A party is rarely as low as its lowest poll or as high as its highest poll, which is why you need to track the progress of all professional company polls to get an accurate picture of the landscape. Many readers were quick to declare the PC plummeting when two polls measured its support at 34%, or, conversely, to announce that the Liberals were soaring when Innovative Research measured Party support. Ontario Liberal at 30% two weeks ago.
However, as of Tuesday afternoon, 338Canada’s weighted average measures Ford’s PC support at 38% ± 4% province-wide, comfortably in the majority territory.
— Ontario Liberals: The PLO is at 27% on average with a confidence interval of ±3% and could very well take second place in the popular vote, ahead of the New Democratic Party of Ontario.
However, as we will see below, the The PLO vote is rather ineffective below the 26-27% markalthough he becomes very effective above 28-29%, as it should be competitive in several suburban Toronto neighborhoods. This means that even 2-3 points above its current level could make all the difference. However, with the current numbers, the PLO could finish third in the number of seats.
— Ontario New Democrats: The ONP is taking 23% on average in the province and should be able to recapture many (but not all) of its strongholds, particularly in southwestern Ontario. Nevertheless, expect the NDP to suffer losses on election night, maintaining the role of Official Opposition could prove difficult, especially if voter turnout is low (ONDP polls are the most raised with younger voters, who are historically less likely to vote).
— The Green Party of Ontario: Polls show the Green Party of Ontario getting 5-7% of the vote.
The winner of the election is not determined by the popular vote, but by the seats, of course. As such, the PC’s 11-point lead over the Liberals makes a huge difference At the time of this writing, the PCs are favorites to win 79 of the legislature’s 124 seats, well above the 63-seat threshold for a majority.
Since several ridings are randomly projected (24 as of Tuesday morning), the seat projections contain a fair amount of uncertainty. A modest query error or unexpected regional variation could sway the totals all over the place, and that’s why the confidence interval slices remain wide – not a bug, but a feature. High uncertainty at the local level means high uncertainty in the seat projections.
We see from these figures that the PC is favored to win the most seats, and therefore either stay in government (in the most likely case of a majority) or at least win the plurality of seats, which according to our Westminster parliamentary system, afford Ford and his PC the first chance to win the confidence of the legislature to attempt to form a government.
Running the 338Canada model for 100,000 simulations, the PC wins over 63 seats in 87% of all simulations, or about 7 out of 8 times.
So a second consecutive Ford majority is not a done deal, but it is the most likely scenario.
What would it take for the ONDP and the liberals to reduce Ford to a minority?
First, the PC should underperform its polls, as it is almost impossible for the PC to drop below 63 seats with 38% or more of the popular vote.
Second, the NDP should hold firm in its historic strongholds in southwestern Ontario (and, to a lesser extent, northern Ontario).
Third, the Ontario Liberals would need to outperform their polls to at least 30% or close to it, results that would likely send several GTA/905 seats back to the Liberals and away from the PC.
Neither the NDP nor the Liberals can do it alone with current levels of support. The obvious animosity between these parties does not help. In fact, CBC’s Mike Crawley wrote, “Ford will waltz to another majority unless the votes go to the party best positioned to defeat the PC candidate in every constituency where the PCs are vulnerable.
There is also a real possibility that the PC vote may be slightly underestimated – by a modest 2 to 3 points – since polls indicate that the PC is dominating voting intentions among older voters. According to Mainstreet Research, PC leads the 50-64 age bracket by 17 points and the 65+ age bracket by 10 points. Other recent polls have also shown the same trends: Leger and the Angus Reid Institute measured the PC ahead by a crushing 23 points among voters aged 55 and older.
If so, it would be entirely plausible that the PC would achieve a majority of more than 85 seats, leaving only crumbs for its rivals.
Polls don’t predict the future, of course. They capture a snapshot of the very recent past. And sometimes, but not often in recent elections in Canada, the polls can miss the mark. This is why we must remember that high support in the polls is only theoretical support. Voters still have to vote. And voters can sometimes be unpredictable.
Details of this screening are available on the 338Canada Ontario page. To find your home district, use this list of the 124 provincial districts or use the regional links below: