Tory's unintended benefit
It would appear that Nik Nanos’ faith-based polling figures are largely in-line with what the other two recent surveys found (see prior posts “Angus Reid sees VERY tight start to Ontario Provincial campaign“, September 13-07 and “Environics Ontario campaign poll“, September 13-07). The reality is this: John Tory probably didn’t intend for his school funding promise to become quite the focal point that it has, nor could anyone “on the bus” have thought that the topic would last a week. But the silver lining in the polling data, particularly the Angus Reid poll, is pretty clear.
The topic has attracted the attention of most voters! There’ll now be no stories in the DTM about folks saying “there’s an election on?”
If Dalton McGunity had hoped Ontario voters were going to sleepwalk to the polling station, which usually ensures the sitting government of a return to power, that dream is now shattered. Voters are awake, lucid, and actually talking politics. None of these things are traditionally good for a Premier if 54% of the public “want a change”, versus 27% saying the gov’t should be re-elected. A 27% grade isn’t a passing mark, in either the public or separate school board.
A majority of Ontario voters may not be embracing the universal faith-based funding idea just yet, but Mr. Tory has woken them from their slumber. And with a 10 point lead in favourables (according to Angus Reid), this is a wonderful byproduct of his attempt to “bring fairness to the school funding system”.
And that ain’t spin.
Here is the SES release:
“Generally, Ontarians were divided on whether to bring faith based schools into the public system (50% somewhat oppose/oppose, 43% support/somewhat support). Of note, the intensity of those that opposed adding the faith base schools into the public system was higher than those that supported the Tory initiative.
Polling between August 24th and August 26th, 2007 (Random Telephone Survey of 501 Ontarians, 18 years of age and older). A survey of 501 respondents is accurate to within 4.4 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20. The margin of accuracy will be wider for sub samples. Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.
Question: As you may know the Ontario PC Party has proposed bringing faith based schools into the public school system. Faith based schools which choose to participate in this program would receive direct funding from the provincial government on the condition they incorporate the Ontario Common Curriculum, participate in Ontario’s standardized testing program and ensure teachers maintain proper credentials. Do you support, somewhat support somewhat oppose or oppose bringing faith based schools into the public system?
Support/Oppose (N=501, MOE ± 4.4%, 19 times out of 20)
Somewhat support 15%
Somewhat oppose 10%