Thursday, September 1, 2011

PCs reduced to slimmest of majority in Ontario

Two new polls this week released by Forum Research and Angus-Reid show the Progressive Conservatives on the decline. But the Liberals are mostly staying put at a level of support too low to win on their own, and the New Democrats are starting to push into new heights. This has shifted the projection, reducing the PCs to only 55 seats - one more than is needed for a majority.
Since the August 19th projection, the Progressive Conservatives have slipped 1.1 points to 39.4% and two seats to 55.

The Liberals, meanwhile, are down 0.5 points to 32.1% but have picked up two seats, and now stand at 34.

The New Democrats are unchanged at 18 seats but are up 1.5 points to 21.6% support.

The Greens are up 0.2 points to 5.7%.

This marks another projection with the Tories on the decline. Back on July 20th, they stood at 61. They have been slipping ever since, allowing the Liberals to climb up from 28 seats to 34.

The Liberals picked up one of their seats in Ottawa and the other in the Hamilton/Niagara region.

The PCs are now projected to take eight seats in Ottawa and eastern Ontario, with five going to the Liberals and one to the New Democrats.

In Hamilton and the Niagara region, the PCs are now tied with the NDP at four seats apiece. The Liberals stand at two.

A lot of seats remain close, with the PCs leading by 5% or less in 20 seats and trailing by that amount in nine seats.

For the Liberals, they hold narrow leads in 10 ridings and trail by a small amount in 19 others, while the NDP is behind by 5% or less in three ridings.

This puts the Progressive Conservative range at between 35 and 64 seats. The upper range has not changed since the August 19th projection, but the floor has dropped by four seats. Only 37% of the PC's range is now in majority territory.

The Liberal range now stands at between 24 and 53 seats, an increase of three seats on the ceiling. The floor has remained the same. The range is now one seat short of reaching the minimum for a majority government. But the potential for a very bad showing still exists.

For the New Democrats, their upper range has now increased by one to 21 seats. That is still short of the Liberals' floor, however.

The number of close ridings in Ontario is huge, compared to the other elections scheduled for this fall. There are eight in Manitoba, two in Newfoundland and Labrador, one in Saskatchewan, and none in PEI. Ontario is the most unpredictable race of the five, and if the Liberal and PC numbers continue to converge the result could really be up in the air.


  1. Hi Eric, what would be the projection based on the latest 2 polls alone?

  2. I'll have something on that tomorrow.

  3. Nazar asked the question I wanted to ask!

  4. I'm a little surprised that you're giving Don Valley West to the Conservatives. Kathleen Wynne managed to take out John Tory in last election and I don't think her personal popularity is tied to the party's fortunes.

    Furthermore, while the Conservatives took the riding federally, it was only by a margin of 1.1% and I don't think McGuinty is likely to implode as badly as Iggy did.

  5. We can haz new projection for federal poll tomorows too?

  6. Okay, but only because you asked like that.

  7. The voter retention numbers in the AR poll are interesting as well. The PCs are doing very well at holding on to their vote, since 92% of those that voted PC last time plan to do so this time. But what is really interesting is that it looks like a more western Canadian dynamic between the PCs and NDP is developing, where voters will go direct from one to the other without a stop at the Liberals on the way. Of those who voted NDP last time, 80% are staying with the party, 5% are going to the Liberals, and a full 12% are going to the PCs. For the PCs, 4% of their 2007 voters are going to the NDP, compared with 2% going to the Liberals.

    Obviously this is only one poll, but it will be interesting to see if this is borne out by other polls.

  8. Its starting folks !

    NDP official opposition here we come !!

    PC minority, will rule like a majority because broken Liberal rump will be leaderless.

    Rematch in 2 and a half years or so between NDP and PC for a majority mandate.

  9. Looks like you don't have to worry about a BC election this year or next, Eric.

  10. Eh, summer polls and the campaigns of all parties going dark for the last month - because its foolish to spend money when no one is paying any attention, except political junkies like us - make these projections meaningless.

    However, come mid September, I think you will see the Tories start to re-build their lead, especially if Hudak maintains message control and focuses on taxes, taxes, taxes and jobs, jobs, jobs. The Libs and media will try to get him off message on social issues, however, he just needs to ignore the media - like Harper did - and stay on message.

    The HST referendum in BC shows there is a Tea Party revolt going on in Canada (fiscal issues - not social issues). And its not just old white guys. An analysis of the BC referendum vote shows the groups most opposed to the HST were Chinese - Canadians and Indo - Canadians in strong Liberal ridings. Families' budgets are being squeezed by rising prices, while their incomes remain stagnant, and they have no tolerance for higher taxes and more government spending. This is particularily true in ethnic communities.

    If Hudak campaigns on more HST exemptions and reducing the rate in the future, or re-negotiating a better deal for Ontario in the future, he will win big and make huge gains in the ethnic vote.

