Philippe J. Fournier: A new poll shows that recent events have come at a considerable cost in supporting the PC, putting the party just ahead of the Ontario NDP and the Liberals.
After a tumultuous spring marked by a deadly third wave of the Ontario pandemic, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party has taken a substantial hit in popular support according to a new Mainstreet Research poll of Ontario voters.
When Mainstreet took the pulse of Ontario voters for the last time in February, Doug Ford enjoyed a crushing 18-point lead over his rivals, with a level of support that even surpassed the results of the party’s majority victory in 2018. week, however, Mainstreet measures that the PC has yielded remarkable support since then, with the Ontario Liberals and the Ontario NDP gaining ground in the horse race.
Among all respondents, PC leads with 26 percent support. The NDP and the Liberals are tied for second at 23 and 22 percent respectively. The Greens are a distant fourth at 5 percent. However, no less than 20 percent of those surveyed say they are undecided. Taking into account the survey’s margin of error of ± 3 percent (19 out of 20 times), these numbers indicate a statistical tie between the three main parties.
Among determined and inclined respondents, the CP advances with 33 percent of the support throughout the province. Comparing this result to the last time Mainstreet was on the field in February, it’s a 10-point drop for the PC, well outside the poll’s margin of error.
The NDP and Liberals are statistically tied for second at 28 and 27 percent, respectively. Since last fall, there has been significant disagreement in polls about the position of these parties: Leger The Ontario poll had the NDP five points ahead of the Liberals, but the most recent polls from Abacus facts, Innovative research Y Campaign research all had the Liberals versus the NDP by margins ranging from 3 to 14 points (See full list of Ontario polls at this page). The 338 Canada Ontario Model he now has both parties side by side just below the 30 percent mark.
Interestingly, Mainstreet measured a narrowing, but still significant, gender divide in support for the party. Among male voters, Ford’s CP leads with 37 percent, a comfortable 11-point margin over Liberals. Among female voters, the three parties are stuck in a statistical tie, with the NDP holding a narrow three-point lead over the PC and the Liberals. In comparison with Previous Survey of Mainstreet in Ontario, the CP has fallen 12 points among men and 8 points among women, while both the NDP and the Liberals have gained ground in similar proportions with male and female voters.
Regionally, the Liberals and the NDP are tied for first place in Toronto with 33 and 32 percent respectively, while the PC ranks third with 24 percent. On the GTA, the PC leads with 35 percent, the Liberals are close behind with 29 percent, and the NDP ranks third with 22 percent. On Southwestern OntarioWe see a close race between the PC (34 percent) and the NDP (32 percent), while the Liberals are a distant third at 19 percent. Obviously, we must be careful with regional subsamples due to their greater margin of error.
We add this latest survey to the 338 Electoral Model of Canada Ontario. Considering how close the top three parties are currently and how volatile the results have been of late (from a liberal five-point lead from Innovative research to an 8-point PC cable from Campaign research only in the last month), the settlement projections contain high levels of uncertainty. These large confidence intervals are not a model error, but rather the direct result of uncertain data and several projected three-way runs throughout the province.
Doug Ford’s PC leads with an average of 54 projected seats, nine seats below the 63-seat threshold for a majority at Queen’s Park. As mentioned above, the bell-shaped 95% confidence interval of this trim projection is wide, ranging from the high 60s (in the plausible scenario where a split of votes between the liberals and the NDP gives virtually all three-way races to the PC) to the high 30s (if the liberals or the NDP take the majority of these closed races). However, the PC is still projected as the favorite to win the most seats if general elections were to be held this week.
The NDP and Liberals are statistically tied for second with projected averages of 36 and 33 seats, respectively. However, while the NDP has a higher floor of seats than the Liberal Party, the ceiling of the NDP is considerably lower than that of the Liberals (see the confidence interval on the right in the graph). In short, the NDP has more safe seats, but the Liberal Party is competitive in more constituencies across the province. Testing different scenarios with the model, we see that adding or removing two or three points from the NDP does not alter the projection of your seat much, but a similar turn for or against the liberals completely turns the liberal projection on its head, from the half. -adolescents in the worst case to win a plurality of seats in the best case.
The next general election in Ontario is scheduled for June 2022, so these numbers above are not a prediction of the outcome, but rather a snapshot of the current landscape. In early March, the numbers indicated that Ford’s support remained strong after a year into the pandemic, and the PC was projected as the favorite in a landslide (I even wrote that Ford enjoyed “unwavering support”) . However, data released by various polling companies in the past month does confirm that the events of April and May have unquestionably hurt Ford and the PC.
However, will Ontario voters change their opinion of their elected leaders once the province (and the country) is almost fully vaccinated? Will Ford manage to weather this latest storm and return to majority territory once the economy (potentially) starts to roll into full throttle in the fall? We don’t know these answers, but they certainly could shape the coming year in Ontario politics.
However, a hypothetical question that will no doubt arise as we approach the 2022 Ontario campaign is this: What if the PC wins a plurality, but not a majority seats at Queen’s Park next year as indicated by this projection? Could Ford win the trust of the legislature? And, despite the obvious animosity between the Liberals and the NDP, would those parties put aside their differences and agree to a temporary, albeit fragile, coalition to topple Ford?
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Mainstreet Research conducted its survey from May 15-16, 2021, among a sample of 1,047 potential Ontario voters using IVR technology. This probabilistic survey has a margin of error of ± 3 percent, 19 out of 20. You can find the full report and tables. here.