Saturday, May 3, 2014

PCs and Liberals neck-and-neck in first Ontario projection

The 2014 provincial election in Ontario was officially kicked-off yesterday, when Kathleen Wynne asked the Lt. Gov. to dissolve the legislature following the decision by Andrea Horwath's NDP not to support the government's budget. The vote will be held on June 12, 2014. If that vote were held today instead, the prediction for victory would be a toss-up between the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives.

In the first projection from for the Ontario election, the PCs are projected to have the lead in voting intentions with 34.4% support, or a likely range of between 33.1% and 37.5%. The Liberals follow closely behind with 33.5%, or between 32.1% and 36.8% support. The New Democrats are in third with 23.9% (or between 22% and 25.6%), while the Greens sit at 7% (or between 4.9% and 8.7%).

The Liberals are projected to pull slightly more seats out of the equation than the Tories, with 44 to 41. But the likely seat ranges narrowly favour the PCs, with between 36 and 51 seats to between 34 and 50 seats for the Liberals. A genuine toss-up.

The New Democrats would likely win between 18 and 26 seats, with 22 being the precise projection. That puts them squarely in third place.
But if we look at the maximum and minimum ranges (designed to capture 95% of likely outcomes), the picture is even muddier. The Liberals could win between 22 and 65 seats, the PCs would take between 25 and 62 seats, and the NDP could win between 12 and 29 seats. The Greens could also win one. This suggests that, taking into account past polling errors, a scenario where an election held today puts the NDP in the Official Opposition role can be envisioned.

Regionally, the PCs hold comfortable leads in eastern and southwestern Ontario, and are narrowly ahead in the 905 area code. The Liberals are well in front in Toronto, but are currently edged out by the New Democrats in northern Ontario.

Full details of the projection, including the riding-by-riding breakdown, can be found by clicking on the chart at the top of the page (or here).

Unless the polls start agreeing with one another, or if one party decisively pulls ahead, this will be a difficult election to call. The polls did a good job in Ontario in 2011, and are coming off two consecutive good calls in Nova Scotia and Quebec, so there is hope for accurate polling results in this campaign. The seat projection model on this site had some trouble with the PC tally in 2011, but that was primarily due to the fact that it was a province-wide model at the time. It currently is a regional model, which in 2011 would have helped capture the disproportionate swing to the PCs outside of the GTA.

This will be a relatively long campaign, stretching to almost six weeks. Hopefully, voters will be more engaged than they were in 2011 when fewer than half tramped out to the polls. As it stands, it looks like it will be a close race.


  1. How you can predict without knowing ondp 's platform ???

    1. The projection is based on what the latest polls are saying, not a prediction of the future.

  2. What sort of people are voting Liberal? Unions? the 1%? Students? people in poverty?

    1. The current Liberal base is middle class people in the GTA, Ottawa and other urban/suburban parts of the province.

      Unions have been Liberal friendly in this province since the late 1990s. Relationship between NDP and labour fractured after the Rae government. Their relationship has gotten better, and unions helped NDP win a few by-elections. Right now it seems the labour movement doesn't care has an anybody-but-Hudak approach.

      Students don't vote in enough numbers to swing an election. Any policies of tuition free relief enacted by parties, is actually targeted towards parents of students.

    2. Thanks...

      Do the Teacher and Nurses unions vote as a block for the Liberals? The Auto industry workers that was saved by Harper (67%) and McGuinty (33%)?

      The GTA middle class is okay with paying more taxes? They do not have a problem with wealth distribution to help the less fortunate and the environment? Or do they have bought into the idea that someone better off then them will be paying the bills?

      And yet while they seem to have the a tax and spend attitude but do not want to vote for the NDP whose policies the Liberals seem to have adopted on their own?

      Why would they not be voting for the NDP who at least up to now have not had a chance to show their incompetence or corruption.

    3. "has an anybody-but-Hudak approach. "

      Which also applies to a large part of the general population as well.

    4. BCVOR - the two biggest things that the Liberals have going for them are Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath. I don't think many people view them as a good option, but rather as the least bad option.