    Here is one other factoid. Any Prime Minister or Premier who has introduced the GST/HST (Canada, three Atlantic provinces and BC) has lost in the subsequent election, or like Gordon Campbell has had to resign. Alternatively, Harper who reduced the GST won a subsequent majority. I'm betting this streak will continue, and Dalton will go down in flames this fall.

  11. @TS

    Populism is the common thread that ties the NDP and Conservatives together, but I don't think that's anything new. You need only look at the changes between the 1990 and 1995 elections to see that a lot of the people who voted for Mike Harris in 1995 are the very same people who voted for Bob Rae in 1990.

    @Anonymous 15:29

    I find your scenario highly unlikely. I'm not saying a Tory minority or an NDP official opposition are impossible or implausible, but because of how many races (particularly in the 905) are two-way races between the Liberals and the Tories, the net effect of a small-to-moderate swing from the Liberals to the NDP is more seats for the Tories, not less. The reverse is true for a swing from the Tories.

    See for yourself. has a simple seat projection(not as good as Eric's imho) that you can plug the Angus Reid numbers into, and it shows an additional 11% swing is needed of Liberal supporters to the NDP to put the NDP into official opposition. Doable, but that also gives the Conservatives a majority with 69 seats. It took another 16% of 2007 Tory voters going to the NDP for me to get a scenario with an NDP official opposition AND a Tory minority. Stranger things have happened, but I doubt this one will personally...

  12. FYI in the 1975 Ontario election the PCs took 36% of the vote and got 51 seats, the Liberals took 34% of the vote and got 36 seats and the NDP took 29% of the vote and became the official opposition with 38 seats!

  13. DL,

    That was in 1975, just fyi. With much different boundaries, and an NDP leader a lot more impressive than Andrea "Mike Harris" Horwath.

  14. DL - Yes, and they did that with very different ridings and very different demographics. Very different parties in many ways too.

  15. Anonymous:

    Brian Tobin in Newfoundland in fact was re-elected in 1999 after introducing the HST in 1997 as were the Nova Scotia Liberals under Russell MacLellan in 1998(minority). In New Brunswick's case they went from the very popular Frank McKenna to Ray Frennette and then Camille Thériault within just two years before leading up to 1999 and Bernard Lord's sweep. I don't want to get into a fight but I know who put out(a certain BC political fixer of a former BC premier) the story of every premier who introduces the HST losing the next election but it is total bunk.


  16. I realize that this is not 1975 - but the fact remains that the Liberal vote tends to be very inefficient at low or moderate levels in Ontario. Look at the federal election we just had - the NDP took just half a percent more of the Ontario popular vote than the Liberals (25.8 to 25.3) and yet trounced them in the seat count 22 to 11.

    Also look at 1990 in Ontario where the NDP had 37.6% of the popular vote and the Liberals had 32% - yet the NDP took 74 seats and the Liberals just 34. The Liberal vote tends to be very evenly spread across the province - so when they do well like in 1987 or 2003 or 2007 - they run the tables and win a gigantic majority - but when the liberals don't do so well they end up in this perfect storm where they are second everywhere and they lose all the rural and upscale suburban ridings to the Tories with the NDP a distant third and they lose all the northern and inner city and industrial ridings to the NDP with the Tories a distant third.

  17. Seriously, Volkov? "Andrea 'Mike Harris' Horwath"? Why don't you just admit that you are spewing Liberal Party talking points? The Liberals are the only ones suggesting Andrea Horwath is in any way similar to Mike Harris.

  18. But you realize it requires the NDP doing better than they are right now, right? 24% ain't nothing compared to what you're claiming they need, low vote efficiency on the Lib side or not.

  19. Which was the point of mentioning Horwath, again - she isn't exactly popular nor very exciting, not compared to Lewis and so on.

  20. TS,

    It was a joke. You know, humour? I know its just text but c'mon.

    Though I do spew the occasional Liberal talking point as well.

  21. If Hudak wins the election, it will be mostly credited with voter ignorance. He can easily win over voters by enticing them with "tax breaks" on home heating, etc, but it will mean having to make up lost revenues by sacrificing another area (most likely healthcare) later in his supposed government term.

    The Liberals can still pull off a minority government because they haven't released their platform yet and they know that some voters are not short. With a vote that is evenly spread out across the province makes it riskier for the Liberals as the floor is quite low, but the ceiling can be quite high as well.

    We shall see on October 6th.


  22. DL

    Both of those cases ended up with a majority of the seats going to a single party (NDP in 1990, Conservatives in 2011). Personally I think an NDP government (majority or minority) is more likely than a Conservative minority with the NDP second.

  23. Here's hoping people do the sensible thing and vote the liberals out.Enough is enough


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