Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Progressive Conservatives take the lead in Ontario

Ipsos-Reid's latest poll on the provincial political situation in Ontario shows that Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives have taken a decisive lead and are set to form a majority government in the province's next election.Compared to Ipsos-Reid's last provincial poll taken in August, the Progressive Conservatives have gained five points and now lead with 41%. The Ontario Liberals are down three points to 32%, while the New Democrats are up two to 20%.

The Ontario Greens have dropped four points and now stand at 7%.

The Progressive Conservative gain and Liberal loss is not far outside the margin of error, but it has turned a one-point gap into a nine-point gap between the two parties.

Note that this telephone poll was conducted between November 2 and November 18, but was actually only in the field between November 2 and 4 and November 16 and 18.

Before getting into the regional results, it is worth noting the huge disparity between the voting intentions of men and women. The Progressive Conservatives have a massive lead among men, with 50% support compared to the Liberals' 30% (and the NDP's 16%). But among women, the Liberals actually lead: 34% to the PC's 32% and the NDP's 25%. We've seen this kind of unbalance at the federal level, but never anything so pronounced.

Surprisingly, the biggest gain for the Progressive Conservatives has come in the Greater Toronto region. They've jumped 11 points to 40% in the provincial capital, while the Liberals are down nine points to 33%. The NDP is relatively steady, gaining two points to reach 20%.

The PCs also lead in central and southwestern Ontario, with 44% and 48%, respectively. They've been holding steady there, as have the Liberals at 27% and 21%, respectively. The New Democrats have made a move in these regions, however. They've gained four points in central Ontario (22%) and have moved into second place in southwestern Ontario with a six point gain (24%).

It is a much closer race in the eastern part of the province, where the PCs and Liberals are neck-and-neck at 41%. That is a six point drop for the Progressive Conservatives and a nine-point gain for the Liberals. The NDP is not a factor here, with 10% support.

The one region in which Dalton McGuinty's party leads is in the north. The Liberals have jumped seven points there and lead with 41%. The NDP and Progressive Conservatives are holding steady with 29% and 23%, respectively.

With relatively small regional sample sizes, these results are surprisingly consistent.

With this poll, the Progressive Conservatives would win 59 seats and form a majority government. The Liberals would form the Official Opposition with 32 seats, while the New Democrats would win 16.

That represents a loss of 40 seats from the Liberals' current standing in the Legislative Assembly. It's a gain of 34 for the Progressive Conservatives and six for the NDP. It's also a gain of eight seats for the PCs compared to the projection for Ipsos-Reid's last poll, a gain of one seat for the NDP, and a loss of nine for the Liberals.

Less than a year remains before the next provincial election in Ontario. There is not much time for Mr. McGuinty to dig himself out of the hole he is currently in. With the Ontario Liberals seeming to be piling problem onto problem, all Mr. Hudak has to do is hold steady and appear to be a competent alternative and he should coast to the premiership.


  1. Hi Eric:

    Great work. Glad you are expanding your horizons and are in the Hill Times.

    As to ON, McGuinty is doing everything possible to bring about his own defeat. People are angry about their Electric Bills and now are being told they'll (the cost of electricity) double again. Voters in ON have not forgotten the HST either, they simply lacked the forum BC voters did to make their displeasure known.

    Even last weeks ten percent cut in Electric Bills was seen as it ought to have been as a bribe with our own money that the Province can ill afford. Yet the Premier and his government press ahead with their ineffective "green" agenda at great cost. As one commentator pointed out lowering corporate tax rates and bringing in the HST might be business friendly but sky high power rates will more than offset any advantage that might have been gained.

  2. It would doubly unfortunate if McGuinty lost the election for reason relating to Hydro costs. I mean, a hydro bill doubling over 20 years works out to a fairly predictable rate of inflation of 3.5% a year. The report in the Globe admitted that most of the cost increase would be coming from Nuclear investments. Moreover, cities and smaller communities refuse natural gas power plants essentially leaving no options at all.

