Thursday, June 12, 2014

Final Ontario projection: Likely Liberal, possible PC victory

Kathleen Wynne's Liberals stand the best chance of forming government in today's Ontario provincial election, with a likely return to a minority legislature. Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives will likely form the Official Opposition again, though they stand an outside shot of taking power themselves. Andrea Horwath's New Democrats should retain their role as third party in Queen's Park.

The likely outcome

The Liberals are projected to win between 42 and 55 seats, putting them just in range of a majority government (54 are needed), with between 35.4% and 40.6% of the popular vote. While this would be their fourth consecutive election victory, it could also be the least decisive of the four. The precise projection gives the Liberals 49 seats and 36.9% of the vote. That is little different from the 48 seats the party had at dissolution and the 37.7% the party took in 2011.

Final projection
The Progressive Conservatives are projected win between 33 and 44 seats with between 34.3% and 39% of the popular vote. This does make a minority victory by the PCs possible. The precise projection gives the party 36 seats and 35.8% of the popular, again little different from dissolution (37 seats) and their electoral performance in 2011.

The New Democrats are projected to win between 18 and 22 seats with between 20.4% and 23.8% of the popular vote. There is a chance, then, that the NDP could put up their best numbers since 1990. The precise projection gives them one more seat than they had at dissolution with 22, and slightly less of the vote than they earned in 2011 at 22.2%.

The Greens flirted with a seat for a period in the campaign, but in the end are projected to remain shutout of the legislature with between 2.9% and 5.1% of the vote. The precise projection gives them 4% support, which would represent their second best performance.

The range of plausible outcomes

With the polls at the end of the campaign - and this is something quite rare - showing greatly divergent results, it is especially worthwhile to look at the maximum and minimum projected ranges, encompassing 95% of likely outcomes. 

Projection ranges
When we stretch the projection to that extreme, we still get a likely Liberal, possible PC victory. The Liberals should be able to win between 29 and 68 seats, making a majority government or a return to Official Opposition status after more than a decade more than possible. Their vote range stretches from 34.3% to 47.2%.

The Progressive Conservatives could plausibly win between 25 and 60 seats, making a slim majority government possible for them. They should take between 32.2% and 45.4% of the vote.

The New Democrats do not seem to be in a position to move out of third place, with a maximum range of between nine and 25 seats, with between 18.4% and 25.8% of the vote. But some caution here: that maximum and minimum range does not even encompass all of the final polls, some of which had the NDP lower than 18.4% and higher than 25.8%. They are the wildcard in this election.

The Greens could take as little as 1.8% and as much as 6.3% of the vote,  but that does not put them in range of their first seat.

Regional breakdown

The Liberals are expected to finish first in the two most highly urbanized regions of the province, with the Progressive Conservatives placing first in the rest of Ontario.

Regional projections
In Toronto, the Liberals are projected to have between 44.1% and 50.5% support, enough to give them between 15 and 20 of the region's 22 seats. The PCs should finish second in the vote count with between 26.4% and 29.9%, but third in the seat count with between zero and three seats. The NDP, which has rallied in Toronto in the final stages of the campaign, should take between 20.6% and 24% of the vote and between two and four seats. The Greens are projected to take between 2.1% and 3.7% of the vote, their weakest region.

Regional projection tracker
In the 905 area code, which stretches from the Toronto-area suburbs through to Hamilton and Niagara Falls, the Liberals are projected to narrowly edge out the PCs with between 35.9% and 41.1% support. Their seat haul is projected to be between 16 and 18 seats. The PCs should take between 35.2% and 40% of the vote and win between eight and 11 seats. The NDP is projected to win five or six seats with between 19.5% and 22.7% support. The Greens should take between 2.6% and 4.6% of the vote. Support levels have been the most static in the 905 throughout the campaign.

The Progressive Conservatives have the most support in Eastern Ontario with between 40.1% and 45.5% of the vote, which should net them between seven and nine seats. The Liberals closed the gap in the last week of the campaign, and are projected to take between 35.7% and 40.9% of the vote, getting them between five and seven seats. The NDP is projected to remain seatless in the region with between 15.4% and 17.9% of the vote, while the Greens finish fourth with between 2.4% and 4.3% support.

Riding projections
In Southwestern Ontario, a relatively close three-way race that the PCs have led for most of the campaign, the Tories are expected to win between 12 and 14 seats with between 37.2% and 42.3% of the vote. The Liberals should take between 26.7% and 30.6% of the vote and two to four of the seats, with the NDP winning six seats with between 25.1% and 29.2% support. The Greens should take between 3.5% and 6.1% of the vote.

The closest three-way race of the entire campaign has been in Northern and Central Ontario. The PCs are projected to come out narrowly on top with between 31.8% and 36.1% of the vote and with six or seven seats, while the Liberals take between 31.3% and 35.9% of the vote and between four and six seats. The NDP is projected to win five or six seats with between 26.1% and 30.3% of the vote, while the Greens could put up their best numbers here with between 3.7% and 6.5% support.

The polls

Unlike the last two provincial campaigns that have taken place, in Quebec and Nova Scotia, the polls have been anything but consistent in Ontario. The last set of polls, at least among all eligible voters, were notably more consistent than earlier in the campaign, but by any other standards they were nevertheless quite divergent. It means that this projection is one of the least confident ones I have had to make, and there is a great deal of potential for a surprise tonight.

If we look at a mix of the final tallies that the pollsters will be judged against (their one-and-only numbers, or their estimations of likely turnout) we get a fair bit of agreement and disagreement. 

There is absolute consensus on the support the PCs will be able to capture: about 36%. All of the final polls put support for the party at between 35% and 37%. So on that score, at least, there is little mystery.

But that is not so for the Liberals and NDP. The governing party has been estimated to get as much as 42% of the vote or as little as 30%. That is the difference, of course, between majority government and Official Opposition.

Polling trends and intervals
For the New Democrats, the range is even wider: as high as 30% or as low as 17%. Here there is little consensus either, with polls landing everywhere between those highs and lows. And again, that makes a huge difference - perhaps not for the NDP, who would struggle to displace either the Liberals or PCs for second place even at 30% - but for the other parties. The PCs should hope for a high NDP number, as that will hurt the Liberals. A low NDP number, on the other hand, virtually assures a Liberal plurality, even if they find themselves short on the vote count.

The trends for the Liberals and PCs have been relatively clear and stable. The Liberals slowly inched up throughout the campaign, until taking a bit of a hit after the debate. The PCs dropped after initially leading, and up-ticked after the debate. The NDP, however, has been neither gaining nor dropping. The range of final outcomes, at least according to the polls, points to a disappointing campaign, a stellar breakthrough, and everything in between.

Why have the polls been so divergent? It has been a consistent trend in Ontario polling since Dalton McGuinty's resignation. Low engagement is undoubtedly a factor, as we all sit in fear of turnout dropping again from the record low of 48% in 2011. Part of it is, however, the increased variation added by the different turnout models. These are all designed differently and make different assumptions, whereas the polls of all eligible voters are based on the same assumptions and are done, for the most part, in similar ways. If we were only looking at eligible numbers in this campaign, we'd find the polls only slightly at odds.

How the leaders fared

Kathleen Wynne was the rookie leader in this campaign, as both Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath took their second kicks at the can. Based on what the polls have showed, Hudak and Horwath had worse campaigns than Wynne did.

