Saturday, May 17, 2014

EKOS shows widening Liberal edge in Ontario

Another poll, another take on the political situation in Ontario. The latest survey from EKOS Research for iPolitics shows the Liberals ahead of the Progressive Conservatives by the healthiest margin we have seen in any poll so far in this campaign. The only leads we have seen wider than this were the ones awarded to the Tories!

Sunrise, sunset. The projection now shows - again - a close race between the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals. The PCs are back down to 35.8%, or between 34% and 39%, while the Liberals are at 35.7%, or between 34% and 39% as well. The New Democrats slipped to 21.8%, or between 20% and 23%, while the Greens are at 5.5%, or between 4% and 7%.

The Liberals have moved ahead in the seat projection, and now lead with 49. The PCs have fallen back into second with 44, while the New Democrats have taken a deep tumble to just 14 seats. The ranges favour the Liberals, at between 39 to 57 seats against 35 to 52 for the Tories and 14 to 18 for the NDP.

Why the steep drop in the NDP projection? This can be blamed almost entirely on Toronto, as EKOS shows the party to be at a very low level of support there. The projection now gives them just 18% support in the city, and this costs them dearly in seats: they are currently projected to take only one to three in Toronto. This could be a bit of fluke in EKOS's polling, but Ipsos Reid also had the NDP relatively low in the city in their last poll. EKOS does not show the same trend as Forum and Ipsos did in terms of PC growth in Toronto, however, so it appears that the provincial capital is a battleground in flux.

I wrote about this poll for The Huffington Post Canada, so I suggest you read that analysis instead of me repeating myself here.

But let's look at the toplines. Since EKOS's last poll of April 25-May 1, the Liberals picked up 2.4 points to reach 37.1%, followed by the Tories at 30.3% (down 1.3 points). The NDP was also down 1.3 points to 20.9%, while the Greens were down 2.1 points to 7.3%.

All of these shifts were within the margin of error. The only regional shifts outside of the margin of error were the 13-point gain for the Liberals in Toronto, the 12-point drop for the NDP in the north, and the 10-point gain for the Greens, also in the north. That is probably an anomaly, though, which Frank Graves himself said on his Twitter feed.

Let's try and find some common threads in this poll with the other polls that have been out recently. There are a few, frayed as they are:

The Liberals have been steadily picking up support since the pre-campaign period, with EKOS showing Liberal gains in two consecutive polls. Forum also showed the same thing, while Ipsos recorded consistent gains for the Liberals among likely voters (though a drop among eligible voters). That the Liberals seem to be taking these voters primarily from the NDP also seems to be relatively consistent.

The PCs have an ingrained turnout advantage. Ipsos showed that explicitly in their 'likely voter' tally, while both Forum and EKOS have shown significant leads for the Tories among older voters, the cohort most likely to cast a ballot. In this EKOS poll, Ontarians 65 or older favoured the Tories over the Liberals by a margin of 42% to 34%.

The NDP is mostly putting up its best numbers in southwestern Ontario. EKOS had them at 26% in the region, their best result in the province. Ipsos has put them in the lead in the region, though that includes the Hamilton and the Niagara peninsula. Forum has not been as bullish in the southwest for the NDP, however. But according to Adam Radwanski of The Globe and Mail, the southwest is the cornerstone of the NDP's strategy. So far, and for the most part, that seems to be a good idea. But they are also not making inroads elsewhere, and on that the polls are unanimous.

In other news, a riding poll by Oracle in Don Valley West gave Kathleen Wynne a very comfortable lead in her own riding. The numbers were hardly different from the projection, but the poll was taken into account nevertheless. Oracle will apparently poll in all of the leaders' ridings, which seems rather fruitless since Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath are in absolutely no danger of being defeated. Hopefully they will poll Mike Schreiner's riding of Guelph, since that is a much more interesting contest. Stay tuned.

