Doug Ford continues to see low approval rating amid stag party controversy, report finds
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s approval ratings have remained relatively stagnant over the last three months, a new survey has found.
According to an Angus Reid poll released on March 15, about 33 per cent—or one in three residents—approve of the premier.
Ford’s approval rate sat at about 45 per cent when he was re-elected in June 2022, but has since steadily decreased.
March’s approval rates appear to be the lowest since December 2021, when the premier held an approval rating of 30 per cent.
However, the new data also represents a slight one percentage point difference from the survey taken in December 2022.
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Angus Reid suggests the attention surrounding his family’s stag and doe party, in which guests—including developers—were asked to pat $150 for entry, impacted the premier’s rating. Opposition parties and members of the media questioned whether these guests had any added influence over the premier’s decision to develop on previously protected areas of the Greenbelt.
The premier has repeated the same talking points when asked about the stag and doe—insisting it was a private event and that the integrity commissioner cleared him of any wrongdoing.
The integrity commissioner was informed of the party after the fact. On Thursday, his office released an interim report saying that a further request by the NDP is being paused.
The survey also comes amid concerns of underspending and privatization in health care. The Ford government recently unveiled legislation that would allow some private clinics to perform more surgeries covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), something advocates say could contribute to further staffing shortages as well as a lack of regulation over the sector.
At the same time, Angus Reid suggests the province’s health-care deal with the federal government, as well as its win in securing a new vehicle battery plant in St. Thomas, Ont. could help Ford see a bit of a bump in the polls.
A chart shows approval ratings for Ontario Premier Doug Ford according to Angus Reid.
Overall, the only two premiers with lower approval ratings, according to Angus Reid, are New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson.
An earlier Angus Reid survey conducted in mid-December suggested Ford’s government was getting a “frosty” reception on the majority of issues by the public, including the COVID-19 pandemic, education, housing affordability, cost of living and health care.
The survey of 4,899 Canadians, which was conducted between March 6 and March 13, carries a margin of error of +/1 one percentage points 19 times out of 20.
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