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Poll: Doug Ford's popularity wanes during pandemic second wave

Last Updated Jan 19, 2021 at 12:33 pm EST

Ontario Premier Doug Ford puts his mask back on during the daily briefing at Humber River Hospital in Toronto on Tuesday November 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

A new poll suggests the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the popularity of Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

The poll from Abacus Data finds that 40 per cent of respondents view Ford in a positive light, a number that is down 7 points in three months. Thirty-five per cent have a negative view of the premier.

The survey also shows a healthy drop in how people think the Ford government have handled the second wave of the pandemic. A majority of respondents felt the government was in control of the situation in October, that number has since fell 25 points to 37 per cent.

When asked about Ford’s response to COVID-19 in general, 27 per cent believe he has done a bad job and made crucial mistakes. That number is up 10 points compared to three months ago.

When looking at the provincial PC government as a whole, the poll shows the party’s approval rating has dropped eight per cent in the last three months.

Despite the damage to Ford’s popularity his political adversaries haven’t been able to gain any ground on the Premier. Both Liberal leader Steven Del Duca and NDP leader Andrea Horwath have also seen their positive impressions dip slightly since October.

Were an election called today, 34 per cent of respondents say they would vote for Ford. While 29 per cent say they would vote Liberal and 25 per cent would vote NDP.

Ontarians are fairly split on the province’s vaccine rollout, though a majority, 57 per cent, believe the distribution is going poorly.

The province is less split when it comes to politicians and officials vacationing during the pandemic. Among those who responded, 87 per cent believe it is unacceptable and 75 per cent believe it is ‘completely unacceptable.’

Half of respondents believe Ford poorly handled the matter of Rod Phillips travelling over the holidays.

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