60 comments:

  1. Working on the long weekend?!? Such dedication xo : )

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  2. The poll numbers seemed to be in parallel with the last federal election. Early polls showing a two-way race between Liberals and Tories with a declining NDP vote as the voters supposedly choose between one of the two old-line parties.

    A week into the last federal election Nanos had the NDP polling at 13%. 3 weeks later the NDP has 31%.

    Of the policy planks she has released so far, Horwath appears to have the center all to herself as the Liberals appear reckless and the Tories want to fire teachers.

    She is the most popular leader and eventually that number will start to be reflected in the party's overall popular vote just like it did in the last federal.


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    1. With all due respect, the last federal election has only a tangential relationship to Ontario; historically, Ontario has even tended towards the opposite vote. Your characterization of the three party's platforms seems (to me) to be reflective of a partisan influence, rather than an objective analysis of either the platform or how it's been received. That's not a critique, just an observation.

      I like Horwath (though I also like Wynne), and I hate many of the things the Libs did under McGuinty. But rather than seeing that Horwath has "the center all to herself", it seems to me as though she's veering too far to the left, leaving Wynne to appear the most centrist by default. That may just be my partisan opinion (though at this point the only partisan decision I've made is not to vote PC), but that is how I see it. As for the numbers, how can anyone tell with any measure of certainty if one gives equal credence to the pollsters and methodologies? (NB: I don't. Regardless of the Bayesian analysis employed by Ipsos, I find online panels to be too skewed) On this, one has to try and discern based on media, data, and one's own ears and eyes. If the PCs are to win, it seems it will be as a rejection of the Liberals (which is entirely justified based on aspects of their record). I don't see that; I expected to see widespread disgust with the Libs (regardless of Wynne's own leadership or popularity) but it isn't out there. Historically, elections are either referenda on the incumbents or the Opposition. When the focus is on the PCs' strengths and weaknesses rather than the Liberals', it seems likely to be good for the Liberals.

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    2. It strikes me that Horvath is failing miserably in this campaign. She _should_ be positioning herself in the centre, but she isn't. Her biggest target for gains are those progressive right-wingers who cannot stomach Hudak but are equally fed up with the Liberal's messing up of the provinces finances. To grab that, she needs to campaign as slightly right of centre and clearly to the right of Wynne, but she isn't doing that.

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  3. NDP fourth in Northern Ontario? That alone should give you pause in accepting this poll.

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    1. It is a sample of 126 in the north, with a margin of error of +/- 8.7%. These things happen.

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    2. that still means the Greens would at a min be 10%

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    3. Prior to the writ dropping there was a lot of scuttlebutt about the unions abandoning the NDP and moving to the Liberals due to a PC government being the worst of all possible worlds. I could see that being reflected in Northern Ontario in this way. Not sure how to explain the Green vote though.

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    4. There's also the 1 out of 20 part.

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    5. Eric, might you consider labelling that part of the province "central and northern Ontario"? Calling anything south of the French River "northern Ontario" just makes no sense. Not to mention the diametrically opposed electoral preferences in the two areas ...

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    6. I think I will, you're right.

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    7. I think the Green numbers are pretty easy to explain. "None of the above" would be a pretty appealing choice in a race like this, The three major parties are pretty terrible.

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  4. Some clarification please. The southern area of the 705 area code (Barrie, South Simcoe County), is this counted as part of the 905 for the purpose of polling?

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  5. Man, what is going on with these polls? It seems like they go anywhere from a slim Liberal majority to a slim PC majority.

    Even taking to account that PC numbers are traditionally weaker on EKOS polls, this poll does not look good for them.

    Hopefully, post-Victoria Day we should see more stable numbers. There would have been enough time for Tim Hudak's policies to sink in with the electorate (well at least the ones that are paying attention).

    The late debate date will also be interesting. Most people don't watch the debates, but may check the recap on the news. The media narrative of who "won" the debate, or if there were any "punches" and "knockouts" may tilt the undecided/volatile portion of the electorate towards a particular party.

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    1. "what is going on with these polls?"

