Friday, August 12, 2011

Liberals up three seats in Ontario projection

Note that ThreeHundredEight will be on hiatus for a few days next week. Articles in The Globe and Mail and the Huffington Post will still be published in the meantime.

With a new Ipsos-Reid poll showing a narrowing gap between the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives, the new projection for Ontario is narrowing as well.

The poll pegs Tory support at 38%, down four points from Ipsos-Reid's last poll in July. The Liberals are up five points to 36%, while the New Democrats are up one point to 23%.

However, this poll had a small sample of 400 people, giving it a margin of error of +/- 4.9%, 19 times out of 20. That is relatively large, and means that the shifts in support are not statistically significant. That does not mean they aren't an indication of something happening, however.

The samples used in the regional breakdowns of this poll are too small to consider, but in the GTA the Liberals now lead with 47% to the Tories' 32%. Nevertheless, in a larger Ipsos sample Tim Hudak topped the premier numbers at 38%, ahead of Dalton McGuinty who scored 33%. Andrea Horwath stood at 24%. Hudak led the other two leaders on all the important indicators, such as trust and competence.

This poll alone, however, would give the Liberals a minority government of 53 seats, with the Tories taking 35 and the New Democrats 19.
With this poll, the Progressive Conservatives have dropped 0.4 points since the August 2 projection to 40.1%, while the Liberals are up 0.7 points to 31.3%.

That means the gap has narrowed from 9.9 points to 8.8 points.

The New Democrats are up 0.2 points to 21.2%, and the Greens are down 0.5 points to 6.1%.

This has resulted in the Progressive Conservatives dropping three seats to 57. These three seats are all Liberal gains in the projection, and the party now stands at 32. The New Democrats are unchanged at 18 seats.

The Tories need 54 seats to have the slimmest of majorities, so they are starting to descend into dangerous territory.
They have dropped four seats since the first projection of July 20, all of which have gone to the Liberals. The New Democrats, however, have remained stuck at 18 seats.

Regionally, the Liberals picked up a seat each in Greater Toronto, the Hamilton/Niagara region, and in southwestern Ontario.
This still means the Tories win the majority of seats in Greater Toronto and southwestern Ontario, but no longer in the Hamilton/Niagara region. Perhaps importantly, the seat gain in the Hamilton/Niagara region now gives the Liberals at least one seat in every region of the province.

There are still a lot of close races in Ontario, with 26 of them being projected to have a gap of five points or less between the winners and the runners-up.
This gives the Tories a range of between 41 and 66 seats. Significantly, this puts 50% of their range in majority territory and 50% of their range in minority territory. We could say they have a 50/50 chance of winning one or the other, with a slight edge to a majority.

The Liberal range is now 22 seats to 48 seats, making a minority government possible but also putting them outside of the NDP's range, which is still between 18 and 20 seats.

All of this points to a closer race forming in the province. It should be an interesting campaign.

I am getting very close to having the models for Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island ready. When I return from my hiatus I should be able to start presenting ThreeHundredEight's first projections for these three elections.


  1. Pollsters and political pundits are claiming that the Tory numbers have slid a bit due to the way Hudak handled the abortion issue. Hudak is lucky that most voters are still tuned out. I've noticed that Hudak tends to be more gaffe prone than the other two leaders, and I would not be surprised if something he says or does causes serious damage to his campaign.

    The Liberals seem to be in a good position in the GTA. The Ontario Liberals also have better organization skills in Southwestern Ontario, something that their federal counterparts failed at. Eric's projection shows the Liberals winning eight seats in this region and becoming very close in four other seats. This is impressive considering the federal Liberals only won one seat (Guelph).

    Perhaps the Turmel turmoil in the federal level and Rob Ford's antics in Toronto is just what the Liberals need to squeeze a narrow minority win.

    On the other hand, the Liberals are more likely to implode than the Tories and NDP.

    - Maple

  2. Do you have the breakown for the leader #s on competence, trust etc?

  3. Wasn't Eric just saying there was no narrowing in the race and that anyone who suggested there is was just "speculating".

    Then BAM a new poll comes out and shows what everybody knew already.

    Better hedge your bets in the future and stick to your knitting with phrases like:

    "my model shows no movements at this time"

    instead point of fact declarations about the state of the race.

  4. I was saying that the polls did not show a narrow race. Until this new poll, any argument that the race was narrowing was speculation based on, at best, anecdotal evidence.

  5. "Perhaps the Turmel turmoil in the federal level and Rob Ford's antics in Toronto is just what the Liberals need to squeeze a narrow minority win."

