Monday, August 8, 2011

In Ontario election race, McGuinty may be running out of steam

In less than two months, Dalton McGuinty will be asking Ontarians to hand his Liberal Party its third consecutive majority government, something that has not been awarded in the province since the days of the Big Blue Machine. 

Frequently polled as one of Canada’s least popular provincial politicians, Mr. McGuinty has a steep hill to climb in order to solidify himself as the longest serving Liberal premier since Sir Oliver Mowat gave up the job in 1896.

You can read the rest of the article on The Globe and Mail website.

If 2007 is any guide, we should expect the polling in Ontario to begin in earnest at the end of the month. Four polls were released in the last two weeks of August just before the last election, so things should really start moving soon.

According to the Wikipedia page, there was a new poll released during the provincial campaign on generally two out of every three days. Hopefully the pollsters will be as prolific in 2011, as it is unlikely the other provincial elections will feature as many surveys. We could be surprised, though. Even little New Brunswick had a poll released every day up to the last week-and-a-half of the campaign.

Similar frequency in Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island by the Corporate Research Associates, the Atlantic Canadian polling firm, would be very interesting. Manitoba has Probe Research and one or two Saskatchewan-only polling firms often come out of the woodwork during a campaign, so we should have something to go on once the writ drops.


  1. Where do you get this stuff from Eric ??

    The latest polls out, which you put up last week, show a resurgence in Liberal support.

    No Hudak won't win !! Best current probability is a Liberal minority with NDP support.

  2. Yes, from 26% to 28%. Liberals are really surging!

  3. It's funny that we talk about surges and drops day to day that're typically of two or three percent, almost always within the margin of error. There just isn't really day-to-day changes that show up in polling data.

  4. Peter weren't you part of the "Harper can never win a majority !!" crowd ?

    Don't get caught off guard.

    Right now the odds favour a Hudak minority.

    Campaigns matter though. Prepare yourself for any eventuality.

  5. I would agree with Anonymous 18:02 (names, people, names!) that the most likely outcome right now is a Hudak minority. I would expect to see a major Liberal negative ad campaign tarring Hudak and the second coming of Mike Harris to start immediately after Labour Day. We will be able to get some idea of how the Liberals' internal polling tells us things are going by whether or not they run a save-the-furniture campaign and gun heavily for the NDP.

  6. On a side note, an internal Liberal poll released by the Star today shows the Liberals ahead of the Tories 48-30 in Eglinton-Lawrence. While, I am skeptical of the wide margin, this is an impressive number for the Liberals.

    It is a disadvantage for the Tories to nominate turncoats like Rocco Rossi and Tony Genco in swing ridings. Local Liberals will be more energized to defeat Rossi and Genco, and I doubt all Tories would bother voting for the turncoat candidate.

    The Tories lack strength in their local candidates. A Hudak cabinet will have less experience and substance than Mike Harris of 1995 or Dalton McGuinty of 2003. Hudak himself is a rookie leader with only two years of leadership under his belt. Harris had five years of experience in the opposition, while McGuinty had seven years. Also, Hudak has never held any high profile cabinet positions under the Harris government, further showing his lack of experience.


  7. What I find most interesting, to be honest, is the propaganda war that is being unleashed on the comment sections of political articles, such as that one you wrote for the Globe and Mail.

    I have no doubt that at least a good 80% of those posts are sockpuppets made by political specialists. They have a certain talking-points-regurgitating, bloody single-mindedness to them.

    The strategy of fake internet personas was used in the Ford campaign (admitted by Kouvalis after they won), and Newt Gingrich in the US was recently caught hiring a company to make millions of fake twitter followers. It would be silly to assume that PCs on the provincial level aren't using the strategy as well.

    From what I've seen, though, the Liberals are well behind in taking seriously the propaganda war in online comment sections. They really need to step their game up if they want to have a chance.

  8. Maple good points !

    Sounds like this will be a two step process for Hudak before he gets a majority win.

    1) Win a minority, govern like a majority while the Liberals run a leadership campaign.

    2) Fight another campaign in 2 years for a majority. Win or lose based on initial impressions of his governing record.

  9. Eric,

    It would be helpful if at the bottom of the page where you have all the provincial polling in each province, you also had a row showing the actual popular vote in each province in the most recent provincial election so we have something to compare the polling numbers to.

  10. If a party wants to win by a majority government, the strategy is simple. Scrap the HST!
    Survey the Ontario population with the question, If we scrap the HST, would you vote for us. Quite confident the numbers will be high. Replace the loss of revenue with another vehicle. The HST has made the majority of Ontarians angry and they will retaliate with a vote against the current government.


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