Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tight provincial race in Toronto

Lost in the weeds of a poll on the fortunes of Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto, Forum Research's latest poll on the feelings of Torontonians included provincial voting intentions, as well as thoughts on the on-going Ontario Liberal leadership race. The results show that the vote is splitting three-ways in Toronto, and that - shockingly - Torontonians favour a local boy for the leadership.
The poll found the New Democrats ahead in Toronto with 34%, putting them narrowly up on the Liberals, who were at 31%. The Progressive Conservatives came up third with 29%, while the Greens were well back at 5%.

Forum broke down the city into four regions, with each party leading in at least one of them. The New Democrats were ahead in Toronto/East York and in Etobicoke/York, while the Liberals were ahead in North York. The Tories had the edge in Scarborough.

But each part of the city was also split: the Liberals were in the race for Toronto/East York and the Tories in Etobicoke and North York, while all three parties were competitive in Scarborough.

That the Liberals are leading in North York should not be too surprising, they won all of the area's seats in October 2011. The NDP also did quite well in that election in their two pockets of support in this poll. But the PCs being ahead in Scarborough makes it quite possible that Tim Hudak could make a mini-breakthrough into Toronto. This could be an anomaly of the poll, as the Tories did not do very well in the Scarborough ridings in the last election, but it does suggest that the electoral map of Toronto could be a mish-mash of colours when Ontarians are called back to the polls.

Forum's look at the Ontario Liberal leadership race in Toronto tells us little about how the convention will unfold, but it does give an indication of what Torontonians, the last bastion the Liberals can still (mostly) count upon, would like to see as the outcome.
Not surprisingly, Gerard Kennedy and Kathleen Wynne, both from Toronto, topped the list. Kennedy came out well ahead, however, with 22% support as the best choice among all polled residents of the city. Wynne came up second with 11%, while Sandra Pupatello (Windsor) was third with 6%. Eric Hoskins (5%), Glen Murray (4%), and Charles Sousa (1%) rounded out the list.


Among Liberal voters in Toronto, Kennedy does better: 32% to 12% for Pupatello and 10% for Wynne.


It is worth noting that 27% of all respondents said they had no opinion and 21% said "none of these", leaving a lot of points on the table. If we remove them, along with the 3% who said "someone else", we get Kennedy at 45% to Wynne's 22% and Pupatello's 12%.

Word is that Kennedy's campaign is not as well organized as those of some of his main competitors, but having an edge in Toronto could be important. If most of the delegates from ridings in the city vote for him, he will have a solid base of support on the first ballot. Whether he will be able to grow that support, however, will be the big question at the convention - as it was in 1996.

26 comments:

  1. The Liberals will have to improve a bit more to be highly competitive. The NDP vote will com
    ncentrate in 9-10 seats. This is incumbents + 4-5 others like York South. The Tory vote will also concentrate in wealthier areas (Etobicoke Centre, Guildwood etc)

    The Liberals need to make sure they don't get caught being second everywhere and first in very few seats. Under the above scenario I would look for NDP pick-ups in Scarborough Southwest, Rouge River, York South Weston, maybe 1-2 others.

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  2. Scarborough in the past was subject to big sweeps by the winning party. The old Anglo-Scottish Labour Party types are dying out replaced by heavy Chinese, Greek, Italian and south Asian populations.

    When the Liberals or Tories are high in the polls they can run the table in Scarborough. When the NDP is up in the polls, they historicly did well south of 401 but they now have the Federal Rouge River seat and target it provincially.

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  3. Disappointing numbers for the NDP. They need to win 25+ seats in the GTA to have any hope of forming government. I don't think 34% will get them there as the NDP vote tends to be less efficient in Ontario than other provinces.

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  4. I don't think they should be going for government. The long term interest of the NDP involves the death of the Liberal Party. They they inherit the anti-Tory vote. The Grit vote will split of course but like Manitoba, it will split in the NDP's favour.

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  5. Bob Rae won 70 seats with 37% of the vote. That looks pretty efficient to me.

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    Replies
    1. Rae had 37.6% but, I would bet in the GTA he did better.