    We already know from polling data that "Turmel turmoil" only ever existed in the minds of a few hysterical Liberal bloggers and their allies at the editorial board of the Globe and Mail - given that Nanos and ARS each have federal NDP support in Ontario as high as ever (and still a bit higher than the Ontario NDP is polling)- its hard to argue that this would be a factor. I do think that Hudak is coming across more and more a lightweight and unless he gets a majority - the Liberals and NDP will form a coalition government post-election to keep him out.

  6. i wouldn't get wrapped up in all these polls...remember the rob ford and george smitherman "horserace"?...remember the stephen harper-will-never-get-a-majority-government hype??...we all saw how these elections turned out inspite of all these projections and what not...i predict a tory majority government for ontario...afterall,this is the era of conservatism...

  7. Nanos shows ON Libs closing the gap:

  8. Well Eric CTV-Nanos just blew you right out of the water !!

    McGuinty LEADS Hudak !! How's them apples ??

  9. Polls are now showing a narrowing race between Hudak and McGuinty - that isn't what they were showing before. Now that there is proof, people can now claim that the Liberals are on the upswing and provide some real evidence of it. I never claimed that the Liberals couldn't be on the rise, only that no polling data pointed to that being the case. Now that data exists, so the Liberals certainly appear to be on the rise.

    Prior to this Nanos poll and the one previous to it, there was no proof of a Liberal resurgence in Ontario, only a gut feeling and anecdotal perception.

    I'd appreciate it if people tried to remain polite and respectful, thanks.

  10. Polls that ask 'who would make the best premier' are interesting, but they're not 'who would you vote for if an election were held today', the poll question which is the bread and butter of a site like this. You can't say much about increasing or decreasing support based on this CTV/Nanos poll, because it's not the same question. Plus it ties up 26% in 'not sure'/'none'.

  11. Seriously, people, give Eric a break. He provides a valuable service for free. His commentary is based on facts, not opinions, and as he has clearly show he is willing to change his mind in the face of changing evidence. What more could you ask for?

  12. What this really does point out though is the danger of looking at things too early.

    Traditionally in Ontario campaign's don't start till Sept 1.

    Eric and others have massively jumped the gun here.

    Let's wait for stuff at the end of this month before prognosticating !!

  13. There is no danger, I am looking at the situation as it is right now. There is every reason to assess the situation before a campaign, as it gives us an indication of how things move during the run-up to the vote.

    No gun has been jumped - if I had had the projection model ready for Ontario earlier it would have been up and running on May 3rd!

  14. A 10-15 point Tory lead has been vaporized, which I believe is due to voters finally tuning into provincial politics.

    A Nanos Research poll shows that McGuinty is more trusted that Hudak, especially among female voters. This is impressive considering the general notion since the 2004 budget that McGuinty is a liar.

    Another poll shows that the Tories most visible 416 candidate Rocco Rossi is trailing the incumbent Liberal MPP Mike Colle by 18 points. If these numbers are accurate, I doubt the Tories would win a single seat in Toronto. The Ford brothers' opening their mouth will likely contribute to this.

    Most of the York and Peel region ridings should also remain Liberal if poll numbers stay consistant.

    - Maple

  15. Apparently some of you don't understand what it is that Eric does. He analyses polls, translating then via a mathematical model into seat counts. He does not speculate on what MIGHT be going on between polls. We, the posters, might do that. Speculation is not what Eric does. Eric feel free to correct me.

  16. Earl the statement that got Eric into so much trouble with readers was the following:

    "There is no recent Liberal resurgence in Ontario at the provincial level."

    That turned out to be wrong.

    He should have stuck to his knitting and said "polls/my model don't show a resurgence at this time".

    By saying that there flat out was no improvement when people with on the ground knowledge knew otherwise it gave the impression he was playing a political pundit.

    He's right the polls weren't showing that at the time. BUT polls are a lagging indicator and we knew otherwise.

    More modesty from Eric would have saved him a lot of grief.

  17. Christ almighty, Anonymous 12:47 (and seriously, if you are going to snipe at Eric at least have the courage to put a handle on the sniping). For anyone who knows this site AT ALL, they know that when Eric says something like that he means that the polls don't show it. You are being needlessly quibbling. I get enough of that in my day job.

  18. Give Eric a break!! The guy is doing this out of his own goodwill and it benefits all of us political junkies. Raking Eric over the coals is like a starving person complaining that his food is too salty.


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