Tuesday, March 5, 2013

PCs drop as OLP moves into tie for lead

A poll from Forum Research was released by the Toronto Star this morning, showing the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives neck-and-neck in Ontario's provincial voting intentions. Forum reports this would be enough to give the OLP another minority. But it does not seem that it would be nearly as comfortable as is suggested.
Forum was last in the field at the provincial level less than two weeks ago, on Feb. 20. The Progressive Conservatives fell four points since that last poll, dropping to 32%. That put them in a tie with the Liberals, up three points. The New Democrats were up one point to 29%, while the Greens were unchanged at 5% support.

Only the drop by the Tories is outside the margin of error, though the Liberal increase is pushing statistical significance.

These are, relatively speaking, good numbers for the Liberals. They haven't scored so highly in a Forum poll since February 2012. And the demographic breakdown suggests the OLP has an advantage: they led the Tories by three points among Ontarians between the ages of 55 and 64, and by seven points among those 65 or older.

This IVR poll report comes with the same criticisms I've mentioned before: a lack of unweighted sample sizes, primarily. But Forum is hardly in rare company there, unfortunately.

At the regional level, the Liberals led in Toronto with 38% to 29% for the NDP and 26% for the Tories, while the party was also ahead in the 905 area code with 34% to 32% for the PCs and 26% for the NDP. That represented an 11 point drop for the Progressive Conservatives in this region, eight of which went to the Liberals. In fact, this is the first time that the OLP has been ahead of the PCs in the 905 in Forum's polling since, again, February 2012.

The PCs and Liberals were tied in eastern Ontario with 32% apiece, while the NDP was just behind at 31%.  The Tories were ahead in southwestern Ontario, however, with 39% to 28% for the NDP and 27% for the Liberals.

The New Democrats were in front only in northern Ontario, picking up 12 points to reach 38%. The PCs trailed with 32%, while the Liberals were third with 25%.
Contrary to Forum's seat breakdown, which inexplicably gives the New Democrats only one more seat than they won in 2011 despite gaining seven points and trailing the leaders by only three, ThreeHundredEight's regional model paints a much closer race.

The Liberals would narrowly edge out the Tories and win 41 seats, 28 of them in and around Toronto and another seven in eastern Ontario. The PCs win 37 seats, 27 of them in the eastern, northern, and southwestern corners of the province, while the New Democrats win 29 (almost half in the Golden Horseshoe). If this were the final projection of an election campaign, the OLP would have a 61.9% chance of winning the most seats - little better than a coin flip.

Kathleen Wynne's numbers remain rather good, at 34% approval to 32% disapproval (the gap shrank by four points, but it could be a statistical wobble). Fully 70% of OLP voters approve of her, putting her near Andrea Horwath's 75% approval rating among NDP supporters.

Among Ontarians, Horwath's approval rating dropped five points to 44%, but her disapproval rating is still only 25%. Tim Hudak does not even manage that level of approval, with only 24% to 51% disapproval and only 59% approval among PC voters.

Apparently despite himself, Hudak is still in the race because of the solidity of the Progressive Conservative base in Ontario. The Liberals are very much back in the game and have a decent shot at another minority, but the New Democrats will complicate matters considerably. Horwath still has the best personal numbers, and has put her party close enough to the two other parties that a good debate is all that is needed to vault her party into second or even first. It is about as close as it can get.

31 comments:

  1. That article in the Toronto Star shows you a little bit of what they call the old Liberal desperation to cling to power.

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  2. Tim Hudak will never become premier of Ontario. The conditions are ripe for the PCs to poll much higher, but it seems like they are tied or lagging behind the Liberals with key demographics and regions in the province. Neither Hudak's leadership or policies are resonating with the swing voters of Ontario.

    Some projections showed that the PCs will likely lose some of their Southwestern ridings to the NDP. Polls show the PCs are gaining ground in the 905, but I think the Liberal incumbents can hold off some of those tight ridings.

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    1. Hudaks ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time let alone bring out position papers 180deg off the public position can only lead to total disaster !

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  3. Never say never about Hudak. They called Chretien yesterday's man and we all know how that turned out.

    J.S. MacDonald

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    1. Political analysts believed Chretien and Harper will never be PM. Harris or McGuinty will never be premier. Heck, even Miller and Ford were not seen likely to become mayors of Toronto.

      But those men have what Hudak does not have and that is political instincts. This guy does not have what it takes to become premier. Since he became leader in 2009, I've been following him in action. He is a lousy politician. He does not have a feel for public opinion.

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    2. Hudak Anon sinply has NO political instincts !!

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  4. Charles Harrison05 March, 2013 12:48

    Éric, what region does Forum count Hamilton/Niagara in? Southwestern Ontario? 905?

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  5. Do we have any idea whether in Forum's polls the hamilton-niagara area is part of "905" or part of "southwest". Phone numbers in Hamilton-Niagara all start with 905

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  6. Charles and DL,

    I mentioned it when I wrote about Forum's last poll. Forum divides up the province by area code, so the 905 includes the Hamilton/Niagara region.

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  7. Quick question: Does Forum's poll include a percentage for undecideds, or those who don't intend to vote?

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    Replies
    1. Usually, no. But IVR isn't a very good method for recording undecideds.