      The notion of an anti-Tory vote or anti-Liberal or anti-NDP vote is speculative. Certainly, some people vote against a government or person or party but, often people vote for a party, candidate or leader. I am always skeptical of such opinions because ultimately they reinforce a false perception of lack of choice or worse only two choices. People should vote for who they think will do the best job.

      Any presumed death of the Liberal party is likely to diffuse their supporters to a variety of parties. I doubt it would split in the NDP's favour. The last federal election is a case in point. The Tories picked up far more seats than the NDP. In Ontario the two main parties are small "c" conservative parties with strong links to Bay St. so the natural cleavage would be to move over to the Tories.

      It is a similar story in Britain where the demise of the Liberal party helped the Conservatives far more than Labour.

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    2. What are you talking about? The decline of the Liberal party in the UK was singularly responsible for vaulting the Labour Party from third party status into power - and they have ruled the UK 1945-51, 1964-70, 1974-79 and 1997-2010 - not bad, eh?

      As for 1990, the NDP under Rae actually did a lot better outside the GTA than inside it. They more or less split Toronto itself with the Liberals that year, the NDP was shut out of Peel and York regions, but really built their majority on sweeping the north and all the medium sized cities outside the GTA.

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    3. In the past 100 years Labour was in power for 30 years. Who was in power the rest of the time-The Tories or Liberals (usually in coalition with the Conservatives). A mediocre record when one puts it into context.

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    4. In 1990 the NDP won 18 seats in the GTA, Conservatives 3 and Liberals 9.

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    5. That was ther seat distribution in the City of Toronto alone...it doesn't count 905

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  6. Surprised the NDP are leading in Etobicoke and the Tories are leading in Scarborough.

    The NDP can Etobicoke North, but I think they will remain in third place in Centre and Lakeshore.

    The Tories will need to rely on the vote being split into their favour. The Tories won Scarborough Centre with 35% support federally. They can probably achieve the same results with the Liberals and NDP are hovering around 30% each in that region.

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  7. Another seat the ONDP will probably target will be York West - they gained a lot of ground there last year, it is actually the poorest riding in Toronto (home of the Jane-Finch corridor), and the Liberal incumbent is very old and lackluster and may not run again.

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    Replies
    1. This is true. The NDP gained ground both federally and provincially in York West last year. The Liberals take this region for granted and probably would not be seen campaigning here.

      If the NDP increase their groundwork in this riding, they could easily pick it up.

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  8. Anyone have the breakdown of the vote in Toronto last election? It would be instructive to do a direct comparison.

    JKennethY

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    1. Charles Harrison22 November, 2012 15:17

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/

      That should give you what you need to know.

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  9. Charles Harrison22 November, 2012 13:56

    Watch out for the Orange Wave in its Ontario form!

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  10. Time for labour unions to abandon the Liberal party and vote strategically to defeat the Tories.

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    1. The unions that support the Liberals, (building trades, Liuna, firefighters, nurses, teachers) are far less inclined to after this year. Teachers are famous for supporting McGuinty but it is not out of love. After their Mike Harris experience and Tim Hudak's announced policy on unions and pensions they have a dilemma. They will heavily support the NDP in the spring but will they also support some Liberals in seats where the NDP has no chance? We'll see.

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  11. Crazy to think the NDP could win in Etobicoke North aka Ford Country.

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    1. It is a seat the NDP once had? If the NDP won 40 seats Etobicoke North would be one of them.

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    2. Etobicoke North is actually a very poor riding with a huge Somali population, it was a safe NDP seat provincially from 1970 to 1995 and then went Liberal by a wide margin - the Tories are not even competitive there

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  12. I wouldn't read too much into that Kennedy margin. He has the highest public profile of all the candidates because of his previous leadership runs (even though 3 of his competitors are also Toronto MPPs, in a big city the local candidate doesn't have as much visibility as in rural ridings). The high number of "don't know" suggests that many respondents don't know enough about the candidates to form an opinion, so it makes a big difference.

