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.