This is because Wynne's numbers have hardly budged since the pre-campaign period. Her approval and favourability ratings remained generally stable, and she continued to lead on who would make the best premier. Of 20 polls that asked this question throughout the campaign, Wynne led in 17 of them, or 85%. Of the 38 voting intentions surveys completed in this campaign, by contrast, the Liberals led in only 61% of them. She clearly has the leadership edge, averaging 31% on who would make the best premier against 25% for Hudak and 21% for Horwath.

It has not been a bad campaign for Hudak, however. The June 9 survey from Forum put his approval rating at 30%, the highest Forum has recorded it to be since October 2012. His approval among PC supporters has also improved, from under 60% before the campaign to 64-66% at the mid-point and finally 77% at the end of it. After having difficulty with their own leader, Tories seem to have come to terms with him.

But Ontarians are still not enamoured. The Angus Reid poll had 60% calling the PC leader 'unappealing', with just 21% saying he was 'appealing'. Those are rather bad numbers.

The NDP was banking on Horwath's personal popularity to carry them through this campaign, but the gambit may not have worked. Horwath's numbers have taken a hit as the campaign dragged on. Her approval rating had been well over 40% before the campaign began, but dropped to 34% in the last poll from Forum. Her disapproval rating is now nearing 50%, after being in the mid-30s before the campaign. A similar drop in favourability has also been recorded by Abacus, though she scored highest (33%) on being an appealing leader in Angus Reid's poll.

Wynne is given an 85% chance of winning her riding of Don Valley West, with an estimated support of between 52% and 60%, against 31% to 36% for the PC candidate.

Hudak's chances of re-election in Niagara West-Glanbrook stand at a comfortable 89% chance, with between 48% and 55% against 24% to 28% for the Liberal candidate.

Horwath is the most secure at a 98% chance of victory in Hamilton Centre, with between 58% and 67% support against 17% to 19% for the Liberal candidate.

Green Party leader Mike Schreiner is expected to come up short in Guelph, where the Liberals are favoured. He is projected to take between 9% and 16% of the vote in the riding, placing fourth. I would not be surprised, however, if he does better than that.

Missing the forest for the trees?

In past campaigns, it has been easier to gauge the state of the race as the polls were in general agreement. It was clear in Quebec that the Liberals moved ahead at the mid-point, and that the CAQ was making inroads in the final days. In Nova Scotia, it was obvious that the Liberals were going to win and that the NDP was in a fight for second place. Even in British Columbia, despite the overall miss, there was no mistaking the gains the B.C. Liberals were making.

Ontario has been different. The polls have actually been quite stable - but only from the perspective of each individual pollster. For the most part, the portrait of the race that they painted in the first week was the same as it was in the last week. But that portrait differed from pollster to pollster, with some consistently showing a Liberal advantage, others a PC edge, and yet others a tie. This has made it very difficult to tell the story of the campaign.

The aggregate has been clearer, with early PC strength and a generally stable Liberal lead afterwards that was reduced following the debate. If the election result mirrors the current projection, that will likely be the safest 'story' that can be told of what happened in the 2014 Ontario provincial campaign.

But because of the very different results from the polls, there has been a great focus on this cacophony, blaming the pollsters for being unable to consistently track the voting intentions of a disengaged and disinterested electorate. Because of the very different final tallies - caused by the drive to get it right after past misses - one pollster or multiple ones will be wrong. Some will be right, though. 

In all likelihood, the ones that were wrong will get the most attention, and Ontario will be chalked up as another miss. We can add the "Premier Hudak/Wynne" taunt to those of Premiers Adrian Dix and Danielle Smith. Never-mind that the polls accurately named Philippe Couillard, Stephen McNeil, Pauline Marois, Brad Wall, Kathy Dunderdale, Dalton McGuinty, Greg Selinger, Robert Ghiz, and David Alward as incoming premiers since 2010. Those two misses are all that count, apparently.

Some in the media will relish the opportunity to jump on whatever misses occur tonight, but pollsters have a role to play as well. Those that turn out to be right tonight must be humble, those that miss must not hide. Those who do well should not laugh at those who don't, those who don't should not call those who have a better night lucky. All of that infighting in the public sphere does nothing to help the image of the industry, and tarnishes both those who gloat and those who make excuses.

But the story of the 2014 Ontario provincial election should not be, of course, about the polls. It should be about the voters. If turnout is very low, or the number of those who decline or spoil their ballots very high, parties should ask themselves what they are doing wrong. It is not just the responsibility of organizations like Elections Ontario to get out the vote, but the role of parties to give voters an option they can be enthusiastic about. 

If the polls have said anything about this campaign, it is that it is likely to be a very close one and that every vote matters. The pollsters have tried to do their job to capture and report your opinions. Now it is up to you.


  1. Hi Eric,

    A few posts ago you noted that PC supporters are considerably more likely to get out and vote than OLP supporters are. You used the word "landslide" I believe and ctvnews said something similar. Do your projections for another liberal govt take this into consideration? Thanks


    1. Yes, the high ranges for the PCs take this possibility into account. That the PCs have more likely voters in their camp was the finding of one poll, but not all polls have shown the same thing.

  2. Well, this one is hard to predict. Even polls don't really agree. So, just as Eric, I'll use his poll-average to call it. Using his numbers, the seat count would be:

    47 OLP
    41 PC
    19 NDP

    Here is the riding by riding breakdown:

    Ajax—Pickering OLP
    Algoma—Manitoulin NDP
    Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale OLP
    Barrie PC
    Beaches—East York NDP
    Bramalea—Gore—Malton NDP
    Brampton-Ouest OLP
    Brampton—Springdale OLP
    Brant PC
    Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound PC
    Burlington OLP
    Cambridge OLP
    Carleton—Mississippi Mills PC
    Chatham-Kent—Essex PC
    Davenport NDP
    Don Valley-Est OLP
    Don Valley-Ouest OLP
    Dufferin—Caledon PC
    Durham PC
    Eglinton—Lawrence OLP
    Elgin—Middlesex—London PC
    Essex NDP
    Etobicoke-Centre OLP
    Etobicoke—Lakeshore OLP
    Etobicoke-Nord OLP
    Glengarry—Prescott—Russell PC
    Guelph OLP
    Haldimand—Norfolk PC
    Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock PC
    Halton PC
    Hamilton-Centre NDP
    Hamilton-Est—Stoney Creek NDP
    Hamilton Mountain NDP
    Huron—Bruce PC
    Kenora-Rainy River NDP
    Kingston et les Îles OLP
    Kitchener-Centre PC
    Kitchener—Conestoga PC
    Kitchener—Waterloo PC
    Lambton—Kent—Middlesex PC
    Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington PC
    Leeds—Grenville PC
    London-Centre-Nord OLP
    London—Fanshawe NDP
    London-Ouest OLP
    Markham—Unionville OLP
    Mississauga—Brampton-Sud OLP
    Mississauga—Erindale OLP
    Mississauga-Est—Cooksville OLP
    Mississauga—Streetsville OLP
    Mississauga-Sud OLP
    Nepean—Carleton PC
    Newmarket—Aurora PC
    Niagara Falls PC
    Niagara-Ouest—Glanbrook PC
    Nickel Belt NDP
    Nipissing PC
    Northumberland—Quinte West PC
    Oak Ridges—Markham OLP
    Oakville OLP
    Oshawa PC
    Ottawa-Centre OLP
    Ottawa—Orléans OLP
    Ottawa-Ouest—Nepean PC
    Ottawa-Sud OLP
    Ottawa—Vanier OLP
    Oxford PC
    Parkdale—High Park NDP
    Parry Sound—Muskoka PC
    Perth—Wellington PC
    Peterborough OLP
    Pickering—Scarborough-Est OLP
    Prince Edward—Hastings PC
    Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke PC
    Richmond Hill OLP
    Sarnia—Lambton PC
    Sault Ste. Marie OLP
    Scarborough—Agincourt OLP
    Scarborough-Centre OLP
    Scarborough—Guildwood OLP
    Scarborough—Rouge River NDP
    Scarborough-Sud-Ouest OLP
    Simcoe—Grey PC
    Simcoe-Nord PC
    St. Catharines PC
    St. Paul's OLP
    Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry PC
    Sudbury NDP
    Thornhill PC
    Thunder Bay—Atikokan OLP
    Thunder Bay—Superior-Nord OLP
    Timiskaming-Cochrane NDP
    Timmins—Baie James NDP
    Toronto-Centre OLP
    Toronto—Danforth NDP
    Trinity—Spadina OLP
    Vaughan OLP
    Welland NDP
    Wellington—Halton Hills PC
    Whitby—Oshawa PC
    Willowdale OLP
    Windsor-Ouest NDP
    Windsor—Tecumseh OLP
    York-Centre OLP
    York-Ouest OLP
    York—Simcoe PC
    York-Sud—Weston OLP