      Simple: No one trusts the Liberals at this point; however, they cannot stomach Hudak either. Horvath seems to fail totally to recognize that if she effectively campaigned as a right-of-centre Tommy Douglas style person, she'd easily win. Given that she isn't, the polls reflect the fact that voters want anything but the big three on offer.

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    2. What is a right-of-centre Tommy Douglas style person?

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  6. Despite the unpredictable nature of this election, one thing is looking more certain as each day goes by. There will be no Horwath-mania in this election.

    As recently as a month ago, I felt that the NDP had the potential to win a minority. More plausibly I saw them winning 7-10 seats, while holding what ever seats they had (Liberals would still come out with a minority in this scenario).

    The political climate was perfect for the NDP to make large gains throughout the province. In Toronto and the North they could take seats from the Liberals. In the Southwest, where Horwath has more appeal, I felt they could have taken seats from both OLP and PC.

    I was wrong. The NDP campaign has been lousy. They are not prepared for the election at all. They do not have a narrative. I honestly don't think they even have a platform to release. Horwath's people are probably cobbling something up and waiting until June to see which way the wind is blowing. It's already looking too late when the election has been polarized between Wynne and Hudak's vision of the province.

    For a party that wants to make a big breakthrough in the Southwest, I am surprised it look them so long to nominate all their candidates in this area. The NDP should have had their slate ready before the budget as the PCs did. They should have had their candidates involved in the community before the writ was dropped. The candidate list lacks noteworthy candidates. No municipal politicians, no labour leaders - the candidate list is mostly a slate of also-rans. In Cambridge, they couldn't find a candidate, so the riding association president sought the nomination. In Etobicoke North, the NDP candidate was a former Green candidate. I am surprised that nobody else came forward in these two ridings that the NDP could potentially win in.

    In the end, Horwath's biggest problem is the inherently left-leaning Wynne. The premier outdid Horwath by launching an ambitious NDP-style platform that appeals to the left-of-centre. All Horwath could do was nitpick on the specifics, without offering anything substantive. As Horwath goes looking for votes in the centre with populist rhetoric, she risks losing a fraction of her base to Wynne.

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    1. I agree with everything you've said, except that Horwath pulling the plug on a very NDP-friendly budget already suggested some poor judgment. As if the NDP was getting stressed from being caught in the middle between looking complicit in supporting an "illegitimate" government, and looking foolish in pulling the plug. But it hasn't been a sure-footed start, and the narrative which is developing isn't very exciting.

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    2. For sure.

      It seems like a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" prospect for Horwath's NDP.

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    3. I must say Horvath has been a disappointment. No platform. A couple of small announcements and that's about it .

      Where's the usual NDP grass roots drive ???

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    4. I agree with most of what you say except this: "Horwath's biggest problem is the inherently left-leaning Wynne."

      I think that's her biggest asset: she simply needed to campaign as a slightly right-of-centre (fiscally) leader who wants to do the socially correct things and will do so as money permits. She'd be a huge winner. Unfortunately, as you say, she looks totally unprepared.

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    5. The NDP unprepared? Hardly surprising-they appeared confused when their rejection of Ms. Wynne's budget caused an election.

      Paul,

      I don't think doing the "socially correct things when money permits" is a sound strategy. It alienates Dippers most of whom wish to do the "socially correct" thing even when money does not permit. Secondly, you are telling voters you will not give them what they want. The only people you appeal to are fiscal conservatives- they do not vote NDP!

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    6. Big Jay, I agree with everything you've said, except I don't see anything "inherently left-leaning" about Wynne. She's a straight-up pro-business politician with a sprinkling of socially progressive policies like most Liberals.

