What Do You Want In A Premier? – Ontarians Told Us

We asked questions in our recent H+K election research on what makes “the right stuff” for a Premier and who they think most exemplifies these characteristics. Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath came out as the leading contender.

The top characteristic is “trustworthy” selected by 43% of Ontarians, followed by “competent” at 36%. This is true regardless of demographic differences or political preferences. Other characteristics we polled on were: compassionate (6%), decisive (6%), steady (3%), approachable (3%) and bold (2%). Ultimately, the top characteristics selected boil down to “do you trust them” and “do you think they can do the job.”

For the follow-up question to this, we recalled the respondent’s choice of best characteristic and asked which of the party leaders best reflects that characteristic. For those who feel that being “trustworthy” is the most important characteristic for a Premier of Ontario, 34% chose Andrea Horwath as best reflecting that trait, followed by “None of the above” at 29%.

Only 21% chose Doug Ford and 10% chose Kathleen Wynne. As for being “competent”, it’s Andrea Horwath (25%), “None of the above” (25%), Doug Ford (24%) and Kathleen Wynne (18%).

Andrea Horwath also wins the likeability contest with 34% of Ontarians reporting they like her the most, over “None of the above” at 23%, Doug Ford at 22% and Kathleen at 14%. However, the largest demographic point of interest related to “likeability” is centered around Doug Ford: Only 17% of women and 11% of millennials chose Doug Ford as the leader they liked the most. By contrast, men (28%), people aged 45-54 years old (29%) and parents (32%) were more likely to select Doug Ford.

The H+K research study was fielded May 11-15, 2018 with n=1500 Ontarians participating. The survey made use of our Perspectives+ research offering, which we frequently use with our clients to produce robust public opinion insights to inform strategic communications and public affairs approaches.