Friday, September 21, 2012

Confusion in Ontario

If a provincial election were held in Ontario today, there’s no telling who would win. Dalton McGuinty, Tim Hudak, and Andrea Horwath would all have a shot, and not because they are locked in a close three-way race. The polls are just all over the place.
Ontario is the most confusing province in Canada when it comes to voting intentions, as the two firms most active on the provincial scene are in complete disagreement on what is happening and have been for months.

You can read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post Canada website here.

Ontario has been a very difficult province to cover. Forum Research and Nanos Research are both active in the province and they both consistently show completely different results. They both had decent showings in the 2011 provincial election, and there really isn't any other firm active in the province to provide a better idea of who has it right. They are so different that a "somewhere in between" reading of the polls is not very useful.

A poll that was released earlier this week, conducted by Forum for the Broadview Strategy Group, further muddied the waters as it gave the NDP a one-point lead over the Tories (36% to 35%), with the Liberals at only 22%. I generally dislike giving much prominence or credence to polls that are not done for the media or released directly by the polling firm (and Forum has yet to post the details to their website).
And somehow, Forum's seat projection model gives the Tories 48 seats with these results, the Liberals 30, and the New Democrats only 29. Perhaps the regional distribution is that great for the Liberals and that horrible for the NDP, but with a province-wide swing my model would divvy-up the seats as follows: 59 seats for the Progressive Conservatives, 42 for the New Democrats, and six for the Liberals.

Even here you can see that the New Democrats do not have very good vote efficiency, but it is very difficult to imagine how the Liberals could win 30 seats and form the Official Opposition with only 22%.

All in all, it makes Ontario - or more precisely, the polls being released for Ontario - very frustrating. The legislature being in a minority situation, and thus an election being always just around the corner, I hope the polls will start to align so that we can have a clue as to what is going on.


  1. I wouldn't take a poll paid for by an anti-Liberal group to the bank. I believe 538 makes an adjustment for polls paid for by partisan interests too, but I doubt there's enough data in Canada to even estimate how far off these rogue polls will be.

    1. I'm not doing anything with the poll - I wouldn't include it in a projection - but it just adds to the confusion.

  2. And bluntly being an Ontarian that confusion is just so obvious when you talk to people.

    Most are pissed off with McGuinty, more can't stand Hudak, where the NDP fit's in is very hard to say. In all it's a real mess.

    1. Peter, please be kind and stop using the phrase "pissed off" because it is annoying and can offend a lot of people.

      Personally, I would vote PC if Hudak steps down and gets replaced by a red Tory.

    2. "Pissed off " is accurate, like it or lump it.

      I would never vote PC, they stand for the 1% and that's an anathema !!

    3. Peter,

      Your last sentence does not make sense. Anathema is a noun meaning: detested thing or person. So either it should be "they are an anathema" or "that's an anathema to me".

      "Pissed off" may be your preferred term but, it is a little crude and does not provide much detail.

    4. That's your opinion.

      Everybody else seems to have understood with NO problem !!

    5. What is this, elementary school?
      I say, speak freely, Peter.
      If someone is perturbed by "pissed off" they should definitely not be on the internet.

    6. Renaissance Man

      I completely agree. Thanks for the support

  3. I would hope Forum projection isn't accurate. An election where the party with a plurality of support wound up third in house would really drive up support for electoral reform.

    And I really don't want electoral reform.

    1. It happened in 1919 in Ontario. PCs came first on votes but third on seats.,_1919

    2. Why not?
      I want electoral reform.
      Give me MPP or preferential voting.
      First past the post only leaves room for two parties.

  4. 6 Liberal seats?!! That poll must be lying really badly.


  5. It is very hard to predict the political climate in Ontario these days.

    The Liberals can never be written off in this province and McGuinty retains a stubborn base in certain areas of the province, particularly in the GTA. We can see the Liberals come back with a majority in the next election or we can see them get decimated to a handful of seats.

    The Tories are basically retaining their base and strengthened their support in rural and Eastern Ontario. Hudak is a weak leader that has no political appeal to swing voters. It will be tough to see a Hudak-led PC party making inroads in any other region of the province without relying on the left-of-PC vote to be evenly split.

    The NDP is a wildcard. It seems like the labour support has shifted back to the NDP from the Liberals. The NDP also seem to channel voter discontent from the Liberal and PC parties. But, NDP support is soft and the party lacks the in-ground organization that the Liberals and PC enjoy across the province. Horwath is a charismatic leader, but her party can only go so far with a likable leader.

  6. Forum's seat projections are a joke. I think they quite literally get their numbers based on those who they've polled - ergo these ridings will have sample sizes of 20 people or less most of the time, nothing that gives you an accurate depiction or a good margin of error.

    I would like to see their detailed tables on these projections - we'd see a riding like Kitchener-Waterloo going NDP or something crazy like that!

  7. I think part of the reason for the confusion in polls is the new commitment by a dedicated group of people who deliberately lie when they are polled. I do, I have a lot of friends who do, and our willingness to be polled means we get polled a lot. We are hoping it contributes to the confusion, anyway. You're welcome.

  8. It still seems to difficult at this point to claim that a vote for the Ontario NDP is NOT a vote for a Ontario PC government and in all likelihood an Ontario PC Majority government. The other thing to remember is another Rae-like screwup at the provincial level could be devasting to the NDP at the Federal level.


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