. 

"Had there been a different Liberal leader, we might have seen a different outcome in these attitudes," said Beange. 

About the Author

Lisa Xing

Lisa Xing is a journalist by trade and a historian by degree. She's also a creative writer, photographer and traveller, dabbling in camping, canoeing and crafting. Email Lisa.Xing@cbc.ca.