    At least the HST is a policy choice. Granted I suppose subsidizing the rising cost of energy would be to, but I don't I'll see anyone not in the NDP clamoring for such obvious government intervention until they're late in office and their polls start diving.

    Instead we get complaints about such bugbears as green energy and wind turbines.

  3. Everyone keeps talking about electricity bill - but HONESTLY my hydro bills are lower than ever - Last year at this time of year my bill for two months was about $160 and this year it was $140. Am I the only person missing out on this electricity rate increase? I'm not living any differently now than a year ago.

  4. The Liberals have done a masterful job of painting themselves into a corner on a bunch of issues, but I have a hard time believing that Tim Hudak can coast to victory. PC numbers are a function of how sick Ontarions are of the government's arrogance and ineptitude, not any embrace of Mr. Hudak's ideas and leadership.

    This is an enormously fluid political dynamic. Almost any result could come out of it a year from now.

  5. I think the Harris years are still too fresh in everyone's mind to go back to Hudak. At least under the Liberals you don't have to worry if your drinking water is safe.

  6. I am not sure what you are implying Morakon?

    Is it that Iggy is running to be premier on a healthcare/education platform that you expect McGuinty and Hudak to run on a municipal platform for water rather than provincial jurisdictions?

  7. Barcs: Oh I'm more than implying. Under the Harris government water quality testing suffered. The gov't cuts were found to be contributing factors in the Walkerton tragedy. Ontario has a Safe Drinking Water Act which requires the gov't to do inspections. So it is a provincial responsibility. We just saw the same thing happen federally with the Maple Leaf listeria deaths. It's no suprise Harpers guys cut back on Inspectors ad stuff like this happens.

  8. "The gov't cuts were found to be contributing factors in the Walkerton tragedy."

    The Harris cuts from the bloated Rae government budget? Or the Martin cuts which necessitated the even deeper Harris cuts? How did having 4-6% of his revenue cut out of a budget that Rae left billions in deficit already affect Harris's budget decisions?

    "From the report:

    For years, the Walkerton Public Utilities Commission operators engaged in a host of improper operating practices, including failing to use adequate doses of chlorine, failing to monitor chlorine residuals daily, making false entries about residuals in daily operating records, and misstating the locations at which microbiological samples were taken. The operators knew that these practices were unacceptable and contrary to Ministry of Environment guidelines and directives."

    Stan and Frank Koebel plead out... In their plea, they admitted to falsifying reports and Frank admitted to drinking on the job, though a beer fridge did exist at the facility. One got a year in jail.. the other 9 month's house arrest. Another one of our legal (not "justice") systems lax standards for 7 deaths, 2500 very sick, and 5800 people affected.

    Would a couple more inspectors have fixed solved the problem? They were already falsifying reports, mis-entering results, and lying about where they took samples.

    Ya, sending someone by to shake their hand's probably would have straightened them out.

    Hey, are those inspectors considered essential services when the general strike happens over McGuinty's wage freezes this year??? Harper has increased transfers to just Ontario by 6 billion (more than a billion a year... transfers more than 50% more per person in Ontario today than in transfers just 5 years ago) since Martin was asked to retire. Why is Duncan and the "responsible liberals" having all the trouble?

  9. Barcs: The reason you need provincial inspectors is to monitor idiots like the two that were the cause of the Walkteron tragedy. Just like Maple Leaf. You can't expect people to properly police themselves. The Harris government also cut E. coli testing from its Drinking Water Surveillance Program. Later they shut down the Drinking Water Surveilance Program completely. No surprise Walkerton happened. Don't think I'm a fan of big spending government. Harris definately needed to get the budget under control after Rae. But there are certain things that shouldn't be cut to save a couple bucks. And considering how many services were downloaded to municipalities he should have been able to do water inspections. Thanks to Harris my property taxes are needed to pay welfare. Nice One.

  10. The truth about "Green" energy and its costs in ON:


  11. Earl

    The Ont. Green Energy thing is the biggest fubar I've seen in a long time. But a lot of people are making a bundle.

    What's not to like (sigh)


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