Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Both Ontario Liberals and PC drop, McGuinty still leads

On Saturday, Ipsos-Reid released a new Ontario provincial poll, and it doesn't show major movement. However, the Liberals under Dalton McGuinty still lead.Compared to Ipsos-Reid's last Ontario poll in October 2009, the Liberals have dropped two points to 37%. However, the Progressive Conservatives are down four points to 32%, widening a still narrow gap between the two parties.

The New Democrats are up four points to 20%, while the Greens are up two to 11%.

The major source of Liberal strength comes in the Greater Toronto Area, where they lead with 43% (up one). The PCs trail with 26%, down a staggering 10 points since October. The NDP is up seven here to 20%.

The Liberals also lead in Eastern Ontario - with 42% (up four). The Progressive Conservatives follow with 33% (down nine) and the NDP is at 16% (up seven) - and Northern Ontario, with 34% (down three). The NDP is second here, with 27% (up seven). The PCs have dropped 14 points to 25% in this region.

The Progressive Conservative areas of strength are in Central Ontario and Southwestern Ontario. In Central Ontario, they lead with 42%, up five points. The Liberals and NDP have dropped one each to 29% and 17%, respectively. In Southwestern Ontario, they PCs lead with 43% (up 15), while the Liberals follow with 26% (down 15) and the NDP with 22% (down four).

The area of greatest Green strength comes in Northern Ontario, where they have 14% support.

Considering the discontent with the HST and the generally lukewarm attitude Ontarians have towards Dalton McGuinty, who has been in power since 2003 and leader of the Ontario Liberals since 1996, the Progressive Conservatives under their new leader Tim Hudak are really struggling. There is some parallel with the federal situation: a weakly supported government faced with an even weaker opposition.

25 comments:

  1. This is first Ontario poll in a very long time and although the Liberals are down - 100% of the Liberal losses are to the NDP and the Greens and the Ontario PCs are stuck at the same 32 percent they got last time.

    Still if this pattern was to hold in the election and the NDP vote went up 3% and the Liberal vote down about 7% from last time - the NDP would probably go from 10 seats to about 17 or 18 (ie: matching what they have federally in Ontario). I guess the big question is whether the Tories could take enough seats from the Liberal ro produce a minority government.

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  2. I'm no fan of Dalton but compared to the provincial Tories, who still carry the weight of Mike Harris, and still push Harris policies it's no wonder the Liberals still lead.

    Until the Tories re-think themselves and come up with sets of policies more aligned to the public they are going to be stuck in second or possibly third place.

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  3. I don't think McGuinty's government is as hated as everyone says it is. His second term has really gone pretty well, even with the backlash over the HST. Compare it to his first time and the backlash then over what he did!

    McGuinty will most likely be in there for another term, with a reduced caucus. A three-term Liberal government in Ontario... when's the last time that happened? 1920's?

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  4. Would you be able to do seat projections for Ontario based on these polls, as you did with Quebec?

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  5. While I do want to do a projection model for Ontario, I don't have one yet.

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  6. "A three-term Liberal government in Ontario... when's the last time that happened? 1920's?"

    Actually Ontario already had an eleven term liberal government. It lasted from 1943 to 1985 - it just happened to be labelled Progressive Conservative - but for all intents and purposes it was ideologically identical to the Grits under McGuinty and in fact back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, the Ontario Liberals had almost entirely rural caucus and it was a totally reactionary party (sound familiar)

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  7. I like what McGuinty has done on the transportation (Eglinton underground LRT in Toronto, Viva BRT in York Region, various things in Peel, plus projects in Waterloo and Hamilton and Ottawa), energy (major investment in wind generation), and environment files. A lot of the projects that were started will complete in his third term. Potentially, he might even see a fourth term if other people like the accomplishments too.

    McGuinty is also handling the HST (again, a federal initiative) much more sensibly than Campbell in BC. There are several exemptions added accompanied by a permanent income tax cut.

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  8. Ontario's HST is a really good idea. Ontarians will benefit from its implementation.

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  9. I assuming Tim Hudak must not be liked much in Ontario seeing his party should really be benefitting from what has happened in Ontario over the last few years, or maybe Ontarians have just realized that you cannot just blame Ontario's economic problems on McGuinty alone.

    Does anyone know if there is a chance that McGunity might step down before 2011? He has been leader a long time and while he's not that old he is retirement age.

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  10. McGuinty talked retirement at one point but then reversed (shocking, I know).

    The Ontario Liberals have teflon siding. Nothing sticks - they cut health care services (removed many items from OHIP) while adding a new tax after promising (in writing) not to add new taxes yet were re-elected. They set records for deficits, make backroom deals for energy, e-Health, and who knows how many other fiascos yet never get hurt in the polls.

    Glad I'm not a PC voter anymore as that has to be the most frustrating thing.

