Majority of Ontarians feel Doug Ford has failed pandemic response, poll finds

By Lucas Casaletto

A recent poll finds that a majority of Ontarians feel that the provincial government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly faltered.

A survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, a non-partisan public opinion research organization, concludes that Canadians appear to be increasingly disappointed in their provincial leaders in wake of variants of concern rapidly impacting the severity of a third wave.

While at least half of respondents in Manitoba and Saskatchewan said they’re concerned with their premiers response, 65 per cent of Ontarians and 75 per cent of those polled in Alberta said their leader or their provincial government is poorly handling the pandemic.

“In Ontario, the sense that the government took too long to implement new restrictions drives negative views,” said the Angus Reid Institute, based on its findings.

“Indeed, 61 per cent of Ontarians called for tougher restrictions in their province while this public opinion survey was being conducted. Notably, the government introduced a new stay-at-home order on Thursday, just as fielding finished.”

On a federal level, two in five Canadians (43 per cent) say that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done a good job of handling the pandemic, while 52 per cent say he has done a poor job.

On the subject of COVID-19 restrictions, Angus Reid says three in five of Ontario respondents said they needed to be tighter.

The survey finds that the Atlantic Canadian provinces, as seen by people in their region, believe their leaders are handling the pandemic best.

“In Quebec and British Columbia, Premiers Francois Legault and John Horgan each earn majority praise too,” Angus Reid notes in its summary.

“But Ontario’s Doug Ford and Alberta’s Jason Kenney are now seen to be doing a poor job by at least two-thirds of their constituents respectively.”

Positive assessments of Ford’s performance are at less than one-third, a 46-point plunge in 12 months, according to the findings.

The comparison, in that regard, is startling.

A year ago, in April 2020, 78 per cent of respondents believed Ford was handling the pandemic well at the time.

That dipped to 55 per cent in November of that year and it’s now plummeted to 32 percent as of this month.

Premier Ford compared Ontario’s current situation to that of other areas in the world, telling reporters on Friday the province is in a good spot.

“If you look around the world, Ontario is doing pretty well right now,” Ford said.

Similarly, Canadians’ approval of Trudeau’s handling of the pandemic has also dipped of late.

Ontario is reporting 4,227 new COVID-19 cases and 18 additional deaths on Friday.

It is the highest daily increase since the beginning of the pandemic and the first time the province has reported over 4,000 new cases without a data error.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from April 5-8, 2021 among a representative randomized sample of 1,577 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum.

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