Most Ryerson students want liberal policies, but not Premier Wynne: poll

(By: Ryan Rocca)

The majority of Ryerson students do not approve of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s performance, but one-third would like to see the Liberal party remain in power, according to a new poll conducted by second-year Ryerson journalism students.

Approximately 40 per cent of students rated Wynne’s performance either negatively or somewhat negatively. That’s followed by 37 per cent of students who said they were “not sure” about her job as premier.

But nearly one-third of students indicated they plan to vote for the Liberal party in the next provincial election in June 2018. It’s the highest percentage of any party polled.

The NDP trails behind the Liberal party with just over 19 per cent of respondents saying they would vote for them. The Progressive Conservatives come in third place with about 15 per cent. About one-quarter of students say they are undecided.

The Liberal party has recently experienced quite a few controversial issues under Premier Wynne’s leadership, including the by-election bribery scandal and disputes regarding hydro rates.

This has caused her approval rating to be very low not only amongst Ryerson students, but also amongst the general population, Ryerson political science professor Patrice Dutil said.

“That reflects the reality that’s Ontario-wide,” Dutil said. “She’s been very unpopular in the polls in Ontario for a good two years now and her popularity has increased a little, but it’s been on a downward trend.”

Compared to the approximate 23 per cent of Ryerson students who approve of Wynne’s job as premier, 17 per cent of Ontarians approve of her job, according to an Angus Reid poll that was conducted in late September.

According to the Ryerson journalism poll, recently the Liberals have introduced some policies that have been looked on favourably by students. Despite the low approval rating, this may be why the Liberal party was selected the most by students who were asked which party they were most likely to vote for, according to Dutil.

Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, for example, is supported by approximately 61 per cent of students.

The Liberals introducing free tuition grants for low-income students is viewed favourably by approximately 82 per cent of students.

“There’s a good third of Ontario who vote Liberal no matter what,” Dutil said. “They like liberalism … they don’t really care if it’s Wynne that’s premier or not, they’re going to vote liberal.”

The appeal of the Liberal party may also be because the population does not know very much about or may dislike the policies of the main opposition parties and their leaders, Patrick Brown for the Progressive Conservatives and Andrea Horwath for the NDP, Dutil said.

The Ryerson School of Journalism students surveyed 567 full-time students at Ryerson University between Oct. 6 to Oct. 19. The poll carries a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

(Header photo courtesy of the Toronto Star / Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick)

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