Wednesday, June 29, 2011

PCs stable, Liberals drop in Ontario

Reported by The Toronto Star on Sunday, a new Forum Research poll for Ontario shows that the Progressive Conservatives hold a massive 15-point lead over the governing Liberals. And with the New Democrats looking good in the province, the result could be quite a drubbing for Dalton McGuinty.

According to Forum's large poll conducted over IVR, the Progressive Conservatives lead with 41%, generally where the other pollsters have pegged the party.

The difference in this Forum poll, however, is how low the Liberals have sunk. They stand at 26%, eight points lower than the recent Ipsos-Reid poll. Whether June has worsened the situation for the Liberals or whether Forum has under-shot the Liberals by a little will have to be proven in subsequent polls.

The New Democrats stand at 22%, slightly higher than others have put the party, while the Greens are at 8%.

Long-time readers will note that I usually don't compare one poll from one firm to another by a different firm, but in this case we don't have anything else with which to compare this Forum poll.

Regionally, the Progressive Conservatives hold an impressive lead throughout the province. They are at 50% in eastern Ontario and hovering around 40% in the GTA, the southwest, and the north.

The Liberals are trailing in second in eastern Ontario (25%) and the GTA (28%), but are much closer in the downtown 416 area code. They still trail the PCs there, however. They are also tied with the NDP in southwestern Ontario and are running third in the north.

At 24%, the NDP is second in the north and tied with the Liberals at 25% in southwestern Ontario. They stand at 22% in the GTA and 16% in the east.

With this poll only, ThreeHundredEight projects a Progressive Conservative majority government with 67 seats.

The New Democrats form the Official Opposition with 23 seats, while the Liberals are reduced to third-party status with only 17 seats.

These results looked odd to me as well, considering that the NDP ends up ahead of the Liberals with less of the vote. I am still using the older abstract model for Ontario, so I headed over to the UBC's election forecaster for a little confirmation. I got something even wonkier there: only five seats for the Liberals.

Clearly, the New Democrats should be more efficient in turning votes into seats than the Liberals. Though the NDP isn't exactly riding high, they are riding close enough to the Liberals to be a real problem for Dalton McGuinty.

Speaking of the premier, he is considered the best person for the job by 30% of the province, behind Tim Hudak at 38% but ahead of Andrea Horwath of the NDP, who is at 22%.

There is a little bit of a silver lining here for McGuinty. He is slightly more popular than his own party, indicating that his experience is a strength. Hudak, on the other hand, is less popular than his own party, indicating that his inexperience and novelty could be a weakness. But Hudak would still gladly take a 38% to 30% spread at the polls.


  1. I'm not surprised that this popular vote would put the Ontario Liberals in 3rd place. They have a very inefficient vote at low levels since their support tends to be so evenly spread out across the province - while the NDP and PCs tend to have their regional strongholds and dead zones. Let's not forget that in the federal election the Liberals and NDP had almost exactly the same share of the popular vote in Ontario and yet the NDP took 22 seats compared to the Liberals 11.

    You would think that Forum could give some breakdown of the GTA into outer belt (905) and City of Toronto (416). The GTA as a whole is half of Ontario meaning that they must have done about 1,600 interviews in the GTA - easily divisible in two...and needless to say NDP support tends to be vastly higher in 416 than in 905.

    The only thing i would caution all parties about in looking at polls like this is that in Ontario - people tend not to pay much attention to provincial politics until there is an election campaign happening - otherwise people tend to think this is about federal politics.

  2. Forum did break it down to the 416 and the 905, but I didn't include it.

    416 - PC 33%, LIB 31%, NDP 25%
    905 - PC 44%, LIB 25%, NDP 20%

  3. Thanks, that is much more interesting to compare those numbers to the results by region in Ontario in the 2007 election, as well as with the May 2 federal election.

  4. One more thing to bear in mind...this poll has the Green Party at 8% - similar to some of the inflated numbers we saw for the federal Greens in Ontario just before the federal election campaign began. Of course when the votes were counted the federal Green party only took about 4% in Ontario. The Ontario Greens are (if anything) even lower profile and weaker than their federal counterparts. You can love Elizabeth May or hate her - but she is somewhat of a household name. In contrast the Ontario Green party is led by some complete nobody that no one has ever heard of and they have no presence whatsoever. Expect their support to shrivel to 3% or 4% as the election gets closer.

  5. Not that I am thinking of voting liberal, but remember the last Ontario election. When John Tory was ahead of McGuinty in polls, then he (McGuinty) turned it around and won by more than 10% on Election day. Could it happen again? Then again, he did not have the HST to worry about. Tory's funding for religious schools was his HST I suppose

  6. Eric, considering how close those numbers are in the 416 (if those numbers hold on election day), either one of those parties could win the majority of seats in the area. It would depend on how much each party won by in each 416 riding

  7. I'm not at all convinced that the Liberals have even started to campaign but when they do watch out!!

    Hudak is very vulnerable on a number of things but the Jeffrey Simpson piece on the Globe last week just showed how insane his Harris economics are.

    Cut taxes BEFORE you balance the budget ?? Hello ?? That's a Harris trick that really didn't work !!

  8. NB: If there was more or a less a three split of the popular vote across the City of Toronto - it would not be pretty for the Liberals. The NDP would hold the 4 seats it has now, easily add York South-Weston and Davenport and have a very good shot at ridings they won federally in Scarborough as well as York West and even Toronto Centre. The Tories would clean up all those seats they won federally in the more upscale parts of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough and the Liberals could end up finishing second in every riding and only winning St. Paul's.

