Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ontario PC majority in new Environics poll

Environics released their latest numbers from Ontario, indicating that the Progressive Conservatives hold a wide-lead over the second-place New Democrats. But with the Liberals dropping so much, they risk being reduced to their enclave of Toronto.
Environics was last in the field Apr. 10-13, and since then the PCs have remained steady at 37% support.

The New Democrats have dropped two points to 28%, while the Liberals are also down two points to 25%.

The only party gaining, then, is the Green Party, up four points to 10%.

Perhaps this is a statistical fluke or a rejection of the Liberal government and its NDP support. But there is little to suggest why the Greens would be making such important gains (they had less than 3% support in the last election).

The race is a tight three-way contest in the GTA, where the Liberals have dropped five points to 32% support. The PCs are down three points to 31%, while the NDP is up three points to 27%. The Greens are up five to 10%.

In the rest of Ontario, the Tories are up two points to 41% while the NDP is down five points to 29%. The Liberals are up one point to 21% and the Greens are up two to 9%.

Interestingly, Environics included the 2011 election's results in the breakdown of the GTA and the rest of Ontario. Compared to the last vote, the Liberals have dropped 12 points in both regions, while the NDP is up six points in the GTA and five points in the rest of the province. The PCs are mostly holding steady - unchanged in Toronto but up two points elsewhere.

With these numbers, the Progressive Conservatives win a majority government of 61 seats, with the NDP forming the Official Opposition with 30 seats. The Liberals win 15 seats and the Greens win one.

Before anyone gets too excited, note that the Greens have increased their support by more than three times in this poll. That is almost certainly a huge inflation of their real support and especially the support they would get on a hypothetical election day. But at 10%, they do reach the threshold of being able to win a seat.

The PCs win 21 seats in eastern and central Ontario, 22 in Hamilton/Niagara and southwestern Ontario, 16 in Toronto and the surrounding area, and two in northern Ontario.

The NDP wins one seat in eastern Ontario, 11 in and around Toronto, nine in Hamilton/Niagara and southwestern Ontario, and nine in the northern part of the province.

The Liberals win two seats in eastern and central Ontario and 13 in and around Toronto.

The results of this poll are quite horrific for the Liberals. It would appear that the party has never scored 25% support since at least before 2003. They have been between 26% and 28% several times, but not even in the dog days of mid-2011 did Dalton McGuinty's party sink so low.

However, Ontario has been a bit of a confusing province lately. Polls have disagreed with one another wildly, so it is quite possible we will see another poll in the coming days putting the Liberals in second place. After all, this survey had a rather large margin of error of +/- 4.4%, and with Nanos also usually polling around 500 people the level of disparity between the polls is perhaps not so surprising.

Nevertheless, the Liberals have had a run of bad polls. It is a good thing for them that they will not be facing the electorate this year, though Dalton McGuinty has come back from this kind of deficit before.

43 comments:

  1. Voters tend to "park" with the Greens between elections, but don't end up voting that way.

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    1. I´m starting to wonder whether Ontario is just about impossible to poll these days for provincial elections. Pollsters are radically disagreeing with each other about where each of Ontario´s three main parties sit. I also wonder how many poll respondents in a lot of these provincial polls incorrectly think that they are responding to a federal poll and thus may not be giving an accurate voting intention for provincial politics.

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    2. You know Brendan I have to think you are right and any poll in Ontario has to be suspect.

      I'm not convinced the majority are really that disabused of the Liberals for instance when they look at the Feds and see the Harper Govt running roughshod over everybody !!

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    3. I think all polls are telling the same story. PCs holding steady. NDP up. Liberals down.

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  2. I don't think we can assume that the Liberals won't be facing the electorate this year. Obviously they won't go to the polls because of a defeated budget, but the PCs and NDP could combine to pass a motion of no-confidence in the fall.

    I really think this Green number will turn out to be an outlier. There hasn't been anything provincially to spur Green numbers, or even federally. It seems likely to me that this will turn out to be the 20th time out of 20 for this poll.