    I have a feeling the results will differ quite a bit to my prediction because the turnout will be different to the poll average. Note that I'm not modifying my numbers due to star candidates entering or leaving the political arena since I have not idea who and where they would be (I don't really follow Ontarian politics from Québec). Also, I don't currently use by-election results since they are more about sending a message at the specific time of the election at the party in power than about electing a government and that, most times, leads to very low turnout. Depending on this election's results, I may start incorporating them in a reduced manner. Note that I also didn't incorporate riding polls since I don't have enough time to do so at the time (and don't have a thought out way of doing it either).

    1. I think you have failed to take the byelections into consideration - for example the NDP won Windsor-Tecumseth with over 60% of the vote in a byelection and the OLP is just running a paper candidate there - I assume you have it going Liberal because you are basing your projections on the 2011 general election results. I expect the NDP to hold Niagara Falls more easily than people expect, London West and KW will be close - NDP hold is more likely in LW - if not it will go PC. If the NDP loses KW it will be to the Liberal - PCs are a distant third there

    2. The only reported riding poll for KW has the PCs well back in third place: Lib at 35, NDP at 33, PC at 24. Why would you think it will go PC?

    3. Simple answer is, I don't use by-elections in my model at the moment. If it turns out it makes a major difference (which some of you seem to think, and being more invested in this election, you probably are right, and as the KW poll indicates), I'll start including them in my future models (Canada in 2015 being the most likely candidate).

      I just made a small test with a method I could use with KW and Niagara Falls and KW would be NDP (by 6%) and Niagara Falls would go back to PC (by 3%). We'll see about further implementation of this for byelections.

    4. I'd be surprised to see Niagara Falls and St. Catharines go PC. Wayne Gates is simply a popular local politician, and Bart Maves has had three (unsuccessful) kicks at the can. In fact, the byelection that made Gates MPP took place when the Liberals were at their lowest, and folks opted for the NDP in what had been a Liberal seat. I just don't see the PCs wiining in the Falls. Likewise, Jim Bradley is an institution in St. Catharines, and people vote for him more than for the Liberal party. Again, I don't see the NDP or PC challengers bringing enough to change that. Sometimes, anecdotal evidence is more valuable than statistical analysis.

    5. Yeah, to chime in, I'd say there is no way that Windsor-Tecumseh is going Liberal. Dwight Duncan left his seat, but Percy Hatfield is extremely popular here. The Liberal candidate is pretty much just a stand in and has no real chance of winning.

    6. I would be surprised to see Ottawa West - Nepean fall to the Conservatives. Mr. Charelli is quite popular here. The machine that elected him as mayor in Ottawa three times is pretty much intact only now they are focusing on just one riding. Just using the unscientific method of counting lawn signs indicates that his campaign has IDed a large number of Liberals. There are streets here where there is a Charelli lawn sign every two or three houses, on both sides of the street, for blocks long stretches. The same cannot be said of Mr. Denley. If Liberals bother to vote tonight he wins.

    7. "Simple answer is, I don't use by-elections in my model at the moment."

      I'm not thinking of the by-election results but the Forum riding poll which had the PCs in distant third in KW. Surely a riding poll is worth far, far more than a province-wide poll when it comes to predicting a particular riding?

    8. "I'm not thinking of the by-election results but the Forum riding poll which had the PCs in distant third in KW. Surely a riding poll is worth far, far more than a province-wide poll when it comes to predicting a particular riding?"

      It would, but since I'm doing this in my spare time, I don't have the time to look at the riding polls and adjust accordingly. I don't know exactly what method I would use, other than simple adding/substracting points from the concerned parties, but that seems wrong somehow. And KW did have a byelection which, as I pointed out, would have changed my prediction. In that case, adjusting the algorithm would have been possible since the change would have been small (which it is not right now). Seems more and more like I'll have to start including byelections to make better predictions.

    9. So, after the poor performance of last night, I added byelections this morning, counting them as a quarter of a full election. With this and the 308-aggregate to have a good comparaison with the numbers above, I would have gotten:

      45 OLP
      39 PC
      23 NDP

      It's better. Considering the percentages are far off, it's better. I still have other modifications to bring though.

  3. It has been an odd campaign with negative comments non-stop for the big 2 and few positive messages getting through the media filter for any party. The closest to positive is how the media was perfectly happy to parrot the million jobs mantra early on until it was found out the figures were off by a factor of 8.

    We really need a change to the system to reward positive behaviour. The easiest change politically would be a ranked ballot to ensure all ridings are represented by someone who 50%+1 liked to some degree thus killing off strategic voting and making it so there is an incentive to draw support as the #2 choice of other party supporters.

    1. Ranking would be the most trivial of changes and could be easily implemented, but I fear the primary purpose of the referendum was precisely to kill that idea. Present an unpalatable option for change and then ask a fraudulent question about preference. Use the resulting outcome to justify leaving the system as FPTP.

    2. Ever notice all the supporters for the flawed PR systems (and PR is unfair it's just unfair to bigger parties instead of smaller ones) are also supporters of wacco fringe parties like the Greens and the NDP?

    3. Exactly how is PR unfair to bigger parties? If they collect, say, 40% of the vote, they get 40% of the seats. If they collect 30%, they get 30%. It's not unfair, it's actually extremely fair. They shouldn't get more seats because they are "bigger", that would be biased by past results and ignoring present concerns and create a monopoly consistently undermining smaller parties because they can't get anyone elected.

    4. Hishighness, I disagree strongly with your assertion. How on EARTH is PR unfair? Almost every western democracy uses some form of PR extremely successfully. We need a system like STV where local representation is still there as well as more proportional representation.

    5. John want to expand on that ranked ballot idea ?

    6. PR is not fair- why should a party that receives 5% of the vote win any seats? 95% of the electorate has voted against them! When 95% of the electorate vote against a party the party has a mandate to do nothing, PR produces systems that represent fringe elements of the population not the people as a whole. PR does a great job of electing far right or far left extremists and producing unstable governments and countries.

      In fact PR is not used in the major Western democracies of; the United Kingdom, United States, France, Canada, Australia uses STV but, it is not truly a proportional system.

      STV is unfair in a different way; some votes are counted more than others effectively giving some people multiple votes. If you vote for the first person to drop off the ballot your vote gets re-counted for your next preference and so on until the final count. Whereas, if another person votes for one of the two finalists it will only be counted once. My second, big problem with STV is weighting. Why should a person's fifth preference have the same value as a first preference vote? On the other hand if weighting occurs some votes are worth more than others.