    Of course, being a Green isn't easy either somedays. These poll results suggest our potential first seats are not there in SW Ontario, with a high result in Northern Ontario where my wife has relatives yet I know from talking that there is little interest in the Green's up there so the results are a bit odd. Maybe things have changed, but I doubt it.

    It seems the political climate in Ontario (and in Canada) has become one of 'who cares, I'll just stick with same old/same old'. Or if you prefer 'what is the point'.

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  11. New HD poll out CPC 34, LPOC 27.

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100622/national/tories_poll

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  12. RTL,

    McGuinty has said several times that he will be gunning for a third term, and I don't suspect that will change unless something major happens.

    Because there is no inter-caucus fighting, and the fact that McGuinty is keeping his head above water, there's probably no reason on the horizon for him to change his plans.

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  13. The HST is a hated tax here in ON. However the lack of a credible alternative makes unseating McGuinty difficult. There really is wide spread dissatisfaction with McGuinty. All it would take IMO is a pledge to get rid of the HST in 2016 for a party to unseat him. Hudak should make the promise and worry about keeping it when the time comes. He'd get one term in office before he had to keep his promise. The NDP are not going to win in ON. There are still to many bad memories of Bob Rae. However if I were the NDP I'd pledge to get rid of the HST and package that with some other moderate proposals. You never know what can happen. The electorate is restless but has no-one to vote for.

    DL you are right about the PC years in ON. The Liberals were always to the right of the PC's.

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  14. John Northey: It seems the political climate in Ontario (and in Canada) has become one of 'who cares, I'll just stick with same old/same old'. Or if you prefer 'what is the point'.

    I'd suggest a different interpretation of the current gridlock, especifically at the national level.

    We've picked up lessons from south of the border. The US is (for practical purposes) a two-party, zero-sum game: one vote less for your opponent is equivalent to one vote more for you. Therefore, negative politics pays.

    It doesn't work that way here. Hatchet jobs and attack ads can drive voters away from an opponent, but not necessarily into your camp or even away from the polling booth. The result is that core consituencies give the larger parties minorities, but moderate voters stay home or move to smaller parties.

    A majority government is unlikely in the foreseeable future, but it's absolutely impossible here until there's a return to civility in the House, on the hustings and in the media. No leader can attract swing voters with malice.

    Perhaps coalition government will be a natural cure for what ails us. Cooperation will require politeness, at least in some directions. That may bring out enough of the available vote to deliver a majority.

    I'm not holding my breath. I see Canadian politics moving to coalitions as the norm, with proportional representation appearing as a side effect. Mud will still be slung in public but legislators will work together between elections because they have no choice.

    Bringing this back to Ontario, voters look at Hudak and see a leader who's clearly most comfortable opposing. He's rabid about the HST, but he won't repeal it in a future government. Voters see this as opportunistic, not part of a coherent vision.

    McGuinty's failures are failures of commission: he may do the wrong thing or do the right thing badly, but he does something, even when it's politically unpopular. He and his party concentrate on governing, not attacking the opposition parties. Lo and behold, his losses to the Dippers and Greens are small considering the policies he's introduced.

    I'm obviously poles away from being a supporter but I respect the man for his approach to politics. So, apparently, do many swing voters.

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  15. The HST is not going to damage the Liberals much since there is no serious opposition to it from the other parties. Oh they talk a good game but it's just political posturing. The PC's were for it until the Liberals implemented it, and no one can seriously believe that the NDP are against a tax hike.

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  16. The new HD poll is up on the HD site, as well, so I suspect we'll get ♫ric's take on it tomorrow morning.

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  17. I'm quick as a cat today. I try to do that with new national polls.

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  18. "I'm not holding my breath. I see Canadian politics moving to coalitions as the norm, with proportional representation appearing as a side effect."

    Sorry John. I just don't see it.

    Can you see the Bloc voting to reduce their power? Either the libs or the tories holding a majority? And in a minority either would hold enough seats to band with the bloc to protect their powerbase.

    So lets go to constitutional reform. See anyone really want to touch that? Would Quebec vote to reduce its power in confederation? Would Ontario? How many provinces/much population do you need in favor? How about reforming through the senate held by either the tories or the liberals?


    Some pretty strange things would have to happen federally for that many people to lose their heads and vote against their own interests in keeping power. PR (Thank god or whatever deity you might believe in) isn't going to happen in Canada in the foreseeable future either.

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  19. Morakon and John N you may well be right because while it is great to oppose something you have to promise to remove it to capitalize on the discontent.

