Braid: UCP popularity drops because agenda and style are wrong for the times

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They seem to realize it’s no time for internal conflict or deep systemic change.

Ford, a cost-cutting hawk in the Jason Kenney mould, paused some measures.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s approval rating is solid. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

“I gotta protect anyone who is not working,” Ford said. “I’m not comfortable with laying provincial front-line people off.”

He’s also been effusive in his praise of everyone who helps Ontario with COVID-19, including Ottawa.

Outside this general dynamic — far, far outside — stand Premier Kenney and his United Conservative Party.

Kenney keeps sliding in approval, while Horgan, Ford and Legault ride high.

The latest poll from the Angus Reid Institute shows the UCP in a dead heat with the NDP at 38 per cent.

But Marc Henry’s ThinkHQ polling firm has the UCP at 45 per cent and the NDP at 39. This is fresh polling just completed, with a large sample size of 1,135 people.

Henry doesn’t think the UCP should take heart from his findings, however.

For one thing, the numbers are within the margin of error. And the trend for Kenney and his party has been straight down for months.

The NDP support base of 35 per cent or more, on the other hand, has been rock solid.

Henry’s poll shows that 93 per cent of NDP supporters in the last election would vote the same way again. The UCP would attract only 85 per cent of their 2019 backers.

The UCP’s loss of popularity is propelled by a host of factors, including the weakest economy west of Atlantic Canada, and the failure of UCP corporate tax cuts and other measures to bring new activity.

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