Hudak narrowly won Ontario leaders' debate: poll
Published Wednesday, June 4, 2014 10:22AM EDT
Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak came out on top after Tuesday's leaders' debate, but was only slightly ahead of his Liberal and NDP counterparts, according to a poll.
A flash poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid found that 36 per cent of viewers thought Hudak won the debate between the three main party leaders, despite his opponents' criticism of his "Million Jobs Plan."
"If you make a mistake in your platform and the numbers are wrong and it's a completely flawed premise, do you then apologize or not?" Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne asked Hudak.
"I'm so confident my plan is going to work that if I don't actually carry through my plan, if I don't keep my promises and Million Jobs Plan, I'll resign. I'll step down from office," Hudak responded.
Of the 1,765 people who watched the televised event and said they were planning to vote, 27 per cent thought Wynne won the debate while 26 per cent favoured NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
One in 10 said they were unsure who had the strongest performance.
Ipsos-Reid's senior vice-president of public affairs said the debate barely swayed voters on which candidate they supported.
"The debate had the influence, if you were watching it, to change the mind of about 5 per cent," John Wright told CTV News Channel on Wednesday morning.
Ipsos-Reid conducted a pre-debate survey, and found that 32 per cent of respondents thought Wynne would emerge as the debate winner.
"The expectations for Mr. Hudak and Ms. Horwath were pretty low," Wright said.
Though Wright said Wynne got stronger through the debate, the initial attacks over the gas plant scandal hurt the leader's overall performance.
The results of the poll are considered accurate within plus or minus 2.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
The same poll asked viewers which leader they thought delivered a "knockout punch" in the three-way discussion.
Nearly half of viewers, 47 per cent, felt that none of the leaders had defining moments during the debate. Hudak earned 26 per cent of the vote, compared to 15 per cent for Horwath and 12 per cent for Wynne.
Of those who said there was a "knockout punch," Wright said most recalled the same moment.
Hudak asked why Wynne signed a document approving the cancellation of two gas plants prior to the 2011 election.
Wynne said she was part of a cabinet that made decisions that weren't right, but since the scandal she'd appeared in front of a committee investigating the decision and had apologized.
Hudak responded that she wasn't just one of many names, but she was the one who made the decision and signed the contract.
"You had a choice. You had an opportunity. You could have said no and saved us a billion dollars. It was in front of you. Why didn't you just say no?" Hudak asked.
Wynne said she's been open about her role, then asked Hudak about the math behind his plan to create one million jobs.
Wright said that Wynne's response wasn't strong enough, calling it a "half knockout punch."
"How can you compare that to taking a billion dollars out of the pockets of viewers tonight?" Hudak asked.
Wynne did not have a chance to respond, as the moderator interrupted to let Horwath speak, and Horwath turned the conversation back to Hudak's jobs plan.