    The HST comes into effect on July 1. It applies to gasoline so in a way it is a carbon tax. Same with home heating fuels oil or natural gas. The PST isn't on any of these things now. So people will react to an eight to ten percent increase in the price of gas. Every time they fill up this tax will hit them. I suspect the oil companies will add on a couple of cents so that's why I say 8 to 10 percent. Electricity will be up 20% when the HST is implemented and that includes McGuinty's green electric feed in taxes. I think you'll see more of a reaction when people get their bills. However if no-one promises to roll it back then as you two say McGuinty at least is doing something. If there is a public outcry when it hits I expect one of the PC's or the NDP to promise to roll back the tax. They'd be crazy not to. JMHO

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  20. Barcs: Can you see the Bloc voting to reduce their power? Either the libs or the tories holding a majority? And in a minority either would hold enough seats to band with the bloc to protect their powerbase.

    This seems to be a disagreement about proportional representation, not probable coalition governments. Fair enough.

    The global trend is to PR. If the UK moves as expected, the only significant first-past-the-post countries will be India and the US.

    At some point, PR will likely be the price of coalition support. As you point out, it won't be welcomed today by Tories, Grits or the Bloc. Dippers and Greens would gain (as would fundamental fairness of the electoral process). Since coalitions involving the Bloc have been painted with a toxic tarbrush, it's not hard to envision a day when Grits, Dippers and Greens form a government--under the right conditions.

    PR is unlikely to be brought in without a referendum of all voters, nor should it be. We'll see it at the provincial level before it goes federal, and probably in at least three provinces.

    Put all those together and Elections Canada won't have to worry about it any time soon. But we're unlikely to stick with FPTP forever.

    So lets go to constitutional reform.

    We're entirely in agreement here. If PR required constitutional reform, it would not happen in our lifetimes.

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  21. I still don't see the numbers. Under a liberal-NDP coalition majority the Bloc/tory voters (who would almost all vote against) would total somewhere around 40%. So even with all other voters outside the liberal voters voting for it, you would still need more than 2/3 of liberal voters to have it pass in a national referendum.

    I just don't think there is that much of an appetite for PR in that many people.

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  22. AFUIS wrote a nice analysis a while ago about "The Moth-like Politics of Dalton McGuinty":
    http://afuitbs.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/the-moth-like-politics-of-dalton-mcguinty/

    Right now, I think McGuinty is the best of the bunch. His main opposition are people who want to go back to the policies of Mike Harris. The guy hasn't been perfect, but he seems pretty harmless, bland, and mildly progressive while the opposition is more radical and theatrical; that's why he'll likely win a third term.

    McGuinty's former colleague Smitherman is not very likely to become mayor of Toronto this autumn, though. It's looking a lot like the Barbara Hall campaign in 2003; and no wonder, since he was responsible for that.

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  23. niffiwan: The guy hasn't been perfect, but he seems pretty harmless, bland, and mildly progressive while the opposition is more radical and theatrical; that's why he'll likely win a third term.

    I salute your distillation of the essence of Dalton McGuinty. You've also nailed his prognosis.

    Bland... that label was often applied to Bill Davis. Sounds like a recipe for success in Ontario.

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  24. Barcs: So even with all other voters outside the liberal voters voting for it, you would still need more than 2/3 of liberal voters to have [proportional representation] pass in a national referendum.

    That implies that voters will base their support on the tactical interests of a particular party. Outside of card-carrying members, however, they may be more influenced by concepts of fairness, justice and even good government.

    I just don't think there is that much of an appetite for PR in that many people.

    Perhaps not today. But give it time and provincial experimentation.

    This is a different kettle of fish from discussing the accuracy of polls. Sooner rather than later we'll have an election which will provide polling ground truth. Proportional representation will take a lot longer to reach federal elections. Check back in 2015 for a progress report...

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  25. "That implies that voters will base their support on the tactical interests of a particular party. "

    No, that is backwards, I suggest that people vote for a party based on their own best interests. The political group they vote for conforming to the best interests of their particular block of voters in order to keep getting votes.

    To use Quebec as the extreme example: People have decided that they have far more power in getting what they want with the bloc than with federalist parties (enough to control 50 or so seats).

    That group of people (45% in the last poll) wield far more power in Canada than they would had those 50 seats gone to forming a tory majority or a liberal one. Their agenda is on the national scene every day, in parliament every day as a group (right now) they can even control the fate of this government based in western Canada and rural/suburban Ontario.

    But what does the Bloc want the voters to do in any given situation?? That is largely irrelevant. The Bloc, like everyone else want to have the power given to them from the voters. So they will conform to what the largest block of voters who might vote for them would want.

    What any given party wants is irrelevant, since it is based on a reflection of their voters.

    If the voters disagree, they will move elsewhere. Which is why I feel comfortable in saying that large majorities of the Bloc, the Tories, and the liberals do not want PR..... No large portion of any of those blocks of voters has demanded it. And if it was that important to the voter that it be done, they would not continue to vote for a party (any of the three) that is against it.

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