Tuesday, May 29, 2012

PCs move ahead in Ontario

A new poll by Nanos Research released on Saturday shows that the Ontario Progressive Conservatives are leading in provincial voting intentions, the first time Nanos has put the PCs ahead of the Liberals in Ontario since before the October 2011 election.
Nanos was last in the field on Apr. 14-15, and since then the PCs have gained 1.5 points to reach 33.6% support. That is a modest gain, but due to the drop of 4.4 points by Dalton McGuinty's Liberals down to 31%, the PCs are leading. The New Democrats are up two points to 28.5%, making this a very tight three-way race.

The Greens are down 0.4 points to 5.6%.

This is the first time since at least the election campaign that Nanos has been in general agreement with the conclusions of Forum Research, the only other pollster that has been consistently active in Ontario. Forum's poll from May 14 (released a couple of weeks ago) put PC support at 34% to 32% for the NDP and 27% for the Liberals. Though the order of the parties is still different, with the MOE they are all bunched up around 30%. It makes it a bit easier to say with some confidence that, firstly, the three parties are splitting the electorate almost three ways and, secondly, that the PCs are probably ahead.

With these Nanos numbers, the Progressive Conservatives win 43 seats to 37 for the Liberals and 27 for the New Democrats. It is another minority legislature, though one that is far more split than is currently the case. Who would emerge as the government in this scenario is difficult to determine.

The PCs win most of their seats in eastern, central, and southwestern Ontario while the Liberals dominate in Toronto and the GTA. The New Democrats do best in Toronto and northern Ontario.

Not surprisingly, considering the current fight between the McGuinty government and the Ontario Medical Association, healthcare has moved to the forefront as the top issue in Ontarians' minds: 34% said so, an increase of more than seven points in only a month. Concern about jobs and the economy has dropped 5.5 points to 17%, while the debt and the deficit has dropped by five points to only 7%, putting it behind high taxes and education as a top issue.

But with this conflict over healthcare still up in the air and the three parties running almost even, an election campaign could be incredibly volatile. McGuinty will survive for at least the rest of the year thanks to the support of the NDP, and if he manages to win the Kitchener-Waterloo by-election he could very well survive until 2015. If the PCs manage to hold on to the riding, however, all bets are off come 2013.

37 comments:

  1. Looks like a NDP/Lib coalition to me ??

    Nobody wants a Hudak Govt though so expect the numbers to be different on election day, whenever that is !

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    1. The PCs simply have no natural partner if the Liberals are the second biggest party. If it was PCs then NDP and then Libs, it would be a more open question who the Libs would support.

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    2. PC's don't need a partner, they would follow the Harper '06/'08 model.

      McGuinty wouldn't stay after losing an election and the leaderless Liberals would abstain from votes.

      As long as they didn't do anything too crazy then the PC's would have a free hand.

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    3. Anonymous 19:16, the Harper '06/'08 model only works where the new largest party has a clear plurality. What we would see if this Eric's projection from the Nanos poll came true, i.e. a situation where there is no clear plurality, is exactly what happened in 1985 - the PCs win the most seats, but only by a slim margin, and are unable to gain the confidence of the chamber. That's if they even get to the point of having a shot at it. Constitutional convention states that the party that formed the previous government has the first shot to gain the confidence of the chamber. This means the Liberals would be entitled to negotiate with the NDP for support for a minority government, and then to govern if a deal could be reached. The PCs might never even get a shot at it.

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    4. Derek Andrew31 May, 2012 20:44

      TS 21:38

      43 seats out of 107 with the Libs 37 and Dippers 27 is a "clear plurality". The difference between Harper 2006 127 seats/308 =41%. 43/107=40%.So there is very little difference.

      For our uses the OED defines plurality as "greatest number or part".

      Also I must quibble with your definition of the confidence convention. The previous party does not get first kick at the can-they get to test the confidence of the House. In other words they remain government until defeated or they resign. This is important because if McGuinty resigns the LG can call on whomever he pleases to form government-in other words the "party that formed the previous government" does not necessarily have "first shot to gain the confidence of the chamber". If the new Government is then defeated the premier has the option of advising a new election, although the LG may decline.

      Undoubtedly a government, will be tested as a Throne speech and budget are always confidence matters.

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  2. Do tell, with these numbers from the poll and the seat projection, who would take Kitchener-Waterloo based on it?

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    1. I'll be updating the By-Election Barometer later today.

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  3. Polls like these suggest that McGuinty will hold off calling the by-election for a while. I would bet that he calls it right after Labour Day. Give some time for issues to simmer down over the summer and give the government a chance to try to seize the agenda with something new once people are paying attention to politics again.

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  4. Everyone does it, but I'm never quite clear how you can say the PC is ahead when all three parties are within the margin of error. The differences between the parties could easily be due to chance.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, they could be. But other polls show the PCs in the lead, so it very likely that they indeed are in the lead. The odds that polls would show the same results but both be wrong are low.

