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McGuinty wins debate, but Horwath the real winner

A poll conducted following last night’s debate could indicate that NDP leader Andrea Horwath hasn’t been getting her fair share of press time.

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While news coverage of Ontario’s election has portrayed something of a two-way race between current Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty and Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak, a poll conducted following last night’s debate could indicate that NDP leader Andrea Horwath hasn’t been getting her fair share of press time.

In fact, she scored second best. According to viewers polled by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Global News, McGuinty won the debate (33%), but Horwath walked away with a strong second place (29%), while Hudak won over only a quarter of viewers (25%).

Of course, winning the debate isn’t the same as winning someone’s vote. Still, 14% of viewers said they had changed their mind about whom they would vote for—perhaps not surprising considering a poll released Monday revealed that 53% of Ontarians felt the leadership debate was the most crucial point of the campaign.  

A few more stats

Heading into the debate, 34% of Ontarians thought McGuinty would win, 24% Hudak and 14% Horwath, while 28% remained unsure. Which means that, measured against expectations, McGuinty went down a point, Hudak went up one and Horwath gained an impressive 15 points, likely winning over many fence-sitters.  

Half of Ontarians nonetheless believed McGuinty acted the most like a premier (49%), while Hudak (27%) and Horwath (18%) were a distant second and third.

67% of Ontarians said they have an improved impression of Horwath following the debate. Only 10% said their impression worsened. She also won for most attractive (54%) and likable (52%).

The race for best ideas and policies was closer. Horwath led with 35%, but McGuinty made some ground (32%, up 2 points), while Hudak trailed not too far behind at 27%.

By issue

And finally, here is a list of who won by issue (copied directly from the Ipsos press release, available here).

  • Economy – Dalton McGuinty (37%, +3), Tim Hudak (34%, unchanged), Andrea Horwath (15%, +2), don’t know (14%, -5).
  • Healthcare – Andrea Horwath (35%, +11), Dalton McGuinty (33%, unchanged), Tim Hudak (22%, +1), don’t know (10%, -11)
  • Taxes – Tim Hudak (36%, -2), Andrea Horwath (24%, +5), Dalton McGuinty (23%, unchanged), don’t know (16%, -5).
  • Education – Dalton McGuinty (37% -3), Andrea Horwath (29%, +10), Tim Hudak (22%, +2), don’t know (11%, -10).
  • Environment – Dalton McGuinty (37%, +14), Andrea Horwath (28%, -8), Tim Hudak (14%, -2), don’t know (23%, -5).
  • Debt/Deficit reduction – Tim Hudak (34%), Dalton McGuinty (27%), Andrea Horwath (16%), don’t know (23%).