Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak faces an uphill battle to win the trust of female voters in the upcoming election campaign.
In a new poll by Nanos Research, just under one in four voters describe Mr. Hudak as the most trustworthy leader. Among women, the numbers are even lower, with just one in five choosing him.
The Conservatives traditionally garner more support from men than women. Nevertheless, the lack of trust for Mr. Hudak indicates that Liberal attacks on him are causing voters to question his character, said pollster Nik Nanos.
"The Liberal attack ads have been a little more of a character assassination," Mr. Nanos said.
The numbers leave Mr. Hudak, a rookie leader heading into his first campaign, trailing behind his main rival, Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty. Among those polled, 29 per cent describe Mr. McGuinty, who is seeking a third consecutive term, as the most trustworthy. But he also scored lower among women, at 26.1 per cent. The overall trust number for Mr. Hudak is 23 per cent.
Mr. Hudak did slightly better on the question of which party leader has the best vision for Ontario's future. Twenty-six per cent named Mr. Hudak, compared with 29 per cent for Mr. McGuinty.
The poll was conducted between Aug. 10 and Aug. 13, when Nanos Research contacted 1,000 Ontarians by telephone, with 830 of them having decided voting intentions.
The results are accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, when dealing with trust in leaders.