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    2. Based on the track record of the Alberta polls for all we know the NDP has a 20 point lead...

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  5. Is your seat projection based on a new model that incorporates the Oct. 2011 election results or is it still based on 2007?

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    Replies
    1. New post-2011 model, but province-wide swing. I'll have a regional model up before the next vote.

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  6. Eric, can you remember seeing a poll a while back that gave the approval ratings of different Quebec politicians? I was looking for it but am not sure who did it.

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  7. Forum Research has been doing tracking polls every month in Ontario with over twice as many people (1072 in May for example) and their polls have show the PCs in the lead since January. Their polls have shown the Liberals steadily declining, the PCs staying about the same, and the NDP steadily increasing in support. Their latest numbers (May 14, 2012):
    PC 34%
    NDP 32%
    Lib 27%
    Green 5%.

    This Nanos poll shows a sudden reversal in support for the NDP and Liberals (compared to the latest Forum poll results). It will be interesting to see the results of the next Forum poll in mid-June to see if the sudden reversal in the trend in the Nanos poll holds up.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I mention Forum in my post.

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    2. IIRC Forum uses robocalls whereas Nanos uses live callers. So Nanos tends to be accurate, compared to Forum being more precise. I prefer Nanos' approach personally.

      Thor - I'd just point out that according to Forum, PC support is dropping like a stone (down 4 points), while Nanos has it trending up slightly. I'd be hesitant to draw any conclusions on trends between the two polls given the pollsters' history of disagreeing with each other.

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  8. So Nanos shows a 2 point gain for the Tories, while Forum shows a 4 point loss?

    Is it just me or is provincial polling a real crapshoot these days.

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  9. Thor, you are comparing apples to oranges...If you compare this Nanos to the previous one - it shows the same trend as Forum - Liberals trending down and NDP trending up.

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  10. Eric, where do bell-weather ridings like Niagara Falls and Peterborough fall in your projection?

    Jed

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    Replies
    1. If they are bell-weather ridings, they really show how close things are! For Peterborough, I get 33% LIB, 32% NDP, 30% PC. For Niagara Falls, I get the PCs and NDP tied at 33%, the Liberals at 30%.

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  11. Peter I voted for McGuinty last time. This time despite grave reservations I will vote for Hudak. As far as my issues are concerned at worst Hudak and McGuinty are equal and Hudak would rid us of this green nonsense, probably a greater destroyer of manufacturing employment in Ontario that any notional Dutch Disease.

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  12. A win in Kitchener would not guarantee that the McGuinty Liberals would survive votes.

    Yes they would have a one seat majority but they would have to appoint a speaker.

    Yes the speaker votes with the Government to avoid defeats, however this is only on 1st and 2nd reading. On 3rd reading, the one that proclaims the law, the speaker will not vote to make a law, to do so would remove the speaker's impartiality, so on a budget bill, a constitutional crisis would exist.

    The Government would still require the support of the NDP

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    Replies
    1. Why not vote for a member of the Opposition parties as the Speaker? Then you're guaranteed your majority, and the Speaker's vote doesn't determine a single thing?

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    2. Derek Andrew30 May, 2012 06:32

      Andrew,

      You have outlined Denison's rule, however, in matters of convention there is always flexibility. Denison's rule is itself contradictory. As you have correctly pointed out the Speaker votes against the implementation of bills (3rd reading) but, the Speaker also votes against confidence motions and for the status quo. Since, 3rd reading of the budget is always a confidence matter and a vote against the bill would bring down the status quo (the Government)a dilemma emerges; although it could be equally argued the status quo ie. last years budget would require a no vote.

      Although I agree with your analysis I find it nearly impossible a Speaker would vote against his Government. A more likely scenario would be to vote for the budget then resign or contrive a situation whereby an opposition deputy Speaker is in the Chair. Finally, it should be remembered that Government's can continue supply through royal warrants for sometime; certainly six months and perhaps as long as a year or more using numbers from the previous budget.

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  13. Ryan - Forum poll results don't show the PCs dropping like a stone. For the past 3 months - March, April and May, their polls show the support for the PCs steady at 34%. Their support at election time was 35%. It went up as high as 41% in January, but it dropped to 34% by March and has stayed there since.

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  14. DL - Yes, the Nanos polls have recently shown a trend of the Liberals dropping and the NDP rising. But, there is a big difference in levels between the Forum polls (which use a much larger sample and have a smaller margin of error than the Nanos polls) and the Nanos Polls. The Forum polls have shown the PCs ahead of the Liberals for about half a year already, and shows the NDP support above the Liberals for the past 2 months. The Nanos polls have the Liberals above both the PCs and NDP until mid-May. Interesting.