    5. I think if the Quebec NS and BC elections have taught us anything it's people vote with their pocketbooks for economic stability. Many people don't like Christy Clark but, she was re-elected,. people such as yourself have written for years and polls corroborate the public has never warmed to Harper but, he won two consecutive elections based on economic competence. Chretien was never particularly popular but, won three majorities because people trusted his managerial skills. Arguably the OLP has squander any managerial respect they once had among the general public.

      The fact Hudak's opposition must resort to scare tactics since their own record is so full of corruption, scandal and probable illegality does not bode well for the Liberals. If voters are in a "toss the bums out mood" even scare tactics won't save Wynne.

    6. I don't think any of the three major parties advocated raising taxes on the middle class.

      The Liberal budget stated that they will obtain revenue through tax hikes on high incomes along with taxes on aviation fuel and tobacco. Seems non-controversial to most voters.

      Would these new revenue streams be enough to fund new investments while balancing the books by 2017/2018? Of course not. But when the McGuinty Liberals try to implement austerity measures in 2012, it was met with huge opposition. The NDP jumped in the polls. The Liberals understand that and that is why they are accepting to rack up deficits in order to make investments throughout the province.

      In theory, since the NDP and Liberals are spouting similar policies, voters should select the NDP since they do not have the baggage and scandals the Liberals have. However, the Liberals are better organized and funded than the NDP. The Liberals also have a clear vision, while the NDP relies too much on its leader and populist rhetoric. Some parts of the province the NDP will be the de-facto center-left option, other parts it will be the Liberals. In some parts the vote will be split evenly to the benefit of the Tories.

  3. How do you weigh by-election results? By-elections are obviously polarized and sometimes to not accurately represent the results in a general.

    For example in Kitchener-Waterloo and London-West how are the 2011 general and by-election results taken into account?

    1. I use the by-elections as the base, and swing the projection according to how the polls have changed since the period of the by-election.

    2. Thanks for the update Eric! Good to know how it is based.
      I'll be watching to see how using the base as the by-election turns out on e-day.

  4. A new Forum poll was out. PC 38% OLP 33% NDP 22%. Forum's wonky seat projection shows OLP 49 PC 45 NDP 13. NDP seat count seems a bit low.

  5. Your riding by riding projections are similar to mine, I was a little more cautious in awarding all the ridings in Mississauga and Scarborough to the liberals. Its likely they win them all but there is also the possibility of an ndp pickup in Scarborough or a conservative pickup in Mississauga

  6. An interesting looking situation. I have skin in the game this time as I'll be running in Thunder Bay-Superior North for the Greens (nomination was scheduled for this upcoming weekend but now has to be sped up) so I'll try not to be too partisan here...

    The big questions will be on trust I suspect. The Liberals have lost tons on that front over the past few years, but McGuinty clearly lied in his first election yet was re-elected twice. The PC's scare a lot of people with talk about cutting. The NDP still has the ghost of Bob Rae to deal with. Really, all 3 big parties have the same issue - their last leaders who won all gave them major skeletons to deal with even though their past is very far in the past. The reason those issues keep coming back though is the age of the average voter. Seniors vote most, baby boomers are up to that age range now, thus they remember clearly the Bob Rae, Mike Harris and Dalton McGuinty era's.

    Another big issue is the bizarre situation FPTP creates. Some media are reporting how one poll has the PC's in the lead % wise but behind seat wise. That is just a dumb situation but sadly will continue for the foreseeable future.

    Meanwhile as a Green I have to sit back and watch us be ignored until we get a seat whereas proportional rep would have us with 5 or so seats right now. Sigh. Gotta work with what is, not what you'd like.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. You may think FPTP creates "dumb situations" but, Ontarians voted on their electoral system in 2007and 63% were in favour of FPTP- it wasn't even close.

      FPTP and Parliament are designed to represent local communities- not Ontario or Ontarians writ large. You may feel the Greens get short changed but, the other side of the coin is that the Greens will get 5 seats when 95% of the electorate did not vote for them. Both situations are unfair in their own way.

      If you feel passionately about the need for a new electoral system campaign on change. I for one would be interested to know what sort of feed back you may receive.

      In any case good luck on your campaign. It takes guts and a great deal of effort to run!


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