      I'm amazed at the - to be frank - stupidity of the NDP "brains trust" in this campaign (to the point that I suspect Brian Topp must be running the show). As you say, they had nothing ready, and continue to conduct their campaign as though they didn't trigger it and as though it's in an election simulator. And what did they have in mind? They pulled the plug on the most progressive budget in over twenty years and they obviously had nothing to replace it. When there have been any specifics at all, they've run a campaign that is not merely centrist, but right-of-centre (a minister responsible for programme cuts?!) To me, the Ontario NDP simply doesn't believe in its own party values, they don't believe they can win an election with them and they don't believe they can work, but their conscience doesn't allow them to simply jump over to the Liberals where they ought to be. If there is a social democrat (nevermind a socialist) among them I can't see any sign of them.

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    7. If Topp is running the campaign that would be three very preventable c@$k-ups in a row: 2008 prorogation dispute, 2013 BC election and now 2014 Ontario.

      I would not be surprised. The NDP thinks of itself as way more intelligent than they really are. Although the NDP did not technically "pull the plug" that is the angle both Wynne and the media portray. To not have an answer for the obvious question: why can you not support the budget and or Government? Is just disrespectful to Ontarians and makes the NDP look like a minor-party-in-waiting.

      The NDP can not win on its party values-they've been around since 1933 and won exactly 24 elections provincially and federally-that is roughly a 5% success rate!

      As for a minister of cuts; such a position in a way makes a lot of sense. When you are in government federally, provincially or at a municipal level one knows times change and so must government. Accordingly, a program for single mothers in 1994 may no longer fit the needs of single mothers in 2014, reform becomes necessary to keep programs and governments relevant. All governments should review their priorities and spending to cut waste, increase efficiency and divert money or other resources to where they are needed.

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    8. bede, you can add Topp's own leadership campaign to the FUBAR list...

      The NDP has been successful when it has stuck to those values (Tommy Douglas in Saskatchewan), and it has had extended periods in power when it has mimicked the Liberals or Conservatives in two-party provinces (Manitoba). But unless they're already an establishment party (as in Manitoba) they usually drop support when they move away from those values - most spectaularly with Bob Rae in Ontario.

      All governments review their priorities, but institutionalising programme cuts in the form of a ministry is a political choice that runs counter to social democratic rhetoric (if not practice).

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    9. The NDP in Saskatchewan has been successful when it has "stuck to their values" in a way they also ran a fiscally conservative government contrary to their "values". Nowhere else have they7 enjoyed success even Manitoba they lose more elections than they win. Since, the Second world War they have won 8/19 elections in MB, BC 3, in Ontario 1, in Nova Scotia 1, Alberta 0, NB 0, PEI 0, Canada 0. Their record speaks more to failure than success never mind prolonged success. The message should be clear NDP values are not Canadian values!

      Reform does not run counter to social democratic philosophy, if it does then I would determine some mental incapacity exists among the practitioners of such a philosophy. It may be counter to rhetoric but, if so it merely proves how out-dated such rhetoric is. Your rhetoric is laden with opinion-they can be looked upon as "program cuts" but, another way to view them is a reallocation of resources. Why the NDP wishes to continue to spend money on programs and services that are either no longer needed or no longer effective is beyond me but, it is no way to run a government or a province especially a province such as Ontario where money is tight due to the big spending ways of the Liberals and NDP. Times change the NDP does not-that explains why they are usually irrelevant.

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    10. You've completely missed my point. First, I specifically cited the Sask NDP under Tommy Douglas... the Romanow and Calvert governments were centre to right-of-centre (Romanow might as well have been a Conservative). As for Manitoba, winning nearly half the elections since WWII seems like a pretty successful run - how does it stack up against other parties? My point about Manitoba was that the current government - in power for 15 years - has been 'successful', in spite of discarding NDP values, because it is an establishment party in a two-party province. It is an NDP in name only. In other provinces, the NDP has been trashed precisely when it has tried to move to the right - Dexter, Dix, Rae, and now Horwath (probably).

      Incidentally, your equation of "Canadian values" with electability is offensive. In fact, by your measure, not merely electability but electoral dominance. Canadian values are all our values - shared and contradictory as they may be.

