Healthcare remains top issue for Ontarians but cost of living is gaining ground, survey suggests

Healthcare remains the top issue for about a quarter of all Ontario voters but inflation and the rising cost of living is quickly gaining ground as a major ballot box consideration, a new survey has found.

Nanos Research asked 500 adults about their most important issue ahead of the June 2 election, as part of a survey commissioned by CTV News and CP24 that was conducted over the weekend (May 7-8).

It found that 26.4 per cent of respondents continue to identify healthcare as their top issue, virtually unchanged from a similar survey released just prior to the start of the campaign last week.

The rising cost of living, meanwhile, saw a big week-over-week jump with 17.8 per cent of respondents now identifying it as their most important issue compared to 11.9 per cent in the May 2 survey.

Consumer prices, of course, were up 6.7 per cent year-over-year in March and the leaders spent the first week of the campaign making a number of announcements geared towards addressing pocketbook issues.

Other top issues identified by respondents to the latest Nanos survey include housing (11 per cent), the economy (9.7 per cent), the environment (8.4 per cent) and education (4.7 per cent).

Ford most trusted to create jobs, Horwath seen as better fit for healthcare

Nanos Research also questioned respondents on which of the party leaders they trusted most to handle a number of key issues.

A plurality of respondents said that they trusted Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford the most when it came to creating jobs (34 per cent) and managing government spending (27 per cent) while NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was considered better suited to handle the healthcare file (29 per cent). On healthcare, Horwath had more support among younger Ontarians ages 18 to 24 (34.1 per cent) and less support among the oldest Ontarians 55 and up (29.3) per cent.

As for the rising cost of housing, no leader scored particularly well.

In fact, a plurality of respondents (28 per cent) said that they trust none of the six party leaders to help with the rising cost of housing. About 19 per cent of respondents said that they trusted Horwath the most while 18 per cent said Ford and 14 per cent said Del Duca.

The cynicism was the most pronounced among the youngest Ontarians, with more than 30 per cent of those between the ages of 18 to 34 saying that they trust none of the leaders when it comes to providing solutions to the housing crisis.

The latest results are part of a wider Nanos survey. The first part of that survey, released on Monday, showed that Ford’s PC party has a five-point lead over Del Duca’s Liberal party among decided voters. Horwath and the NDP were 13 points back in third.

The survey is considered accurate to within 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out 20.

METHODOLOGY

Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land-and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 500 residents of Ontario, 18 years of age or older, between May 7thto 8th, 2022 as part of a tracking survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and were administered the survey online. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Ontario. Individuals were randomly called using random digit dialling with a maximum of five call backs.