    7. PR is provably better than FPTP, per the Condorcet criteria.

    8. These statements:

      "why should a party that receives 5% of the vote win any seats? 95% of the electorate has voted against them!"

      suggest that you misunderstand representative democracy in general and PR specifically.

      In particular, 95% haven't voted against them. 95% have selected a different representative. The party you vote for is your representative, nothing more, nothing less. You have no control over someone else's representative.

    9. bede, that's the reason there is more than 1 seat at the legislative assembly. If countries wanted more stability under PR, then the leading party should make a coalition with the center, not with the extremists. Change happens because of people with radical ideas, so they shouldn't be discounted out of hands. They should be given a voice to force a reflexion on the system and potential other venues, and the less radical can juggle with the idea and present a plan that will please most people. Leaving power to the same people over and over again, without fresh blood, is the best way to lead to stagnation and looking at the state of our country and provinces, I'd say we are quite stagnant (and to reinforce that idea, stagnation leads to disinterest and cynicism and low turnout during votes, which is in no way healthy for a democracy). As for STV, it is in no way different than a secound round of votes where everyone votes again, at greater cost, which they could have done on the same ballot the first time around (France for example has two turns).

    10. bede... do you think that if you get 20% of the vote, should you get 20% of the seats? Congrats, then you believe in PR.

      In STV some votes are counted not more than others because people will actually be able to vote for whom they want and not whom they want to vote against. STV is a system to cut down on the wasted vote. Why should someone who lives in Toronto Centre vote if they're conservative? There would be no point. If you vote for the finalist, then great! You elected someone. If someone chooses to vote for someone else and they lose, their vote simply transfers, it doesn't get counted twice. It's like an instant runoff multimember district system. It works far better than FPTP does.

      PR in general also does not create unstable governments and extreme views - this is just false. ALL countries have the capability to have extreme views, and PR just reflects this desire, it does not create votes magically out of thin air for communists and nazis. In fact, France, the UK and the US all have extreme elements that are major parts of their political system despite having non-porportional representation. The countries that have FPTP have MORE unstable governments, as evidenced by the US gridlock, and Canadian "minority" governments.

      Our system rewards confrontation and penalizes cooperation. One can get absolute power despite getting a minority of the votes. It simply does not make sense to go with this system when there are better ones elsewhere.

    11. That is an obscene canard. Because 95% vote "against" a party they should have no seats?

      If you take the current party-wide poll numbers (as good as any), we have that a solid supermajority of 63% vote "against the Liberals", 64% against the PC, and 77% against the NDP.

      By your logic, ALL of these parties have an insurmountable anti-mandate. There shouldn't even be a single MPP, let alone a government.

      You forget that the legislature, as a deliberative assembly, is specifically meant to be the institution of our representative democracy. That, oddly enough, means *representing* the views of all of society, nutjobs included, in (ideally) a one-person one-voice manner.

      FPTP fails utterly at this goal, and I leave it to Duverger's laws, the micro-mega rule, and other treatises to speak its horrors.

      As to STV giving people multiple votes? Seriously? Kindly recall how you would find that first person to drop off the ballot. By counting all the votes and selecting the one with the fewest, I hope. Now that said candidate is eliminated, how do you find the second to drop?

      By re-counting... all the votes, transferred or no. The fact that some of them are voting for the same candidate on this count quite obviously does not mean they don't have a vote now.

      Actually, FPTP-type systems are the ones who truly give some people more weighting - ALL votes for losing candidates might as well have not been cast, even if without vote-splitting they would agree to elect a compromise.

    12. No Lukas,

      I don't think 20% of the vote should entitle a party to 20% of the seats. FPTP is the best system plain and simple. The only people who want PR or STV are those who are unable to win any other way. Maybe we should create a parliament for the losers to keep these people happy-they wouldn't have any power of course but, they would be allowed to debate until they're blue in the face.

      PR does create unstable governments with extreme views; Germany in the 1930's, Greece in the 2010's with the New Dawn party, Heck Musolini's granddaughter is an Italian M.P. with a neo-fascist party! Communists make up significant blocks in most European countries with PR. Or perhaps proponents of PR wish to be governed by a Canadian Berlusconi or Euroskeptics such as Grillo Beppe and Nigel Farage?

      To say FPTP systems are unstable is just false. Canada had 3 minority Parliaments in a row, they were not unstable, business went on as usual. If the Government had fallen another election takes place. Much like in Italy where they have had 50+ governments since the Second World War under PR.

      To write the US gridlock is unstable is your opinion but, rather puzzling. Surely, the problem you cite is the stability of the gridlock? It is not unstable at all it is extremely stable-unchanging almost.

      There may be better electoral systems but, PR is not it!

    13. Paul A.S. Ward and Jefferry,

      You misunderstand the meaning of representative democracy. It is an assembly meant to represent people not political ideas. The people are represented by geographic distribution.

      Paul A.S. Ward wrote: "You have no control over someone else's representative".

      But that is the problem with PR, under such a system you do choose someone else's representative-all representatives are pooled. Therefore your home town could be left without a single member in a PR system depending how party lists are chosen.

    14. Jefferey,

      Once a candidate is eliminated in STV his votes are redistributed and recounted. The eliminated candidate's votes are counted once in the first round and once in the second round for a different candidate. Whereas, other candidates still on the ballot votes are counted but once. All the votes are not recounted at the second count, the eliminated candidate's votes are re-distributed. It is an important difference and it means some votes are counted more than others.

    15. bede, what you say is almost all cherrypicked data from countries that we have nothing in common with.

      If this election does not show you the dire need our country and province has for electoral reform, nothing will.

    16. Bede, it is (or should be imo) a system meant to represent people's political ideas. The geographic representation idea assumes that people want nothing other than to represent their local interests, and many (probably most) actual people disagree. At the very least, there is a legitimate argument here among people who all believe in representative democracy.

    17. "your home town could be left without a single member in a PR system depending how party lists are chosen."

      I think you are missing the point of PR. My home town has a representative who was not acceptable to 2/3rds of the voters there, as does yours, likely, as does everyone's, to a first approximation. Two-thirds of voters are "represented" by someone who's interests are likely very different from their own. With a PR system I get to vote for a party which will much more closely represent my interests in Parliament. I don't give a damn where that person lives. I care whether or not they represent my interests. Insofar as there are enough people similar to me, we can get a representative who will present our interests to Parliament. It's called democracy!

    18. Lukas,

      First off Canada has much in common with Germany and Greece but, there are plenty more examples such as Gert Wilders in the Netherlands or the Shas party in Israel and who can forget Pauline Hanson and the One Nation Party in Australia! PR promotes extremism and extremists get elected even in a mild mannered place like Holland.

      This election has not changed my mind unlike some I am a gracious loser and accept defeat when it comes my way. I see little point in endlessly protesting a result that my fellow citizens have elected. A PR system would have made the outcome all but assured from Day one-a Liberal-NDP coalition. At least now with a majority Wynne has the ability to govern in a responsible way and make difficult decisions (there will be cuts starting in 2015 I am sure)-a PR system usually does not afford a government such luxuries.

      Paul A.S. Ward,

      If your representative is unacceptable to you that says more about you than the electoral system. Part of democracy is accepting the result even if you disagree with it. With FPTP you get to vote for a party that closely shares your interests! Your problem is most of your fellow citizens disagree with your choice and therefore, your preferred candidate does not get elected.