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  3. I don't see any incentive for the NDP to force an election. They are likely to trade-in a Liberal minority where they have a lot of influence for a PC minority with a lot less or a PC majority with none.

    Perhaps they could actually win, but I don't think that is very likely at this stage.

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    1. I think we have to wait and see what the numbers look like in the fall. Obviously we won't be seeing an election call before September at the very earliest. If the Liberals have something of a poll recovery at the expense of the PCs, and are looking at more of an even split in the legislature, the NDP incentive to cause an election goes way up - to capitalize on their poll gains without making a NDP-supported Liberal minority impossible.

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    2. The NDP forcing an election in the fall is very unlikely. They have resisted forcing an election even with a budget that they didn´t like. Something absolutely catostrophic would have to happen before the NDP and PCs teamed up to defeat the government on a non-budget related non-confidence motion in the fall.

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    3. I could also see McGuinty calling a snap election if the Liberals go up in the polls, though I'm pretty sure we'll see the Kitchener-Waterloo by-election before an election.

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    4. My understanding is that both the NDP and Conservatives are completely broke too...

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  4. You know, these days it seems that Ontario is almost as bad as Quebec when it comes to polling. The PCs are either first or second, the NDP either second or third, and the Liberals are either in the lead or far behind.

    That said, I think McGuinty would still be the man to beat if an election is called this fall. Hudak is deeply unpopular, and I suspect McGuinty could easily gain from it. The NDP result is interesting, though not surprising - Horwath has been in the news recently, and I suspect part of it has to do with the Mulcair honeymoon federally.

    Of course, if the Liberals win Kitchener-Waterloo (which I suspect they could if they ran a good candidate), we might not see an election till 2015. Should be an interesting year.

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    1. Have to agree with you re Hudak. Just plain isn't liked !!

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    2. No recent poll has put the Liberals in the lead. Nanos has them 2nd, Forum has theme third, Environics has them third.

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    3. That was true going into the previous election too though.

      The trouble the PCs have is for the last two elections they've been saddled with leaders who will gone down in history as some of the worst campaigners in the history of Canadian politics. As a federal Liberal, I feel their pain lol.

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    4. Not just bad campaigners though !!

      Bad communicators, could relate to the public, weren't sympatico with public views etc.

      AKA As CRAP leaders. And lumbered with a party actually put of touch with the provincial reality!! And currently I don't see any significant change !!

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  5. I think it is in the NDP's interest to force an election. Even if they come in second place and the Tories hold a majority they are , as are their Federal cousins, now the government in waiting. If they can successfully supplant the Liberals that is victory enough for now. The formation of a government is not completely out of the realm of possibility as Hudak and McGuity are not well liked.

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    1. I don't think the NDP would benefit from forcing an election. Sure, they have the potential to become opposition or even government, but I think they'd lose a lot of credibility. There isn't any major issue that could warrant an election, and they just avoided an election by supporting the budget. I think, if anything, they'd be seen as forcing an election just in an attempt to make gains, which I think McGuinty (or even Hudak, for that matter) could take advantage of.

      Realistically, I think the next chance for an election will be after the next budget, but even then I'm skeptical the NDP would vote against it.

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  6. Out of curiosity, which seat do you have the Greens winning?

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    1. It's got to be Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. There's no other plausible riding in the entire province.

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    2. Not even. The Green vote in B-G-OS dropped to 6.4% in the 2011 provincial election. That close call was only in 2007.

      It's got to be Dufferin--Caledon. According to Elections Ontario, the Green candidate there got over 14.5% of the vote. No other Green candidate in the province cracked even 10%.

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  7. If the PCs hold on to Kitchener-Waterloo later this year, I think there will likely be an election in 2013. The Liberals have been too wishy-washy in the last months. They are almost certain to lose progressive voters to the NDP because of McGuinty's current relationship with the public sector.

    The PCs can win a majority with the same amount of support they had in the October 2011 election due to a stronger NDP and weaker Liberal party.