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    Replies
    1. I doubt most people in Ontario knew who Tim Hudak was until the writ was dropped during the last election. The Tories had a massive lead which fizzled out in a mere week.

      This shows that the people of Ontario usually focus on provincial politics during election time.

      If you ask a random person in Ontario to name three provincial cabinet ministers, I doubt the majority would be able to answer.

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  13. Could Sandra Pupatello Meet Her Waterloo in Windsor Tecumseh?
    We may be getting way ahead of ourselves here. We have a leadership contest to run and Sandra Pupatello is only one of the leading candidates for the Ontario Liberal leadership, alongside Gerard Kennedy, Kathleen Wynne and dark horse Eric Hoskins. Nevertheless, Pupatello has belled the cat herself by arrogantly announcing that she will run in a by-election before she ends the prorogation of the legislature. This adds a minimum of six weeks to the endless and irresponsible break.
    The by-election is widely expected to take place in Windsor Tecumseh, the seat presently held by Finance Minister Dwight Duncan. The assumption by the major media seems to be that this is a somehow a slam dunk for Pupatello, a mere formality in a Liberal stronghold. In fact it is far from a formality and could easily end in an ignominious defeat for Pupatello if, in fact she wins the Liberal leadership.
    RESULTS for Windsor Tecumseh November 2011.
    Candidate Party Raw Vote Vote %
    Dwight Duncan Liberal 15,946 42.83%
    Andrew McAvoy NDP 12,228 32.84%
    Robert De Vertelil PC 7,571 20%
    Justin Levesque Green 830 2.23%
    Dan Dominato Libertarian 476 1.28%

    The plain fact of the matter is that Windsor Tecumseh is NOT a safe Liberal seat. It is held at the Federal level by Joe Comartin, highly regarded NDP MP who has won it repeatedly. In the last Federal election Comartin received 49% of the vote, while the hapless Liberal in 3rd place received 12 % in exactly the same boundaries in which this by-election will be fought. In better times for the Ontario NDP before the Social Contract, both Windsor seats were routinely held by NDP MPPs. Both Windsor Federal seats are NDP seats. In summary, the voters of Windsor have no problem voting NDP when they choose to.
    A mere shift of 5% away from the Liberals and to the NDP could easily scupper Pupatello’s plans. Can’t happen you say? Take a look at what happened in Kitchener Waterloo where the NDP rose almost 25% and the Liberal who was expected to win came in a distant third. The NDP is running at least 10% higher than in 2011 and the Liberals are running 10-15% behind their 2011 levels. When any party goes up 10% in the polls, they usually rise even farther in areas where they are strong. The provincial NDP had Windsor Tecumseh on the radar as one of their most likely pick-ups next spring even with Duncan remaining a
    s the candidate. The PCs are currently in first place in Ontario. If a local PC candidate took 2% away from the Duncan 2011 result, the job for the NDP would be that much easier.
    The NDP are specialists at by-elections. They can marshal a very strong ground game with volunteers from many surrounding ridings and even farther afield. They will bring in their best managers as well. Both the PC and NDP voters are often fewer in number than Liberals but also far more committed to actually voting. Liberal support is often ‘a mile wide and an inch deep’. In a by-election, they are often the least likely voters and voting turn out in by-elections is always far lower than general elections.
    We can safely assume that Dwight Duncan will have a major position with a bank or similar institution before St Patrick’s Day. We cannot assume that Sandra Pupatello is the next MPP for Winsor Tecumseh.

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    Replies
    1. Pupatello is not a shoo-in for MPP but, much will depend on the candidates. Windsor has often had "heavy hitters" inside cabinet Duncan being the latest example; federally Herb Grey held the riding for about 40 years.

      I don't think there is any question the Grits are down and the Dippers up in the polls but, much may depend on the distribution-where are the Liberals and Tories holding their vote and where are they losing ground to the NDP?

      If the polls are to be believed the NDP is up in ridngs such as Windsor -Tsecumseh-the question becomes; how sold is that new found support?

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  14. Eric, do you mind analysing the new Nanos and Forum polls that are recently released? I noticed you updated the federal averages but which one was included, Nanos or Forum?

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