      You complain of my rhetoric, but you simply employ the rhetoric of the status quo - which is corporatist and (by definition) conventional. "Reallocation of resources" is a euphemism for programme cuts. But call it whatever you like, it doesn't change the reality. And your resume of Ontario government policy, which pretends the Harris-Eves years never happened, is just fantasy.

      To reiterate my point, that you missed. The NDP has been "largely irrelevant" when it has diverged from its values. It has been at its most relevant when it has effectively promoted its core stated policies : universal health care, abolishing capital punishment, pension indexing, etc. - policies implemented at times when they were not even in power, but at their insistence.

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    11. I do not give a "resume (sic) of Ontario government policy, which pretends the Harris-Eves years never happened".

      Such a statement makes me think you have not read what I wrote and you are simply launching personal attacks for your own purposes.

      And please NDPers stop claiming universal healthcare was your idea. Tommy Douglas "borrowed" the idea from the NHS. Medicare was implemented by Conservative and Liberal governments, 1 CCF government in Saskatchewan and 2 Socred governments. In reality the CCF had little to do with its inception or implementation but, the CCF myth persists because the CCF-NDP has done little else either in or out of government.

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    12. "... a province such as Ontario where money is tight due to the big spending ways of the Liberals and NDP"

      ... conveniently leaving out the Harris-Eves years.

      Again, the rest of your comment is fantasy.

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    13. Yes, I conveniently left out the Harris-Eves years of four consecutive surplus budgets as well as a declining deficit in the years preceding the surplus. Please do some research before the next time you feel obligated to write incorrect statements. It appears the only fantasy occurs in your writing!

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    14. Under Harris/Eves : surplus budgets, and declining prosperity for most Ontarians. "Please do some research before the next time you feel obligated to write incorrect statements."

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    15. Under Harris and Eves GDP rose from $360 billion to $484 billion. Therefore, it is simply incorrect and disinformation to claim Ontarians experienced declining prosperity during the Harris-Eves years. That is growth of roughly 2.5% per year!

      Thanks for coming out!

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    16. People's real incomes and wealth dropped during the Harris/Eves governments. That's a more realistic and pertinant gauge of economic policy than the GDP, which has a number of problematic aspects as a measure of the total economy. It means that, in day-to-day terms, people were worse off than they had been in the 1980s and early 1990s. McGuinty continued many of the Harris/Eves economic policies and people are, in fact, even worse off now. For the wealthiest Ontarians, of course, the situation was the opposite - they are much better off now than they were in the 1980s.

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    17. You are hilarious. You are presented facts that go against your world view and you simply refuse to believe them.

      No, GDP that grows at 2.5% means from year A to year B people are better off assuming inflation is below GDP growth if it is we can say real growth occurred. Inflation averaged of 2.3% per year during the time in question and that means real growth! real growth means 1. real wealth increased during Harris and Eves years. 2. In day to day terms People are better off and their standards of living increased.

      Thanks for coming out!

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    18. Also not to continue this debate ad infinitum but, one should recall real estate prices have increased considerably in Toronto and Ottawa over the last two decades. Since, a home purchase is most families largest investment and asset it is difficult to see how in terms of wealth most Toronto families at least would become less wealthy during the last Tory stint at Queen's park; In 1995 the average sale price in Toronto was $203,028 by 2003 that had increased to $293,067. Other places in Ontario may not have experienced as great a rise but, it would be extremely unlikely that real estate price decreases would offset the gains in Toronto.

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  7. Very interesting that after a full day of comments there has not be any comments specifically on the EKOS poll.


    I think that says a lot.

    I wonder if the broader population (not the political/poll junkies that would post on 308) give EKOS a pass as well.

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  8. Is there a possibility these polls are just too close together in time and simply reflect "jitter" ??

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  9. BTW, it must be heartening that the Oracle poll in Don Valley West so nicely dovetails with your projection! And it would be useful to see one for Guelph - not to mention Kitchener Centre!!

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  10. Eric, this is from Bye election barometer

    "Trinity-Spadina and Scarborough-Agincourt in Ottawa."