    The NDP is not yet ready to govern Ontario. A PC majority with the NDP being in the official opposition would help them have time to strengthen their groundwork and attract more quality candidates.

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    1. If policy counts for anything in the NDP, they really wouldn´t want a PC majority even if the NDP are the Official Opposition. The PCs would scrap all-day kindergarten, scrap the green energy projects that the NDP support, and scrap the surtax on the rich that the NDP just succeeded in getting the Liberals to implement. The PCs would also scrap the 30% tuition rebate. While the NDP does not think this rebate is enough help for students, the NDP still reluctantly supports the 30% rebate because some help for students is better than none. With a PC majority, whether the NDP is official opposition or third party, the PCs would also scrap the 30% rebate and thus students would lose the financial help that they are getting.

      The Ontario NDP has shown no interest in forcing an eleciton solely for electoral gain for their party and if they changed their tune and forced an election for that sole purpose they could lose support by being protrayed by their opponents as opportunistic.

      For all those reasons I also don´t see how it is in the NDP interests to force an election this year or even next year.

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  8. Hmmmm... let's say the Kitchener-Waterloo by-election is called, and riding specific polls show Liberals well in the lead, which would lead to McGuinty getting a majority.

    Let's say, however, that provincial-wide polls show Liberals dipping to near 20% with the PCs and NDP statistically tied.

    What would be the disadvantages of the PCs and NDP passing a vote of no confidence with the message of asking Ontario as a whole if McGuinty truly deserves a majority?

    I think that would go over well as long as the PCs or NDP didn't allow the Liberals to successfully frame it as simply in the benefit of the opposition parties.

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    1. That´s assuming the legislature is in session when the by-election happens. It could happen in September before the legislature reconvenes. Also it seems very unlikely the Liberals could be leading in Kitchener--Waterloo if they really are dipping to near 20% in the polls.

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    2. Eh, I dunno though. The theory that K/W could be a highly localised situation where they only voted for the incumbent because of her and not because of her PC affiliation is quite plausible.

      I mean, it isn't exactly like the PCs are lighting the world on fire in terms of a replacement option.

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    3. The government has much more control over the timing of votes in the legislature than the opposition does though. Interesting possibility none the less...

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    4. McGuinty would just pull a Harper and prorogue the legislature until after the new MPP was seated. And thanks to Mme. Jean, he has a precedent that says that is a perfectly appropriate exercise of the first minister's power.

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    5. TS,

      The precedent was set long before Mme Jean. It goes all the way back to 1848 when responsible government was introduced. It is the basis for responsible government in fact!

      The case of Ontario in 2012 and Ottawa 2008 are totally divergent. We are many months past the election and by September nearly a year will have gone by. In addition McGuinty has passed both a Throne speech and budget. Therefore, no question exists as to whether McGuinty can obtain the confidence of the House. In 2008 the situation was much more fluid although the Tories had passed a Throne speech but, not supply. Without supply the Tories' tenure was not guaranteed whereas, McGuinty faces no other automatic confidence votes this year. In other words McGuinty can lose every vote before the House between now and the next budget April (perhaps October if they delay the budget and continue supply through royal warrants) and remain in office.

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    6. Derek, the situation in 2008 was unprecedented. Never before had a government sought to prorogue the legislature, either federal or provincial, for the express purpose of avoiding a measure of confidence that was properly on the order paper. If the PCs were to introduce a motion of no confidence, with the stated support of the NDP, the only applicable precedent for a request by McGuinty to the Lieutenant Governor for a prorogation would be the decision of Mme. Jean in 2008.

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    7. TS,

      1.You are sadly wrong. In fact Macdonald prorogued the House in the middle of the Pacific Scandal for 10 weeks. 2. The King-Byng crisis resulted from an impending motion of censure and King's subsequent request for an election that was refused by Lord Byng (the King-Byng crisis). We see from the Macdonald example there is precedent for prorogation whilst a government is in danger of losing a confidence vote and in the King-Byng example we see in retrospect why Lord Dufferin's dedcision was correct. I do believe there exist a number of provincial examples but, at the moment they elude me.