      We should remember that while democracy literally means "rule by the mob" in a modern context in means the election of the candidate closest to 50% of the vote. It really does not matter if one's M.P. holds different interests than your own, what matters is that he or she will bring up your concerns before Parliament if you ask her or him to do so. It is about a M.P. who is able to articulate the concerns of his or her constituents. A M.P. does not need to share your ideology in order to do so.


      Parliament is not a system meant to represent peoples' political ideas. It is a system designed with the intention of representing people on a geographic basis.

      Most Canadians are happy with the system. Whenever electoral change is voted upon FPTP wins. People understand the system, generally like the system and recognise any form of PR would bring more instability in government and worse political and policy outcomes.

      Who are these "actual people"? Where do they "actually live"? What are their "actual names"? Do they have "actual jobs" or simply pretend jobs?

    19. Paul,

      You mean Condorcet Criterion not criteria. Criteria is the plural of criterion.

      I do not pretend to be an expert on the Criterion but, my understanding is that a Condorcet candidate would have the ability to win a majority against all other pairings. This is basically what FPTP does already since, the candidate with a plurality of votes is elected. In places like Ireland and Australia that use STV this is also the case; the candidate who leads on the first count is most often the winner.

    20. FPTP often picks a non-Condorcet winner. Consider any political leadership convention in which the first ballot leader lost on the final ballot -- we've had lots of those in Canada. That obviously was not a Condorcet winner. Although sometimes, the runoff winner also would not have been a Condorcet winner. For example, in the 1983 PC leadership, when Mulroney was the runoff winner and Clark would have been winner if it had be FPTP, I suspect John Crosbie would have been a Condorcet winner. That said, I think runoff voting picks a Condorcet winner much more often than FPTP, because at least it guarantees the winner has won the most competitive head-to-head matchup.

    21. Actually, a Condorcet winner is a candidate that would win a head-to-head match against all other candidates. A voting system that satisfies the Condorcet winner criterion will elect a Condorcet winner if one exists. One that satisfies Condorcet loser will never elect a Condorcet loser.

      FPTP violently disagrees with Condorcet, both versions (it also fails a bucket of other useful criteria, independence of irrelevant alternatives and independence of clones are some of the worst).

      As an easy example, suppose there are three candidates, Blue, Red, and Orange. Red and Orange aren't that different, and supporters of one prefer the other to Blue. Blue supporters prefer Red to Orange.

      Now let Blue have 40% supporters, Red have 35% and Orange have 25%. Clearly Blue wins FPTP. Look now at the head-to-head matches - Blue vs Red: 40-70 (Red wins); Blue vs Orange: 40-70 (Orange wins); Red vs Orange: 75-25 (Red wins).

      Note Red wins both its matches, and is a Condorcet winner... but isn't elected. Worse, note Blue loses both its matches, and is a Condorcet loser... and gets elected anyway.

    22. 35+25=60, not 70 as my keyboard thinks

    23. MGK,

      As I said I am not an expert but, doesn't FPTP also produce the most competitive head-to-head match up? Since, at the end of the day one candidate will win and one candidate will come in second. The two candidates who finish first and second will be the most competitive will they not?

      Also, it is interesting to note federally the person who finished first on the 1st ballot has won the leadership in the vast majority of cases. Since 1956 only Svend Robinson, Iggy, Claude Wagner and Joe Clark have lost the leadership after leading on the first ballot. So 4/22.

    24. FPTP does not produce head-to-head matches, only multi-way contests. The vote-splitting phenomenon (if two candidates appeal to many of the same voters, against a more polarizing candidate who has an uncontested base) means that the result of a multi-way contest can be very different from the result of a head-to-head. You just cited 4 examples where the runoff voting changes the relative ranking of the top candidates -- and in 2 of those cases (Dion over Rae and Ignatieff, Clark over Wagner and Mulroney) it was the 3rd-place finisher on the 1st ballot who ultimately won the runoff.

  4. As a complement to your final section on missing the forest for the trees, Bruce Anderson wrote an excellent article for the G&M on broadly the same topic which I encourage readers here to check out:

  5. In the context of this election's polling uncertainty ...

    Bold Prediction Alert

    The Communists will not win more than 11 seats!

    1. Maybe you shouldn't put too much money on that one, it could cost you!

  6. Thierry thanks for the projections. I'll bet that Niagara Falls goes NDP though.

  7. If there is a surprise tonight I think it will be a lower than polled NDP vote, which will go to the Liberals. There are long time NDP supporters who are not saying it even to pollsters, but who are going to vote out of their regular pattern today. If this develops it will make the difference between a minority and a very thin majority result for the Liberals.

  8. Thanks Eric for all your work and your defence of when pollsters are correct. I still think that vote efficiency could also be emphasized. Tories are very inefficient. Perfect storm needed for PCs to win a minority. Lib majority, though highly unlikely, is more probable. PCs must win at least 4/5 from Libs and NDP too. Both without losing a seat. Libs path to majority is plausible. Let's say expected losses in Sudbury, Windsor and Glengarry are offset by takeaways in Davenport, Lakeshore and Trinity. That leaves them with 5 more: Cambridge, Perth, Brampton-Malton, Kitchener get them to 53. One of Burlington, Newmarket, Thornhill or the Beaches could get them over. But they can't lose Brant, Ottawa-West Nepean or Brampton-Springdale. A tall order!

  9. Your final results are interesting. Too much time has been spent on popular vote and not enough on vote efficiency. PCs are terribly inefficient. Libs could conceivably win a majority while losing popular vote. Probability that they will win a majority rather than PCs a minority.
    Perfect storm required for Libs to lose: 4/5 NDP gains at their expense and 4/5 PC gains at their expense with no takeaways. Highly unlikely. Lakeshore gain is a lock.
    On the other hand, Lib majority also needs a great deal of luck. Your model has them losing Brant (which is likely) and not gaining Trinity-Spadina (I'm not surprised; NDP candidate is 24 year vet and Lib is a rookie staffer). If LIbs win seats such as Burlington, which you have for them, there are enough close races for a plausible majority.

  10. My prediction is exactly the same results as 2011 so that the rest of Canada gets to laugh at Ontario.

    1. The rest of Canada needs another reason to laugh at Ontario?

    2. No the rest of Canada has plenty of reasons to laugh at Ontario tonight is another example. The good news for Ontarians is that now when they see people laughing at them it will not automatically be commentary on the Maple Laughs (who are truly terrible by the way-get a goalie for Pete's sake!).

  11. No question the fear factor is the Liberals biggest weapon this time. Harper has scared all non-Conservatives and Hudak has made himself appear right of Harper to many. The Liberals know this thus their appeal to the NDP supporters and a tight race makes it easier to build on the fear.

    I know up here in Thunder Bay I'd be shocked if the Liberals don't win both ridings. The NDP have a slim chance in Thunder Bay Superior North based on the ground game and the Liberal in Thunder Bay Atikokan was beatable but the NDP ran a weak candidate against him (she nearly beat him before, but while she is a nice person she really isn't MPP material). Hopefully I'll get some of those NDP votes, but I suspect many will panic and go Liberal even though I'd say the Conservatives are barely more likely than I am to win here (strong anti-Conservative feelings up here).

    1. John you would be surprised how much of that anti-Conservative, in this case anti-Hudak, feeling there is all over the province !!

  12. Thanks Eric for all of your work, including developing and refining the math that is behind your projections. It is good to know that there is no emotion in your projections. If things vary from your expected results remember your projections are only as good as the polls they are based on.

    You are now the "Guru" of Canadian seat projections ala Nate Silver in the US. Congratulations. I have seen your site quoted everywhere in this campaign..