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  8. Hudak should be ahead by a country mile. I WAS going to vote for him until he came up with his musings about making Ontario Canada's first "right to work" province. The man is further right than Harris was. I think once Ontarians see how extreme Hudak is they will vote Liberal or even NDP.

    Earl

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  9. OT:

    Can't wait to see the first BC poll taken after the "ethnic vote" scandal. And this is a real scandal!!!! I've read that there may be more revelations.

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    1. Westside Willie05 March, 2013 18:14

      Come On.

      This will make very little difference. At roughly 25% the BCLiberals are at or near their core basement support. Frankly, even in a riding such as Richmond with a large Chinese plurality the NDP is still a longshot as their policies in general are not favoured by Chinese immigrants. Policies such as Stop Northern Gateway have a somewhat coercive and "anti-China message or perception" regardless of the benefits of stopping the pipeline.

      I am not defending the BC Government's actions but, all political parties focus their resources on specific cultural/ ethnic/ religious groups to maximise their resources. For example, Harinder Takhar only campaigned in ridings with a large South Asian/ Indian community during the Ontario Liberal leadership campaign.

      The NDP in BC is known for signing up ethnic communities in leadership and nomination campaigns. Questions were raised for example regarding Mr. Dix's sign-up of Indians during the NDP leadership race by Harry Lali-a BCNDP M.L.A. and former leadership candidate. Although, as far as I recall nothing untowards was ever found.

      The Conservatives have been quite successful courting the Chinese community throughout Canada and currently ( I believe) have 4 M.P.s of Chinese ancestry. Historically the Tories concentrated their efforts on Protestant Canadians especially Orangemen in Ontario.

      In America we saw Obama and the Democrats focus on signing up new voters primarily African-Americans.

      This is nothing new even if it is reprehensible to a certain degree.

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    2. If by scandal you mean "the same thing that all political parties are doing" then sure, it's a scandal. All that paper suggested was using the same techniques to campaign to specific ethnic communities that are used to campaign to any other community. Some scandal.

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    3. What makes it a scandal is the use of taxpayer money to accomplish these goals.

      JKennethY

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    4. JKennethY is exactly right on why it's a scandal. Yes, all political parties pander to various population segments, but the BC Liberals proposed doing so with government funds. That isn't their money to spend for their partisan purposes!

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    5. All the plan called for is coordination between the party's efforts and what the government was doing. While that does blur the distinction between governing and campaigning in a way that I'm not comfortable with, it's not clear that that meant public funds were being expended for campaign purposes.

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    6. JKennethY et al

      No money was ever used. This was simply a draft document that was not acted upon.

      The only scandal is how the information got leaked from the Premier's office!

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  10. Charles Harrison05 March, 2013 16:21

    What seat do you give the PCs in Toronto? Scarborough-Agincourt? Willowdale? Eglinton-Lawrence?

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    1. York Centre. Was 45% OLP to 36% PC in 2011 election, becomes 41% PC to 39% OLP in projection.

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    2. I live in York Centre and I agree that it will be very close. The Liberal incumbent here is very old and who knows how much longer he will be around. Federally the Liberal vote collapsed last election. The provincial Liberals kept it largely because Kwinter didn't retire, and because Hudak lost the trust of our large population of foreign-born Canadians by coming off like a bit of a nativist during the campaign.

      Of course, he may do the same thing again in the next campaign. He's been acting like a Republican in other ways, so why not?

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    3. Will be interesting to see if longtime incumbent Monte Kwinter retires.

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  11. This could be a very unstable parliament should these numbers pan out. The OLP left even weaker but with a narrow pluarlity, essentially Horwath would have to be brought into some sort of informal or formal coalition. Though would her and the NDP want to associate themselves with a party that has very little support outside the 416 and the closer to Toronto parts of the 905, is embroiled in scandal and just looks very tired and worn out of goverment?

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  12. Love to know the NDP seats:

    SW 2 Windsor 1 London other 2?

    East 1 Ottawa Centre other 1 ?

    GTA Brampton other ? Oshawa??

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    1. The other two in the SW are Kitchener-Centre and Essex.

      In the east, the two are Peterborough and Ottawa Centre.

      In the GTA, they are Oshawa and Bramalea-Gore-Malton.

      That being said, you shouldn't miss the forest for the trees. The individual seat projections for an individual poll have a pretty wide margin of error. I only answer for the sake of transparency.

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  13. Just curious Eric, but since you're predicting York Center for the PC's does that mean you have a riding by riding brake down of the polls?

    If so where and can we see it. If not are you just using the prior election results and current polls as a guide?

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    1. No, the polls do not have riding-by-riding breakdowns. Seat projections are calculated as explained here:

      http://www.threehundredeight.com/2011/03/methodology-of-projection-model-and.html

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  14. I noticed the forum poll also suggests people want the NDP to force an election over the auto insurance rates issue. I was surprised by this. If I recall correctly when this question was asked on the last poll without being tied to an issue it was less than 50% want an election. Is this some sort of a priming impact of the question or have people changed their mind?


    http://www.forumresearch.com/forms/News%20Archives/News%20Releases/66845_Ontario_-_Political_Issues_%28Forum_Research%29_%2820130304%29.pdf

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  15. Does Brant stay Liberal or go PC under these numbers I wonder?

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  16. I also feel that the power of suggestion may be involved. Although there is always some mild irritation re insurance rates, if you say to people "the NDP says insurance rates are too high and they want a 15% cut" there is a strong temptation to agree.

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