      Motions on the Order Paper are of limited consequence. The Order Paper is routinely amended for various reasons by the House.

      One reason opposition parties were unsuccessful in 2008 is because they made known their plan to defeat the Government. In so doing they gave the Government time to prepare and counter attack and brought forth decisions that rightly belong to the Governor General alone. The GG then had the opportunity to compare two scenarios instead of having the ability to act in a more independent manner. In comparison the opposition's plan looked unstable and it effectively removed the GG's ability to properly decide the outcome instead limiting her choice to two possible outcomes.

      There is no question a prime minister or premier has the sole responsibility to advise on the Royal Prerogative. In 2008 Harper was undoubtedly PM and had recently won a confidence motion-the Throne Speech. It is also equally clear that a Monarch or Governor may disregard such advise in only the most grave of circumstances or when such advice would endanger the country. Otherwise they are honourbound to follow the convention of responsible government.

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  9. I am very sceptical of that one poll from over a month ago that suggested the Liberals would win K-W...if the Liberals couldn't win that seat when they were at 38% province-wide, I don't see how they win it when they have plunged 13 points to 25%...If McGuinty is unpopular the last thing people in K-W are going to want to do is to give him a blank cheque by handing him a majority thanks to winning a byelection.

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    1. Well, federally, Kitchener-Waterloo was one of the few ridings the Liberals did well in, so I wouldn't be shocked if this turns out to be a Witmer seat rather than a Tory seat.

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    2. Kitchener-Waterloo went to the Tories in 2011 and has been Tory since 2008. It was close Conservative: 41% Liberals: 38%.

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  10. Hi Eric,

    Long-time fan of your blog!

    Just wanted to ask out of curiosity if your Ontario model gave a seat-by-seat breakdown, and if so, which seat the GPO might pickup under these (unlikely) poll numbers?

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  11. You would think that with all the bad press by the Liberal government that the PCs should at least be in the 40s by now, but it seems disenchanted Liberal voters are now turning to the NDP as an alternative.

    An election is not likely to be called soon because the only beneficiaries will be the PCs. Also, a potential provincial NDP government might carry the risk of damaging federal NDP support in Ontario.

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  12. I think that one seat the Greens would have won would be Dufferin-Caledon, where they garnered 14.6% of the vote in 2011, enough for third in the riding. In Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, the Green candidate had just over 6%, less than half the candidate in Dufferin-Caledon. Considering the Greens had less than 3% of the vote in the last election, and this poll gives them 10%, I'd give Dufferin-Caledon to the Greens.

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  13. I'm guessing in that situation, the Liberals are actually doing better in the GTA (solid lead) but are a very distant 3rd outside the GTA. That would help them win a lot of seats even if they are in third place in the popular vote. I see the Liberals finishing 3rd, 4th or even 5th in most rural ridings.

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  14. Retired in BC07 June, 2012 11:25

    The first party that follows the Wisconsin right to work legislation to reign in the absoluter power the public service unions have will win by a landslide.

    It has becoem a necessity.

    Any sane investment in Manufacturing will go to Wisconsin (that has their spending and taxes under control) rather than Ontario where public sector wages and benefits are assumed to be unlimited.

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  15. The race to the bottom continues. Who'll be buying these manufactured items when everyone's making minimum wage. Surely CEOs can only buy one or two of each; tops three.

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  16. The Green Party of Ontario is the only party in favour of ending public funding for religious schools and has received an increase in media coverage because of this position through out the debate over GSA clubs in Catholic schools.

    Perhaps that is behind the GPO's rise in support?

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  17. Anyone who thinks this province will benefit with a tory govt in On better wake-up and look at the dirction big brother in Ottawa is taking the country- a greater divide between the rich and shrinking middle class, tossing enviromental issues aside, comtempt for our democratic values while making government less transparent, a cold war against unions our scientific community...

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