  9. DL: That's the problem with our FPTP system. One party could be second in every single riding, and have no seats, whereas a party that is basically non-existant in every T.O. riding other than one or two and wins that one or two.

    Look at the last federal election, there were many ridings where the NDP or even the liberals put up a good fight and maybe lost by a few points.

    Anything could happen though

  10. @Anon 13:13 - governments aren't elected - they are defeated. McGuinty's numbers have been steadily heading south for two years to the point where they are starting to look like Charest's. Governments can rebound from a 5% gap, but 15%? No way. Much like Obama in '08, the desire for change is so strong in Ontario that all Hudak has to do is look like a semi-reasonable alternative, at which time he will win.

    If they were smart, the Ontario Liberals would start running a "save the silverware" campaign aimed at saving their 40 best seats, and live to fight another day. They won't, though - they'll go heavily negative province wide and, in the process, suffer an even worse beating than they might have otherwise.

  11. Much as I don't want to vote for the Liberals and do want to vote for the PC's I see little incentive to do so. I'm more inclined to vote NDP right now, than support Hudak. What does he offer except a change in Leadership? Hudak won't address the most pressing issue - the deficit - any more quickly that either of the other two parties. At least the NDP would put money back in my pocket and reduce gas prices. Hudak would cut taxes - before reducing the deficit and to do so he'd HAVE to cut health and education spending despite what he says. I don't believe Hudak! He's a snake oil salesman.

  12. If the Liberals were smart they link Hudak and Harris and remind Ontarians of what the Harris years were like. Go negative and go large!

  13. Wonder if all the Anonymous posters could take names so one could respond to them. Doesn't have to be your real name. Follow the site's guidelines please!!! Use a name!!!

  14. Harper vs. Hudak
    Ignatieff vs. McGuinty
    Layton vs. Horwath
    Elizabeth May vs. Mike Scheiner

    When comparing the provincial leaders to the federal counterparts only McGuinty is more competent than his federal counterpart. While, I find it hard to believe that the McGuinty Liberals can make a comeback, but I won't count it out. Stranger things have occurred in politics.

    The 905 and suburban 416 ridings areas usually swing uniformly. They were crucial to the back to back majority wins of both Mike Harris and Dalton McGuinty. Even on the federal level these ridings were needed to secure a majority. If the Liberals start improving in this area, which is strongly possible, then we may see a more competitive race.

  15. New Manitoba poll now has the NDP and PCs tied at 44% each, erasing the 12 point lead the PCs had just a few months ago.

  16. I don't think that this level of PC support will hold, the liberals have not even started to campaign yet. And all Hudak and his crew are doing is creating the "Taxman" ads, I see them ALL the time. After Harper's constant "Ignatieff didn't come back for you" ads, I don't think that many Ontarians would be as susceptible this time.

    I can see this election producing a minority government, either liberal or conservative. I don't think that Ontarians trust either one of these guys enough to give them a majority. But I could be wrong and there could be another protest vote and Horwath could be the next Premier of Ontario

  17. It might be pretty hard for the PCs to win a majority even if they are above 40. Since there are about 35 seats in Northern Ontario + the 416 area of Toronto and the PCs would be lucky to win much more than half a dozen of these theyd have to win close to 3/4 or so of the rest of the seats in Ontario (East/South/905 area), which would be a pretty significant feat when you factor in a number of Liberal and NDP strongholds in these areas. Though it would appear that a split vote something like 42-25-25 would benefit the PCs almost as well as it did in the federal election for the Conservatives and would get them a small majority, largely from dominating the 905 seats this time around.

  18. What I can see BillyBob is a Liberal minority Govt with NDP support.

    The dippers would NEVERsupport Hudak so the only place left is the Liberals.

  19. A lot of people predicted Rob Ford would never win. A lot of people predicted Harper would never have his big sweep of Ontario either.

    Peter and Earl you guys are 0 for 2 right now. I'm going to guess its 0 for 3 at this rate.

  20. Rob Ford won ONLY because people wanted a change. The CPC won a lot of barely-won ridings; in many ridings the LPC/NDP candidate only lost by a few thousand votes. The ONDP would not very likely support Hudak and his Harris-like crew. Remember way back in the mid to late 90's; unions got shafted by Harris.

    Also about the big sweep for Harper, there were many ridings where it was split for NDP and LPC and therefore the CPC snuck right through the middle. The reason above and the reason here are the only reasons (the Ignatieff factor did not dramatically improve the CPC support) why the CPC won so many Ontario ridings

  21. Jean Gerad go back and check the Ontario numbers.

    Harper got 44.4% of the vote in the province.
    The NDP and Liberals both got about 25%.

    There were 2 ridings where the margin of victory was less than 1%, 2 ridings at 1%, and 2 more at 2%.

    6 close ridings ! Not at all a lot actually.

    Its a huge myth that Harper won Ontario because of vote splits or some quirk of the voting system.

    NO he won it by getting a very, very large plurality of votes (in fact almost a majority).

    Stop trying to explain away Harper's victory. Stop trying to explain away Rob Ford's victory.

    Stop trying to deny Tim Hudak's coming victory.

  22. Shadow I'm not saying Hudak won't win. I expect him to. I'm just very unimpressed by him. Welcome back as anonymous.

  23. There is a desire for change, but I'm not sure that has settled yet. Although the PC's will be attempting to bring in the micro focused riding strategy that worked for their federal cousins, I'm not sure that works provincially. One thing is for certain - people are considering all their options and for the first time since the days before Rae won, the NDP are being looked at seriously.

  24. Interesting to see the Tories doing well in Northern Ontario. I wonder if their definition of Northern Ontario goes by area code and includes parts of central Ontario?


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