New poll suggests voters haven’t forgotten about patronage appointment scandal
Published Friday, August 16, 2019 2:50PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 17, 2019 1:45PM EDT
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government may be trying to move past the recent patronage appointment scandal but a new poll suggests voters haven’t forgotten about the controversy and are expecting more to come.
The Corbett Communications survey, given exclusively to CTV News Toronto, shows 56 per cent of respondents perceive the Doug Ford government as being “corrupt,” while 62 per cent believe “too many cronies” of the premier have jobs in government.
The poll was conducted between August 11 and 13 using the Maru/Blue’s Maru Voice online poll, with a sample of 1099 voters.
Nearly 60 per cent of respondents also told the pollster they don’t believe the patronage scandal is over and that “more cases of cronyism will be discovered.”
The PC government’s credibility has suffered over the past month-and-a-half as a public appointments scandal rocked Queen’s Park—in which taxpayer funded positions were being given to people with personal and familial connections to Ford’s former chief-of-staff Dean French.
French abruptly resigned once the scandal emerged and the Premier’s office scrambled to respond, by dismissing appointees or asking for resignations and by putting all pending appointments under the microscope.
While media questions surrounding the controversy have largely died down, pollster John Corbett tells CTV News Toronto the damage may already be done.
“It’s kind of baked in to the Doug Ford image now. It’s kind of hard to unbake the cake,” Corbett said.
Those who took the poll were also asked whether they feel the Ford government’s stumbles are temporary or permanent and a majority – 60 per cent – said they were permanent.
“I think Doug Ford has lost his mojo, and I think it’s going to be hard for them to recreate the image of Doug Ford in a way that’s going to make him re-electable,” Corbett said.
The poll seems to echo the grumblings of PC party insiders who felt the tone of the government’s first year in office may have done more harm than good.
However, the poll also suggests that Ford’s progressive conservatives are neck and neck with the leaderless Liberal party and Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats – which Corbett says bodes well for the party’s long-term chances.
The Premier’s office declined to comment on the poll.