  13. I would not be surprised if people get inside the polling booth today, look at the ballot and decide they cannot
    vote for Wynne, because of the mess the province is in,
    then look at Hudak and think of all the jobs that will vanish if he gets his way and then simply decide to vote
    NDP in order to not vote for the other two.
    Don't laugh, it is exactly how the Bob Rae NDP got into
    power years ago. Even the NDP were surprised at the time.

    1. I don't agree with your assessment of how Rae won in 1990. At the time, the Liberals were sacrificed to Peterson's ego and ambitions, and it should have been a straightforward victory for the PCs, who had no particular baggage to deal with. Yet they lost. They lost because people opted for a real alternative, the NDP. When the NDP (under Rae) turned out to be no better than the Liberals or Conservatives, and in the face of a media campaign attacking NDP economic and other policies (and with Mulroney on a world tour telling other nations not to invest in "socialist" Ontario), the far right, neo-Liberal Harris eventually came to power. So, it's not that people in 1990 voted NDP "in order to not vote for the other two", it was a more proactive action for which Ontarians got burned (then, burned themselves). If the NDP pull out a miracle tonight, it will indeed be a "lesser of three evils" vote, but it seems really unlikely to me.

    2. It was quite a different situation then. Rae was well-regarded and had been "in government" for two years supporting the Peterson minority coalition. The PCs were not yet the extremists they have become under Harris and Hudak. A vote for Rae was actually a positive choice, and no one was concerned about the outcome. Further, no one at all expected the Liberals to lose, whereas today there is considerable worry about what happens if they do.

      They may appear similar very superficially, but in actuality they are nothing alike. I think this is what's called "rationalization".

    3. In 1990 people did not vote for the NDP as a real alternative. People voted for the NDP because they thought Peterson was being opportunistic and Harris and the PCs had not yet demonstrated they deserved to be returned to office.

      The point being the electorate did not consciously vote for a NDP government-it was an unexpected result even among the most die-hard NDP supporters and one soon to be regretted by Ontarians.

    4. "...the electorate did not consciously vote for a NDP government..." They were just holding up their pencils and the ballots threw themselves at them? Come on, the story has always been, the NDP are unelectable - everyone's heard this, and if Ontarians were merely upset with Peterson and wanted to turf them out, they could easily have elected a PC government, maybe a minority one. But they chose to vote NDP - a majority NDP victory, and they did so knowing they were voting for something unprecedented... precisely not an 'unconscious' choice. It was unexpected, but that doesn't mean it was some kind of collective insanity.

  14. A good summary again and congratulations to Eric.

    One thing I noticed is that IVR polls have consistently clustered the NDP around 20%, while online polls have them consistently clustered around 25%. IPSOS Reid had the NDP at 30% of the vote. I'm having difficulty believing that the maximum NDP range is 25.8. Shouldn't it be at least 30%?

    Also, the NDP has shown a bounce since the debates and is featuring the debate performance prominently in their ads, whereas the Liberal ads are vigorously courting the NDP/Lib swing vote by attacking Hudak. This suggests that both parties take that bounce seriously.

    The Abacus poll shows that the negative opinion of both Hudak and Wynn have increased during the campaign to about 45%, whereas Horwath's has remained constant at around 30%. That would be consistent with an NDP bounce and erosion of the PC + Liberal vote. I'd say that given the size of the Liberal/NDP swing vote, that this will be at the expense of the Liberals.

    I've seen these late inning rallies in B.C,. Alberta, and Quebec throw a spanner in the works of close elections like this. I think it's because whatever dynamic is causing this (e.g. news of the debates) takes a while to make it through the population and will continue to do so until election day.

    So subjectively taking these factors in account, I'd subjectively adjust Eric's projection:

    Popular vote:
    PC 35%
    Lib 33%
    NDP 27%

    PC 40
    Libs 39
    NDP 28

    1. Using your predicted popular vote, my simulator would give me:

      43 PC
      42 OLP
      22 NDP

      Wow... well... The NDP is in a tough position if 27% of the vote barely gets them 20% of the seats. And you could say the PC is too with 2% more votes and only one more seat than the OLP, which could probably change depending on close races.

    2. I agree, I see a similar thing. the IVR polls seem to be missing NDP voters which is usually not the case, and have a high Green... my guess is the internet polls are doing a better job this election given their static responder pool which probably has more stable response. I wonder if it has to do with an uninspired election and low level of voter conviction on any party... because your result would be an uninspired result.

  15. Just a quick reminder. Be ready for a late night!! Polls don't close till 9 PM and I suspect numbers aren't really going to come till at least 10 PM.

    1. Based on the polls, I don't think anyone's going to bed before midnight at the earliest ....

    2. No they usually come in quite quickly, they'll start trickling in within about 10-15 minutes.

  16. So if the PCs lose tonight, as you've outlined is a very strong possibility, is this Tim's last night as leader of the Progressive Conservatives? What of Andrea? Should make for some interesting fodder regardless of outcome, especially as they all try and spin it as something positive.

    1. If the Tories lose Hudak will resign as leader. If the Liberals lose Wynne will resign and if Horwath loses seats and a substantial part of the popular vote she will resign. I think it a fairly safe prediction that come the 42nd Ontario general election 2/3 party leaders will be new.

  17. Honestly I'm going to be so pleased to see these ultra-right, Tea Party, types with major egg on their faces. Delightful.

  18. Eric thank you for all your hard work. Really appreciated by all of us I think.

  19. Peter a warning - although we are on the same side here - don't count your chickens until they are hatched. Hudak could turn out to be the winner tonight.

    Of all the people that will vote for Hudak tonight I'm sure many of them will be holding their noses just as I am with the OLP. I consider them the best of the bad choices we have.

    We have not had someone like "Shadow" who worked the board for 2011 federal election. For the most part commentators here have been very respectful. Let's keep it that way.

    Eric is there any way you can open up the board tonight so we can comment while watching the results?

    1. I'm really put off by these ultra-right Conservative "God is on our side" types Earl. Sorry but I'm not able to swallow their BS.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. ha ha ha... I remember what you posted here. Thank god for revisionist history.

    2. to be clear : your prediction of a strong PC majority...

    3. What I posted was a prediction not revisionist history! It is sad if you do not understand the difference.

      Why do you always insult others chirumenga? Are you incapable of civilised don't debate!

      Please post under your real name and then we'll have a party I can assure you!

    4. The revisionist history was your deleting the post to cover up your error...

      as for real names...

    5. I deleted the comment (as is my right) because I had previously made a comment on an older thread and I saw no reason to duplicate predictions.

      Once again without knowing the facts you level insults. Is it because insulting others make you feel better about yourself?

      It is pretty sad in my opinion but, I take the insults as a complement and recognition that your are unable to win the argument based on reasoned debate and the facts at hand.

    6. Let's just move along now.

  21. I'm very curious to see how the different election prediction methods fare this election. With the help of a few friends, I've put together a spreadsheet that compares the different predictions I've seen online. It also includes a few methods to evaluate who is the most accurate (I'm partial to the Root Mean Square Deviation as the bench mark).

    1. So, as I'm looking at it, Eric has the second most accurate prediction, after Forum. And if Michael Prue pulls through (right now he's down 96 botes with 3 polls still out) Eric's will become the most accurate.

    2. Wow, you already made my post mortem, thanks! XD I'll analyze my numbers and see corrections I can make. The first one seems to be the inclusion of byelections. I'll make a "new" projections and see how wrong I would have been (using wrong numbers, I'll have to be) and I have a feeling I'll be much closer (aroud Eric's numbers). Already, with the actual results, I would have gotten 57-31-19, which is quite close, and considering I already know of 2 PC seats that would move NDP due to byelections, that would make it very good. Anyway, I know this was more or less a failure, so expect me to make changes and explain what they are and how the new method would have fared.

    3. I'm a bit stumped. After including the byelections, I would have gotten better results. I had 19 mistakes, which would bring me down to 16. Then, inputing the good numbers, I'd be left with 11 mistakes, 9 of them within the margin of error. But, and that's a big but, I'd project a OLP minority of 53 seats... With something like 4 seats within 1% of being won by them, so a very close call. If I ignore the by elections and input the actual numbers, I get 15 mistakes, which is worse, but I'd poject a OLP majority. I wonder how to proceed from here...

  22. ½ hour after the polls close the Libs lead by a decent margin and a possible majority !!

  23. 9:30 PM
    Elected and Leading

    Lib 56

    PC 30

    NDP 19

    Remember 54 gives majority !

  24. CBC has called for the Liberals

  25. Kathleen Wynne has been re-elected at 9:45 PM

    Leading and Elected

    Lib 58

    PC 28

    NDP 20

  26. 10:00 PM

    Leading And Elected

    Lib 58

    PC 27

    NDP 21

  27. CBC Decision Desk says

    Liberal Majority Govt !!

  28. I think now would be a decent time to point to all those comments from people accusing the pollsters of Liberal bias...Its really past time to give that a rest. You know who you are....

    Generally I think your model did well Eric considering the polling information you had to work with. The vote poll here is clearly different from the pollster information. So it will be interesting to hear if it was an oversampling of certain groups or if it was a lot of folks changing their minds when they had ballot in hand

    1. Seriously, there's been a lot of lashing out at pollsters lately since they haven't been publishing results friendly to Hudak's crowd. I look forward to hearing BC Voice of Conspiracy's sage analysis on this one.

    2. Reality has a liberal bias?

  29. Like I said a few days ago, in Eastern Ontario the PCs were getting over-polled in the rural ridings. Except for Lisa MacLeod's riding, the PCs have been trounced in Ottawa.

  30. 10:45 PM

    Elected and Leading

    Lib 59

    PC 27

    NDP 21

    And Hudak has resigned as leader bede !! Plus Wynne was re-elected and a Liberal majority govt has been declared !

    1. Thanks Peter.

      Believe it or not I have T.V. and the Internet.

      Too bad for Ontario their credit rating and economy are likely to suffer. Time for the West, Quebec and the Maritimes to let Ontario sink on its own. I for one am tired of paying for Ontario's largesse and spendthrift way. Great for Alberta of course. Alberta is in need of a cheap labour source, with Ontario firmly on the down slope Alberta's next generation of temporary foreign workers will emanate from Upper Canada.

    2. Thanks for contributing.

      I look forward to continuing to live in a city and province that will actually invest in infrastructure for the foreseeable future. Time to reduce gridlock with high speed rail as the GTA continues to rise as one of the top 5 urban agglomerations on this continent.

    3. Here in Ottawa, the 3 area ridings that the PCs could have picked up but remained solidly Liberal was I belive due to Tim visiting Ottawa about a week before the vote and saying ''no'' to phase 2 of light rail only to come back 2 days before the vote saying 'we support it but not until the books are balanced but we somehow have money for subways in the GTA even with the deficit' went over very badly here. Ottawa deserves better and the Liberals have been very good to this city in terms of infrastructure and I think this shows in the vote result here last night.

      The GTA and the City of TO itself both dealt another resounding ''No'' to tea partyism.

      The BIGGEST mistake I think the PCs made was ousting John Tory as leader after only 1 election. He's a centrist "Red Tory" and given the chance I think would have fared much better than Hudak in tonight's election (especially in the GTA), but the PCs never gave him a chance as they still think they're the ''natually governing party of Ontario'' just like the Libs until very recently still thought they were the ''naturally governing party of Canada''. I hope Tory becomes mayor of Toronto. Chow for example will kill any chance of the runway extension for Porter at the Island airport, something that would be of great benefit for your city.

    4. YOWzaa I think that was a major boo-boo by Hudak. Still given the other fubars he made not exactly unexpected. eh?

  31. BC Voice of Conspiracy, I'd love to hear your reasoned analysis of tonights results.

  32. I think we're pretty close to the point where we can officially call this a massacre .... of the Conservatives! Holy smoking wow!!!!

    1. And who predicted this earlier today ??

  33. Cons getting less than 30 seats is shocking... They will end up with just 5-6 more than NDP. Unbelievably inefficient vote.

    Oh, I look forward to the shellacking Ipsos will be getting over the next few weeks. Their likely voter model ended up being a complete disaster.

    1. Well truth be told they all missed this one, Ipsos, clearly missed the mark (despite the partisan fawning and you know who you are posters). The other pollsters didnt quite get this right either, they had a much closer race than the final result.

    2. The issue I have with Ipsos is their likely voter model consistently showed Conservatives as the most committed voters voters. That didn't materialize at all.

  34. Libs by 7%. Sort of within the general range of some polls. Nasty that Ontario delivers majority governments with less than 40% of the vote.

    Horwath ought to resign too. This was her election after all.


    1. Except that outside of Toronto, Horwath seems to be playing well. She's got three more seat pickups to her credit, on top of the four by-election gains, all of which are holds for tonight.

      Problem for the NDP is that in Toronto, a sizable part of the NDP base is disaffected. Two incumbents down and another two close calls, is a measure of that.

      The challenge for the NDP will be to reconcile the priorities of two disparate parts of its base, one in Toronto and the other in medium-sized industrial cities.

    2. Christopher,

      I agree Horwath should resign. The NDP gained seats and popular vote but, went from a position of influence to a position of opposition insignificance in the next Legislative Assembly. I do not think she will lead the ONDP into the next election, my prediction is that she will run federally in 2015.


      In a way the BC NDP has the exact same problem. A large policy and philosophical gap exists between "rural Dippers" whose economies are based on natural resources and "urban Dippers" of Greater Victoria and Metro Vancouver. Generally speaking "rural Dippers" are pro-pipeline, LNG and resource development whereas, "urban Dippers are anti-pipeline, anti-LNG and lukewarm towards resource development. By appointing John Horgan as leader it was hoped by many he would be able to reconcile the two factions. He is only a month into the job so I can't can say how good or bad a job he is doing but, both sides thus far appear to be happy with the choice.

  35. The polls actually just about nailed it:,_2014#Opinion_polls

    Consensus of last 6 polls (June 11 +12)
    Libs 36.5
    PC 31.9
    NDP 23.8
    Green 5.8

    Results (as of this time)
    Libs 38.2
    PC 31.2
    NDP 24.2
    Green 4.9

    1. Ipsos didn't fare very well.

    2. Ekos just systemically over-estimates the greens

  36. And, strangely, it looks (at a quick glance) like everyone's eligible voter numbers come closer to the actual results than do anyone's likely voter numbers. That's going to require some probing ...

  37. So with 38% support the Liberals get 100% of the power for the next 4 years thanks to a 'be afraid of the big bad Hudak' campaign which the PC's fell right into. Just the way the system works.

    I really hope someday we get a new system-perhaps a simple ranked ballot where you put in your #1/2/3 choices and if your #1 choice is last then your vote shifts to #2 automatically until we have someone with 50%+1 of the votes. Then no more 'strategic voting' and the fear factor the Liberals used would no longer work.

    I'd also like to win the lottery and shave a few years off my age.