    Sorry those are Toronto ridings not Ottawa

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    1. Oops, I meant to write Ontario.

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  11. Hi Eric:

    Would it be possible to get a seat break down on the EKOS poll alone?

    TIA

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  12. I think this poll overestimates Liberal support. I see lots of PC signs in St. Pauls (traditionally a very safe Liberal seat). There is no way that Liberal support in Toronto is as high as that.

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    1. Well, whether I use the poll numbers or the average numbers, St. Paul's remains a very safe liberal riding. Even with a tie in the average at 35% and change, I get almost a 45% lead for the OLP in that riding. If the PC really is making gains there, it would mean a historical crumbling of the OLP...

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    2. Interestingly enough, counting yard signs was the same polling technique used by Peggy Noonan to confidently predict a Mitt Romney victory in the 2012 US Election.

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    3. Signs aren't as strong an indicator as some would like them to be. I know I've put up tons of signs in some elections and would put them strategically so it looked like support was wide and everywhere. What signs normally indicate is which party has the money to buy tons of signs (especially big ones) and which has the most volunteers going around setting them up. Sadly, many are influenced by number of signs though - what a sad way to decide who to vote for.

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  13. Using the EKOS numbers, I get:

    57 OLP
    33 PC
    17 NDP

    With the average, I get:

    45 PC
    44 OLP
    18 NDP

    It's funny that, in this situation, my simulator gives 4 more seats to the NDP, considering that, generally speaking, it was unfavouring the NDP compared to yours.

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  14. Two headers from todays Toronto Star. Sort of gives an idea ?


    Stintz, Soknacki, Chow oppose Hudak plan to scrap LRTs; Tory won’t say

    Tim Hudak would scrap planned LRTs for TTC, Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton

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    1. LRTs are a terrible idea, spend the extra cash and build a subway! Calgary's LRT downtown moves at slightly over walking speed and takes up a lane of traffic. Good urban planning reduces congestion, LRTs increase congestion.

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  15. Eric, any more comments on Kitchener-Waterloo?

    You were featured in the Waterloo record with your projections... the riding really could go any of the three directions according to your work.

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    1. According to my simulator, using the average at the top (35,7%, 35,8% and 21,8% for the OLP, PC and NDP respectively), I have 37,5%, 43,69% and 13,73%, so a fairly safe PC win at the moment. Here, we can see a major difference between our two simulators. I wonder how he gets those numbers, just like I guess he's wondering how I'm getting mine!

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    2. There should be no wonder, as all the methodology used to calculate the projections is explained on this site.

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  16. Your latest seat projection model shows the Liberals taking Trinity-Spadina, Parkdale-High Park & Davenport. That would be a surprising loss for the NDP. Does the model take into account historical voting patterns & incumbency advantage?

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    1. The model does not take historical voting patterns into account, apart from the results of the previous election. Incumbency is taken into account.

      Yes, those would be surprising losses for the NDP but as I pointed out in this post this was due to the abnormally low results for the NDP in Toronto in the EKOS poll.

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    2. I use only the provincial numbers, taking into account the last four elections, and I too have the NDP losing Trinity-Spadina by about 5%. They are nowhere near losing Parkdale-High Park but they have a 6% lead in Davenport, so if they go down and the OLP goes up, it could be a potential switch.

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  17. New Abacus poll out today

    PC 33
    LIb 33
    NDP 26

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  18. Likely voter numbers are PC 36, Liberal 33 and NDP 25.

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  19. What is going on with the Green Party and Northern Ontario? 19% support in a resource reliant region? That is simply fantastical and makes me question Ekos' methodology although I suppose it could simply be a outinleftfieldlier.

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  20. HOW CAN WE ACCESS THE OLDER STATS FROM POLL 308... I WANT A BREAK DOWN WEEK BY WEEK SINCE ELECTIONS WHERE CALLED IN ONTARIO? PLEASE HELP... email me @guardpol@hotmail.com

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