Last week, Forum released a poll for the next Ontario general election. Andrea Horwath’s political career seemed to be dead in the water a year ago, with very low polling throughout the 2014 campaign, but she bounced back in time to hold onto the NDP’s seats in that election. Now, her party is leading the pack with 35%. The Progressive Conservatives under relatively new leader Pat Brown follow closely with 32%, and the governing Liberals under Kathleen Wynne trail at 26%. Mike Schreiner’s Greens bring up the rear with 5%.
Forum projected 45 New Democrats, 35 Progressive Conservatives, and 27 Liberals with their model.
Here is the seat projection using my model:
Eastern Ontario: 37% Progressive Conservative (7 seats), 32% New Democratic (4 seats), 27% Liberal (3 seats), 3% Green (0 seats)
Toronto*: 36% New Democratic (10 seats), 31% Liberal (7 seats), 28% Progressive Conservative (5 seats), 5% Green (0 seats) (22 seats)
905: 39% New Democratic (18 seats), 30% Progressive Conservative (8 seats), 24% Liberal (6 seats), 5% Green (0 seats) (32 seats)
Southwest Ontario: 41% New Democratic (15 seats), 29% Progressive Conservative (5 seats), 21% Liberal (2 seats), 8% Green (0 seats) (22 seats)
Northern Ontario: 43% Progressive Conservative (12 seats), 29% Liberal (3 seats), 22% New Democratic (2 seats), 4% Green (0 seats) (17 seats)
Total: 35% New Democratic (49 seats), 32% Progressive Conservative (37 seats), 26% Liberal (21 seats), 5% Green (0 seats)
*The 416 and GTA results were combined, since I had the numbers available to me.
With my numbers, the New Democrats are predicted to be five seats short of a majority with 49 seats, the Progressive Conservatives increasing their Opposition caucus to 37, and the Liberals losing 64% of their caucus, being reduced to 21 seats. Interestingly enough, it seems that the Liberals and NDP have mostly switched places.
What are the implications of the results of this poll? Well, first it should be noted that, while there has been sparse polling in the last few months in Ontario, and understandably so, considering we’re three years out from an election, Forum is the only poll showing an NDP victory. The rest are showing the Progressive Conservatives ahead.
However, though, assuming that Forum is correct, it showcases a pattern that may dictate the long-term of Ontario politics. The Liberals and NDP appear to be dipping from the same pool of voters, and when one party falls out of favor, those same voters move to another, save for the cores of each. Assuming the track record of these parties in elections continues, this electoral bloc could be decisive for some time. There appears to be a conundrum for the Progressive Conservatives: even with major discontent with the government, they still hit a ceiling of around a third of Ontario voters. They may face perpetual Opposition status unless they can get the Liberal and NDP vote to split in their favor.