Friday, March 18, 2011

Progressive Conservatives still on track for majority in Ontario

The latest Ontario provincial poll from Nanos Research shows that, though there has been little real change in support, the numbers are moving in Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak's favour.
Compared to Nanos's last provincial poll conducted in early February, the Progressive Conservatives are up one point and now lead with 44%. More significant is the four point drop of the Liberals to 35%, though that is not a statistically significant drop.

Of course, a drop being statistically insignificant does not necessarily mean it isn't real.

The New Democrats are up three points to 16%, while the Greens are down one to 4%.

With the results of this poll only, ThreeHundredEight projects that the Progressive Conservatives win a majority government with 62 seats. That is unchanged from the projection for Nanos's last poll.

The Liberals, however, drop seven to only 34 seats. The New Democrats take up the slack, and would win 11.

Nanos also looked at what issues were in the minds of Ontarians. Healthcare is, unsurprisingly, at the top of the list at 31%. The Liberals hold the advantage on this file, as 25% of Ontarians believe they are the best to handle the issue, compared to 23% for the Progressive Conservatives.

Jobs and the economy is next at 15%, while high taxes is not far behind at 14%. Putting these together shows that money-related issues are a concern for about as many Ontarians as healthcare, and on this file the Progressive Conservatives are ahead: 33% on the economy and 38% on taxes. The Liberals follow at 22% and 20%, respectively.

Education is the top issue for only 7% of Ontarians, and again on this issue the Liberals are favoured: 27% to the PCs' 23%.

As to who would make the best Premier, Tim Hudak is the favourite at 27%, followed by Dalton McGuinty at 22%, Andrea Horwath at 10%, and Mike Schreiner at 3%.

This is less significant than it looks. If we take out the undecideds and none-of-the-aboves, we get 44% for Hudak, 35% for McGuinty, 16% for Horwath, and 5% for Schreiner. Aside from the Green result, those are the exact same numbers as for provincial voting intentions.

Of course, with a federal campaign likely to start at the end of next week the provincial campaign in Ontario will take a back seat. The Progressive Conservatives were planning a big get-together at the end of April to go over their platform, but the importance of the event will have to be minimized.

The federal campaign will give the provincial parties a chance to get their volunteers out there and in the habit of electioneering, but could contribute to a little bit of fatigue when the provincial campaign rolls around. And the result of the federal campaign could be a demoralizing factor. If the volunteers of the Ontario Liberals participate in a losing federal campaign, they might not be so excited to put all that wasted effort into another campaign in the fall.


  1. can you apply your federal model to get a riding-by-riding breakdown?

  2. The ridings don't match-up exactly anymore, now that there are 107 ridings in Ontario at the provincial level, and only 106 at the federal level.

    Before the provincial election, I will develop a riding-level model for Ontario.

  3. The 96 ridings in Southern Ontario are the same Provinically and Federally. The extra seat is up north, and those seats rarely change hands in Ontario (although Nipissing looks like it will flip this election).

    I wish there was CMA breakdowns for this poll, as I would be very curious to see what support the Tories have in the GTA. Obviously their support is up in hte urral areas, but with 40 of the 107 seats in the GTA, support there matters a lot for Hudak.

  4. Actually, there could very well be some big changes in the north. Right now the NDP only has three seats in northern Ontario, but lost three last time by very narrow margins and since that time the party has swept the north federally winning 7 out of 9 seats.

  5. The closer this gets to the election the CON number will drop. Anyone watching now can see the constant mistakes Hudak makes, the constant infighting with the Ontario Landowner guys. Watch this guy come to town for announcements and no one, I mean no one shows up. He even said he wouldn't rule out scrapping the Health Prem two days after the CONs called the health minister a liar for saying the CONs would ditch the tax. Even the SUN mocked them for it. That's a $3 billion cut to health care.

  6. Hudak will implode well before the election, which is still months away. His recent support of a former Tamil Tiger member as a candidate will come back to haunt him in his base. Furthermore, he has no policies to speak of. The ghost of Harris is still an albatross on his neck. Prediction: Liberal Minority backed up by the NDP.

  7. McGuinty's Liberals will be re-elected with a smaller majority as Hudak will not be able to capitalize on McGuinty's mistakes to the fullest of his advantage. A minority will be impossible to work with as Andrea Horwath will be in a awkward position to either support the PCs, who are complete opposites with her NDP, or to support the Liberals, who are her former election "enemies."

    Also, Corporate Research Associates had released their quarterly provincial polls for Atlantic Canada. When might you find time for an analysis of those polls since we're nearing a federal election next week, Éric?

  8. Have to agree with Anon. Hudak basically a non-starter.

    Long time before we go to the polls and expect McGuinty's Liberals to pull several rabbits out of the hat!!

    And the Mike Harris image still hangs over Hudak like the Grim Reaper !!

  9. "Have to agree with Anon. Hudak basically a non-starter.

    Long time before we go to the polls and expect McGuinty's Liberals to pull several rabbits out of the hat!!

    And the Mike Harris image still hangs over Hudak like the Grim Reaper !!"

    Like what? McGuinty's problem is that his government is getting tired. It happens inevitably to all governments and it's not something you can just reverse (see Martin, Paul, Campbell, Kim, Turner, John). Pulling rabits out of hats is something for kid's birthday parties, not governments. Similarly, playing to fears of the big bad Harris boogie man is a losing strategy (as even McGuinty's federal cousins seem to have admitted, since they've long since given up on the practice). It may well be the only the card the Liberals have to play, but that just emphasizes the point that they don't have much going for them.

    If anything, the Liberals should be happy to get out of office now while the getting is good. Somehow Ontario will have to wrestle it's deficit to ground over the next few years (at a time when the Feds, regardless of who wins the next election, are unlikely to repeat the sweet health care deal that first Martin then Harper signed on to in the 00's). Far better to get out now and let the Tories do the heavy lifting (while the Grits choose a new leader and revitalize their party), then to spend the next few years as a pinata for the Tories and the NDP.


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