PC’s internal pollster seeks Ontarians’ feedback on third wave

By Alan S. Hale May 19, 2021

The questionnaire for a forthcoming poll obtained by Queen’s Park Today reveals Campaign Research is in the field gauging Ontarians’ reaction to the PC’s border attacks on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, among other things.

Campaign Research is owned by Nick Kouvalis, who is a lobbyist, adviser to Premier Doug Ford and the PC government’s internal pollster.

Last month, the premier’s office confirmed the PC Caucus Services bureau retained Campaign Research to conduct its internal polling (the pollster also provides survey data to the Toronto Star). Kouvalis’ firm Campaign Support Ltd. received $121,136 for caucus support services in 2019-20, per the public accounts.

Kouvalis declined to confirm who the poll, which began seeking responses last week, is being conducted on behalf of.

Survey pits PC’s handling of pandemic against Ottawa
Campaign Research’s respondents are being quizzed on their opinion of federally regulated quarantine hotels, a CBC story about private flights landing in the province and whether they support closing the provincial border to non-Ontario residents, including Canadian citizens.

The pollster also wants to know about the most recent advertising campaign respondents remember seeing or hearing about Trudeau. One of the possible answers describes the PC’s latest attack ads on the borders.

One question asks whether respondents cast more blame for Ontario’s third wave on the federal government, “because they didn’t lock down the borders to travel at major airports,” or the province for loosening restrictions too quickly.

The narrative that the PCs defied public health advice by reopening too soon appears to be sticking with the public.

A separate Innovative Research poll released earlier this month found 74 per cent of respondents believe the PC government was adequately warned of a pending third wave in February; 60 per cent said the Ontario government’s decision to loosen lockdown rules despite advice from experts made them “directly responsible” for the dire spike in spring Covid cases.

Other questions focus on responsibility for the vaccine rollout, and whether it’s the feds, the province or local municipalities that dropped the ball on supply.