Monday, September 13, 2004

McGuinty Doing a Bad Job: Poll

Liberal polling suggests most Ontarians think McGuinty doing poor job
Keith Leslie
Canadian Press
September 12, 2004
TORONTO

Internal polling by Ontario's governing Liberals suggests that about 43 per cent of voters think Premier Dalton McGuinty is doing a good or very good job.
A Liberal source said that's about the same level of support the party received during last year's general election, when it defeated the two-term Conservative government.
But the party's rosy spin on the results -- little erosion of support since the vote -- belies the fact that 52 per cent of survey respondents rated McGuinty's performance as poor or very poor.
The Canadian Press obtained portions of the survey, in which polling firm Pollara consulted 600 Ontarians between Sept. 2 and 7.
The results are considered accurate within plus or minus 3.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Only five per cent of respondents said they didn't know when asked how they would rate the job McGuinty has done as premier.
Last Thursday, another poll by Ipsos-Reid indicated McGuinty's government trailed the Progressive Conservatives in popular support, and blamed the Liberal slide on broken campaign promises.
The Tories were backed by 35 per cent of respondents in that poll with the Liberals at 32.
However, with margin of error of 3.7 percentage points, the gap between the rival parties is statistically meaningless -- Tory support could be as low as 31.3 with the Liberals as high as 35.7.
In Hamilton on Saturday, McGuinty delivered an election-style speech to 350 Liberals at a provincial council meeting, boasting of his government's achievements and urging the party to stick together to win the next election in 2007.
"We're off to a great start," insisted McGuinty, before admitting, "not an easy start, not always a smooth one."
The premier spent most of August travelling across Ontario to explain why he felt he had to impose a new health care premium in last May's budget, breaking his promise not to raise taxes.
Reporters reminded McGuinty that it was exactly one year ago that he had signed the Taxpayers' Protection Act as part of a major campaign event to highlight his promise not to raise taxes, something he insisted Saturday was not a mistake.
"The mistake was relying on an official government document, the quarterly financial update released by the Tory government, where they purported and misled the Ontario public into believing that there was no deficit, when in fact they were hiding close to a $6 billion deficit."
However, the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation -- which hosted the high-profile campaign event where McGuinty made his official pledge not to raise taxes -- issued a release calling Saturday the Anniversary of Shame.
"There is ample evidence . . . that the premier knew full well that a huge deficit was looming," said Tasha Kheriddin, the lobby group's Ontario spokeswoman.
"Yet he chose to make the (no tax increase) promise anyway, in order to win the election."

© The Canadian Press 2004