Two polls define Ontario voters
There were two polls released over the weekend that showed an interesting side of Ontario voters. The first was a Sun Media/Leger Marketing poll that showed 2/3 of Ontarians don’t trust Dalton McGuinty to hold the line on taxes. They believe that under a McGuinty government, taxes will probably go up. The second is a Nanos Research poll that shows the Liberal party and the PC party are tied for the October 6th election. The only conclusion I can come up with to explain the two polls is that Ontario voters don’t mind paying more in taxes if it means no service cuts.
And I can back this up with conversations I’ve had with many friends who are not political wonks. The fact is what they care for most is that the services they want are there and available when they need them, specifically education and healthcare. For this comfort, they are willing to pay more taxes even though they know that money is being wasted and things could be managed better. The threat of the services deteriorating or being taken away overrides their desire for lower taxes.
Tim Hudak has done a good job in defining his party as the party that will lower hydro rates and other fees and taxes. Most Ontarians will have more money in their pocket under a PC government. But what the Liberals have argued is that voters will probably lose healthcare services or get education cutbacks in order to achieve these tax savings. The Liberals are successfully asking “Is that risk worth the dollars you save?” Most Ontarians are not too sure about that.
Of course, Hudak is staunchly saying that the province is being managed so poorly that they can achieve both tax cuts and continue to invest in the priority services. But the question that the PCs have three days to answer is if the province’s finances get worse over the next few years, which promise prevails: lowering taxes or continuing investment in healthcare? I don’t think there is any other way to square the two polls.