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Ford wins #CityVote: The Debate but struggles to sway millennials, poll finds

Last Updated May 8, 2018 at 3:19 pm EDT

It seems that Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford isn’t doing much to sway younger voters.

A new poll, conducted by Mainstreet Research following #CityVote: The Debate, found that while the majority of viewers over the age of 34 felt that Ford won the debate, millennials saw things much differently.

For voters between 18 and 34 who tuned in, the winner of the first Ontario leaders debate was a much tighter race with Ford coming in second — only slightly trailing Premier Kathleen Wynne and just barely above NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

The poll found that millennials were the highest percentage of viewers for the debate, with 49.3 per cent saying they watched, followed by 41 per cent aged 50 to 64, 36.5 per cent between 35 and 49, and 36 per cent aged 65 and over.

Among those who watched the debate, when asked by Mainstreet, “If a provincial election were held today, which party would you vote for?” millennials were the only age group to give Wynne a victory — by a large margin of 44.7 per cent — and had Ford in dead last with only 17.8 per cent.

Dramatic numbers were also seen in debate viewers between 35 to 49 with Ford winning in a landslide with 57.7 per cent, while Wynne and Horwath were unable to get even 20 per cent of the support (18 per cent and 10.8 per cent respectively.)

However, the poll, which surveyed 2,000 Ontarians, also collected numbers from voters who did not watch the debate.

Combining both viewers and non-viewers, the poll found that if an election was held today, millennials would still hand Wynne back her job as Premier but the numbers were tighter. Wynne had 31.1 per cent, followed by Horwath with 22.6 per cent and Ford was last with 20.7 per cent. Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party, accounted for nine per cent of the vote while 12.2 per cent remained undecided.

In the same question, Ford came out on top in the age groups 35-49, 50-64, and 65 and over, in basically a two-party race against the Liberals.

The poll also found that Ford is still struggling to get a hold in downtown Toronto. Only 18.8 per cent of downtown voters said they’d elect the Conservative leader while Wynne and Horwath are neck and neck — 29.2 per cent and 29.5 per cent respectively.

Not surprisingly, Ford is clobbering both other parties in Etobicoke, with 44.5 per cent of those polled saying they’d vote for him as premier if the election was held today.

He is also leading in Scarborough and North York with about a 10 per cent lead over Wynne.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.19 per cent and is accurate 19 times out of 20.

Meanwhile, CityNews took four Twitter polls during the debate to gauge the audience’s reaction and found that Horwath had the majority of peoples’ votes.

To read the complete Mainstreet poll, click here.