The Ford Factor: Ontario premier more likely than any other to have an impact on federal vote in his province

The Ford Factor: Ontario premier more likely than any other to have an impact on federal vote in his province

Four-in-ten residents say Ford’s policies, actions will dissuade them from supporting Scheer and CPC

September 25, 2019 – As federal party leaders work to pick up momentum and recover from stumbles in this election campaign, to what extent are they helped or hindered by their provincial counterparts?

Nowhere has that question been more hotly debated than in the province of Ontario – where federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has eschewed campaigning alongside provincial Conservative Premier Doug Ford in favour of solo events. In contrast, Justin Trudeau mentioned the Ontario premier more than a dozen times earlier this week during a health care funding announcement in Hamilton.

It appears Scheer is onto something: the latest study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds that indeed, half of Ontario’s population (49%) say that Doug Ford’s government will sway their vote. Among this group, the vast majority (85%) say they are less likely to support Scheer and the Conservative Party.

Overall, this equates to four-in-ten (42%) Ontario residents who say Ford’s government will dissuade them from voting for the CPC. In a province that many say could win or lose the election, every vote counts and this data suggests the federal party risks alienating much-needed voters by standing too close to Ford.

Nationally, four-in-ten Canadians (39%) say that the policies and actions of their provincial government will have an impact on who they decide to vote for at the federal level.

The dynamic plays out differently in British Columbia. The nation’s only premier governing under the NDP banner is John Horgan. In BC, among those who say they’re taking provincial policies into account as they consider the federal vote, 53 per cent say it has made them more likely to support the New Democrats while at least two-thirds say they’re less likely to support the CPC (67%) and Liberals (74%).

More Key Findings:

  • Approximately one-in-three residents in Alberta and the prairies (SK/MB) say that their provincial government will influence their federal vote. Among this group, the impact is mixed, with close to half saying it will make them more or less likely to support each of the CPC, Liberals and NDP
  • In Ontario, residents of all age and gender categories are close to equally likely to say their vote will be affected by the Ford government’s policies and actions. At least two-in-five among each group say they will take his performance into account
  • Federal vote intention in Ontario remains competitive, with the Liberals supported by 36 per cent and the Conservatives 35 per cent.


About ARI

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.



  • Provincial government performance and federal vote

  • Ford government most likely to influence federal vote

  • The Ford Factor: Deeper Analysis


Provincial government performance and federal vote

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was caught up in a wave of controversy last week after the emergence of multiple instances of wearing blackface in the past. For the Liberals, macro concerns about the shape of Canada’s governance have likely given way to the micro concerns of crisis management.

And while the Liberal campaign scrambles to hold together the left of centre base it relied on to win in 2015, it has also been distracted by opposition to policies and legislation by a number of Conservative Premiers who swept into power during Trudeau’s first term.

In Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, Conservative governments have joined Saskatchewan and Manitoba in forming a Conservative block that has consistently opposed the federal Liberal government. But how will those premiers influence people in their own individual provinces when they head to the polls on October 21?

Overall, four-in-ten Canadians (39%) say that the policies and actions of their own provincial government will give them cause for consideration when they think about their federal vote intention. Notably, the percentage of residents saying this is highest in Ontario, where Premier Doug Ford has emerged as a divisive figure both within the province and nationally.

Ford government most likely to influence federal vote

Half of Ontario residents say that Ford’s government will have an impact on their choice, and overall three-in-ten (28%) say it will be the deciding factor in how they vote federally. Ontario residents are more than twice as likely to say this compared to all other regions of the country:

It is worth noting that the provincial government could have an impact on a person’s federal vote in one of two ways – it could make a person more likely or less likely to support a given party. In Ontario, 85 per cent of residents who say Doug Ford will impact their vote say that it will make them less likely to support the CPC and Andrew Scheer, and considerably more likely to support the Liberal Party led by Justin Trudeau or the NDP with Jagmeet Singh:

In British Columbia, the case is significantly different. Just one-in-four residents (25%) say the actions of their BC NDP government under John Horgan will impact their vote federally. For those whose vote will or may be swayed, half say they will be more likely to support the NDP federally because of his actions.

Justin Trudeau’s relationship with Horgan has been complicated. The two have been at odds over the TransMountain pipeline expansion, yet friendly in working on a number of other projects, including joint support of the national carbon tax. Three-quarters of British Columbians say the provincial NDP’s policies will make it less likely that they support Trudeau in October, while two-thirds (67%) say the same of Scheer and the CPC:

The impact of provincial government policies is less pronounced elsewhere in the country. A majority of Quebecers are in fact, less likely to support all three of the main federal parties, while Alberta residents and prairie residents are divided close to equally on all three:

*small sample size

The Ford Factor: Deeper Analysis

Currently, 36 per cent of Ontario residents say that they will support the Liberals in the October election, while 35 per cent choose the CPC. The Liberal Party holds a commanding lead in the City of Toronto, while the Greater Toronto Area continues to be a close race. Outside of the GTA, the Conservatives are chosen by 46 per cent of residents and the Liberals by one-in-three (33%).

Notably, the NDP, Green Party and People’s Party make up one-quarter of votes in the GTA (26%), suggesting the dynamics of these parties may play an important role in deciding seats in that region:

So, what is the impact of the Ford government in how each region prepares to vote federally?

Among those who will be basing at least a portion of their vote on provincial performance, nearly all, including those in the vote-rich GTA, say that they will be less likely to support Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives:

The impact on support for the Liberals and Justin Trudeau is similar but less pronounced than it is with the opposition Conservatives. Two-thirds outside of the GTA and Toronto will be more likely to support the Liberals, though one-in-three (36%) say they will be less likely. Within the GTA the impact of Ford’s government is largely a positive for the Liberals:

*small sample size

What about Ford’s supporters?

While the Ford government may be disrupting the ability of the federal Conservatives to draw over supporters from other parties, it is worth inquiring about the impact on his own base. One-in-five (20%) of those who supported the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario in the last provincial election say that the government’s performance will impact their federal vote:

Among those PCPO supporters, one-in-three (32%) say they are less likely to support the federal Conservatives. This represents approximately seven per cent of Ford’s supporters overall. Supporters of the other provincial parties are near unanimous in saying that the provincial government’s actions and policies will make them less likely to support Scheer:

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education and other demographics, click here.

For detailed Ontario only results, click here.

Click here to read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology.


Shachi Kurl, Executive Director: 604.908.1693 @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821

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