    1. Hey, the Liberals have promised to allow ranked ballot voting in cities (a promise I really hope they keep):

      If people get used to ranked ballots at the municipal level, maybe we'll see it at the provincial level one day.

    2. John I think there are some places outside Canada which do this ranked ballot thing. See what you can find?

    3. John and Peter,

      Both Eire (Republic of Ireland) and Australia have a preferential ballot. Although majorities are fairly uncommon in Eire, they are common place in Australia.

  38. One early note: model did quite well, accurately projecting 91% of ridings and IDing the potential winner in 94% of them. That is the second best performance the site has done, after Manitoba.

    1. It probably would have done even better if you'd ignored the likely voter count and gone with the traditional eligible voter count.

  39. wow other than the wonky Green numbers (which they always over estimate), Ekos' likely model did extremely well. i'm sad about that fact, but kudos.

  40. another positive note in general is that voter participation was up over last time. Still not stellar but at least headed in the right direction now.

  41. Pollsters seem to get it wrong about half of the time in Canadian provincial elections. But the way of dealing with the numbers also needs a lot of work. With the track record of bad polling already known, the lowest of low projection in popular vote in your model for the PC still being higher than their actual vote means your model needs to be completely scrapped.

    1. Completely scrapped!

      Hard to second guess the polls when they all had the PCs at between 35% and 37%. In this case, the likely voter models were the problem. I'll post what the projection would have been without the LV model tomorrow.

      Not sure what I will do in the future in terms of LV models vs. standard polls. Ontario would suggest ignoring LV models, but that is counter-intuitive.

    2. It's actually the selection of likely voter data over eligible voter data that did the model in. The consensus eligible voter data actually nailed the NDP and PC numbers.

    3. Not too sure I follow, jimf. The biggest source of error in predicting this election was in the actual polling numbers. Projections are based on polls. There's nothing necessarily wrong with the model. If you put the wrong inputs (polls) into the model, you can't expect to get the right seat prediction. We're still in the wild west with evolving polling methods. That's where most of the work needs to be done, IMO. Even so, tonight wasn't a total miss by the pollsters at all. Some performed better than others. But, at this point, I don't think we can play favorites.

      Keep up the amazing work, Eric. You're great!

    4. Could the extreme polarization by one of the candidates goosed the vote share of the other 2 parties?

    5. In terms of popular vote, the average of the final 6 polls just about nailed it, but the seat projects were way off. I was very surprised last night. I was fully expecting a Liberal win but was shocked that it turned out to be a majority. I guess the PCs now have a lot of time to carefully examine who they are and what kind of leader they want for 2018.

    6. Actually, Eric, you consistently weighted Ipsos too heavily, and that skewed everything. Had you switched your weighting of Ipsos and Ekos, you would have nailed it. So the questions are: why did Ipsos get this election consistently wrong, by a large amount (right to the end, their last poll showed a substantial move towards the Liberals, but they still had a 6% PC likely voter plurality); and what made you give more weight to their numbers?

      I'm not being snarky, but reading these boards gives plenty of evidence that almost everyone allows some degree of rationalization (or a huge whomping tonne of it in some cases) to creep into the decisions they make about whose numbers are better.

    7. I weighed Ipsos according to my standard rules for weighing a poll: sample size, date, and track record.

      My model is based on a set of rules, and I don't change them based on my gut or mid-stream.

    8. "I weighed Ipsos according to my standard rules for weighing a poll: sample size, date, and track record."

      I believe some other poll aggregators look at the prior record of the polling company (i.e., their predictions relative to the outcomes) and uses that as an adjustment factor. It might be worth considering.

    9. I already do, that is what is meant by 'track record'.

  42. Hmm... If we had taken ipsos ried out of the equation, would the projection be more similar to the actual result?

  43. I Told you, I am skeptical about Ipsos Reid! They had the worst result among all pollsters. Perhaps its time to ignore their federal pollings and especially their likely voter model.

  44. Eric, I'm a long time reader but a first time poster. I have a few intuitions regarding why I think the polls, and as a result your model (although still fairly accurate), generally under-estimated the Liberals, and over-estimated the PCs. These intuitions also led me to post my election prediction on FB yesterday before polls close. My prediction on FB was: Liberals 54-58, PCs 32-36, NDP 15-20. Clearly, I also over-estimated the PCs and under-estimated the NDP.

    My intuitions are as follows: (1) the polls generally only report decided voter numbers. I think conservative-minded people are more likely to be decided, because, well, they only had one choice. Progressive-minded people, on the other hand, arguably had three choices. As a result, decided voter counts were likely to over-estimate the PCs because progressive-minded voters were more likely to be undecided. This intuition was reflected, as I recall, in some of the polling results that looked at who the undecided voters might vote for. As I recall, there were relatively few undecided voters who would have considered voting PC, but significantly more who would have considered voting Liberal. I think this dynamic was at play in 2011, too, but this time the Liberals entered election day, I think, in a stronger overall position than in 2011.

    (2) the psychology of political orientation. Conservative minded people tend to value loyalty and obedience more than progressive-minded people. As a result, in my view, conservative-minded people are more likely to identify as a "decided" voter (loyalty), and are also more likely to be identified as a "likely" voter (obedience - voting is a duty that a good citizen ought to perform). I think this caused some likely voter models, especially that of Ipsos, to be off. Ipsos, as I recall, asked voters something like whether they were definitely going to vote. I think any likely voter model that relies on voters' subjective perception about their likelihood to vote will overestimate conservative numbers, because conservatives, I believe, are more likely to say they will definitely vote, no matter what. I think the EKOS likely voter model, which as I recall used objective factors like age, education, etc., is and was much more reliable.

    Anyway, I wanted to share with you these intuitions: the Liberals had a lot more upside amongst undecided voters; conservative-minded voters were more likely to be decided because (a) they had only one choice, and (b) they are loyal to that choice; and, the likely voter models that rely on voters' subjective sense of the likelihood that they will vote will, because of the psychology of political orientation, over-estimate conservative results and underestimate progressive results.

    As a result of the above intuitions, combined with the aggregated polling results from your website, I went into the election thinking the PCs really were a long-shot to win a minority. I thought the Liberals had at least a 66% chance at a majority, but admittedly, I wouldn't have been surprised by a minority.

    1. Interesting observations that intuitively make sense and would appear to be borne out based on these Ontario results. However, in most Canadian elections, it's usually the conservative party that is under-estimated in final polls.

  45. I also meant to add: I really like your site and I think you perform a valuable service!

  46. Ekos was the most accurate pollster this time I think.

  47. I would like to add my voice to the chorus of those thanking Éric for his fine work.

    I am also wondering where all of the conspiracy theorists are, you know 'polling firm x is run by y who worked for party z'.

    1. Not currently posting on the forums because of their fear of getting called out for their posts immediately if they post anything. I've been trolling them hard in every post but so far nothing yet.

  48. Let's think about a couple of things re this election. First because of the record of Mike Harris trying to promote austerity in this province is a real loser. Regardless of the realities the public simply won't buy it !!

    Secondly by using a US Republican platform mode that included masses of austerity and cutting simply would not be acceptable here. Just as an example the 100,000 job cuts.

    Actually if done properly in terms of platform this would be saleable. To my knowledge only once did Hudak say what he was going to do. Why didn't he promote this far less vicious austerity approach??

    You don't fire or layoff 100,000 !! All you do is don't replace those who retire or go back to the private sector. Did he promote this approach ?? No bloody way, it was always hammer, hammer, hammer. In the end costing the PC's 10 seats and Hudak his job. Justified IMO


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