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  15. I think mcguinty should embrace left of centre social policy right now while emphasizing fiscal conservatism.. This is where liberal strength lies.. Put together a framework for regulating brothels and put forth policy that ends the war on cannabis by supporting the federal liberals lead to legalize while in the meantime making enforcement of the federal marijuana laws the lowest priority of the o.p.p. ..sound economic policy coupled with progressive ideas on prostitution and cannabis policy will win him back support that is bleeding ndp..

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  16. Earl:

    Regardless of the hype, spin and outright lies that have gone on Mulcair's "Dutch disease" remarks are correct !!

    Canadian oil is priced as WTI on the world market.

    9 months ago WTI was $106 a barrel and the Cdn dollar = $1.02 US dollars

    Now WTI is under $90 a barrel and the loonie = 97¢ US

    No argument then that all that money flowing into the oil sands screwed the eastern manufacturing provinces !!

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    Replies
    1. Derek Andrew30 May, 2012 23:10

      Correlation does not equal causation Peter.

      Also you have not proven the dollar has fallen due to slower demand for oil. It is equally probable (without quantitative data at least) that the American dollar has risen due to uncertainties with the Euro and weakness in the Chinese economy. We simply do not know without evidence.

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    2. Sorry Derek but you are wrong as these show:


      http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1203040--walkom-mulcair-s-politically-deft-oil-sands-critique-is-right-sort-of

      Thomas Walkom

      "In fact, Mulcair’s argument is neither new nor odd. He says the high loonie, by making Canadian exports pricier in foreign markets, has hurt Ontario manufacturers. And he says the dollar is high, in large part, because Canada’s booming oil economy has boosted worldwide demand for this country’s currency.

      Most analysts would agree on both counts. The real debate is over the degree of hurt."

      And in the National Post

      http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/30/was-thomas-mulcair-right-new-report-supports-dutch-disease-claims/

      “The result appears to be a uniquely Canadian strain of the Dutch Disease that could be called ’oilsands fever’ — a strain that is beginning to create clear winners and losers in Canada’s economy and could pose a significant risk to Canada’s competitiveness in the emerging, clean energy economy.”

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    3. And Derek the WTI barrel has dropped another dollar and the loonie has dropped another fraction of a cent. Now at 97.1¢ vs yesterdays 97.7¢

      Sorry but that's more than enough correlation !!

      Delete
    4. Derek Andrew31 May, 2012 17:56

      Peter,

      Once again correlation does not equal causation! I would point out the two articles you post are opinion pieces not quantified statistical analyses. You have also data mined only parts of the article by Mr. Walkom and ignored the conclusion! Rather disingenious.

      Mr Walkom writes: "I say qualified because most studies I’ve seen conclude that the oil sands don’t bear sole responsibility for Canadian manufacturing woes... the Institute for Research on Public Policy looked at 80 industries and concluded that the high dollar hurt 25 of them, representing a quarter of the country’s manufacturing output"!

      "Another, published in 2009, estimated that only 42 per cent of Canadian job losses attributable to the high loonie were the result of Dutch disease.

      According to that study, the weakness of the U.S. greenback — a weakness unrelated to the oil sands — accounted for the remaining 58 per cent of currency-related job losses".

      In your second post you state oil is -$1 and the loonie has droped .6 of a cent. So while oil has decline 1.1% the dollar has only decline .006%. One would need to figure out T values, run chi square tests and all sorts of other statistical tests to say with metaphysical certitude a causal relationship exists between oil prices and the value of the $CDN v. the $US but, just examining the numbers we see the relative drop in the price of oil is 20 times larger than the decline in the Canadian dollar! On the face of it there does not appear to be any correlation or if so a very weak relationship.

      Individual fuxuations of 1 or 2% per day are not unusual indeed, they are the norm. Oil for instance dropped 17% in May whereas the decline in the $CDN v. $US was 4%. Previously you stated oil was $106 a barrel and the $CDN was $1.02. Today oil is $86.5 and the $CAD 97 cents. So oil has lost 19% of its value whereas the $CDN is down 5%!

      Does the price of oil influence the Canadian dollar probably-but to what degree? As Walkom states the answer is: "qualified because most studies I’ve seen conclude that the oil sands don’t bear sole responsibility for Canadian manufacturing woes". Or the value of the Canadian dollar, I would add.

      In any case you have not proven a correlation much less a causation exists between $P oil and the $CAD. Without testable datasets to rule out other possible causes (such as a decline in the $US) there is little point continuing this conversation.

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    5. Derek Andrew31 May, 2012 20:21

      Peter,

      I was remiss not to point out WTI is a futures market and refers to higher quality oil than is produced in Alberta! WTI as a future, one is betting on the future price of oil. A better comparions would be between WTI and CAD$ futures to demonstrate a correlation.

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    6. Derek

      You just blew it again !!

      WTI $83.23

      CAD + 0.9610

      You wanted correlation, well there is is !!

      Delete
  17. Derek give it up. You've lost

    The Pembina Institute report alone blows you out of the water.

    Sorry, you lost !

    Western whinging is proven false again !!

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