Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ontario, Ontario, Ontario

The lastest batch of polls show differing results, but the general theme of a volatile and tight race in Ontario is clear. NANOS brings the gap down to 4%, Decima raises it 10%, and Ipsos weighs in with a survey that may already be outdated, the race at 5%:

Both Decima and NANOS paint the same picture in Ontario, the Conservatives staging a late comeback, the Greens falling off, but not to the Liberals benefit. I've argued previously that a tight national race favors the Liberals, due to regional breakdowns, but that isn't really the case anymore with NANOS in particular, the Ontario numbers, if they were too hold, translate to a clear Conservative victory.

The two pollsters give the Liberals a real edge in Atlantic Canada, but the numbers tend to jump around widely, so a dose of caution. Still, better way up, then way down, psychologically anyway. Same trends in Quebec, with the exception of the NDP, Decima has them nowhere, NANOS still quite competitive (a La Presse poll today put them at 13%).

It all comes down to Ontario, where we see no signs of NDP erosion yet, the support quite strong and consistent. As I said earlier, the Greens are fading (Ipsos agrees), but it hasn't helped the Liberals in the least. The trend is Conservatives coming back, Liberals stagnant or fading somewhat, NDP vote stubborn. Not exactly what I'd like to see at this stage, but then again, the swings over the past few weeks confirm a wavering electorate, no one can claim to have cemented anything. Ontario still looks impossible to predict, many ridings may well come down to a few hundred votes, which means minor movement could translate to massive impact.

Will we see a late break?


Scott Tribe said...

Well, Ipsos's Ontario numbers show the Liberals with an 8% lead at 40% of the vote, a massive 22 point swing in a week.

I'd certainly take that lead and that percentage on election day.

ottlib said...

This election is too close to call.

The Conservatives have been running third in Atlantic Canada and Quebec for at least three straight days.

The Liberals and Conservatives have been within the regional MOE for much longer in Ontario.

In the West the Conservative support is no greater than it was in 2006.

The Liberals stand to pick up some seats in the Maritimes and Quebec. Who knows what will happen in Ontario? And the Liberals look like they will probably hang onto what they already have in the West. Although they may make a couple of pickups on Manitoba and Saskatchewan because of strong local campaigns, so they may increase their seat count there by one or two.

The Conservatives on the other hand have their current seat count in the West locked up, give or take one or two. That is a good basis but there is not much room for expanding beyond that elsewhere. I think they are dead in Quebec and the Maritimes. They are going to lose and lose big in those two regions.

So, it does come down to Ontario. For the Conservatives to win a big victory the people of Ontario will need to swing to the Conservatives in droves. I do not believe that will happen. They may take the largest number of seats but they will not sweep Ontario. Then again they may not take the largest number of seats.

Unless something really dramatic happens over the next three days we could be seeing a government where the party in government only has about 100 seats.

Gayle said...

scott - so long as people feel it is going to be a minority, they are going to park their votes with the Green and the NDP.

The risk of a majority is still there - and people need to know that.

(Of course, I subscribe to the conspiracy theory that IR actually wants Harper to have a majority, so they are fudging their numbers so he can get it through stealth...) ;)

Steve V said...


I'd take that too, but it's Ipsos ;) It can swing, that is for sure.

JimmE said...

Had a great day on the doors today, (well into Tory polls now) Dippers either coming to my candidate or "still thinking about it". Actually two long time Tories turned off by Harper, one undecided one voting Liberal. As has been said though, if folks feel "Oh good Harper won't get his majority" - the opposite is exactly what could happen.
Anyone not doing something on election day?- Call your local campaign! This is all about how good an Election Day turns out, some ridings are lost or won by 3 to 5 votes per poll!

JimmE said...

Steve, you seem to know about these things so I'll ask you:
As this is a wacky election, even Tory support seems to be all over the place in the polling, so I wonder about these opinion polls. A sample size of what 1200 souls, that's say 5 folks per riding? The polls I've been canvassing in the past two weeks were won by the Tories. Take the first five folks I spoke to, One tory, one green -who I think I've convinced to vote Liberal, and three Liberals. But if one spoke to folks on other streets, one might get 5 tories. So where does the trend come from?

Ricky Barnes said...

Gayle says - The risk of a majority is still there - and people need to know that. so long as people feel it is going to be a minority, they are going to park their votes with green and NDP

Gayle you are right about the NDP votes staying. There will not be a majority govt of any stripe however. Good talking point though, one that may have lost its edge after four straight election campaigns.

Steve V said...


I think it's pretty fluid, which is why we see these fluctation, many just aren't that invested in any of the parties.

BTW, sounds like you are doing a great job :)

JimmE said...

Steve, thanks. If we lose this riding, I will have been lied to more than I've been lied to in past elections 8-[
While I really like your blog, Mr K's blog PO'd me so much in the first week of the campaign (last time I read it) it motivated me postpone my trip to Colorado & get off my frickin arse & do what I can.

Möbius said...

The huge swings seem unrealistic to me. I made up my mind long before an election call, based on the actual party in power, and the opposition.

Are there really that many people swinging back and forth between parties, or is it just excessive polling causing voter fatigue?

Constant Vigilance said...

I don't know but I am hopeful that there is enough of that old Chretien magic left to remind Ontarians which party did things right.

Maybe Ontario can save the West from themselves again. I really don't think that if they had a government that would do everything the Reformers say they will that they would be too impressed.

Steve V said...

"The huge swings seem unrealistic to me. I made up my mind long before an election call"

You're projecting your own narrow view of the world again.

Möbius said...

I subscribe to the conspiracy theory that IR actually wants Harper to have a majority,

Sure, it's the pollster's fault.

I suspect that the Libs would be easily in minority territory now, if not for the "so-called" Green Shift.

Or even if the social spending facet of GS money had not been included, just income tax cuts. I was somewhat interested, as a middle income person who is fairly efficient, energy-wise. My tiny house, and small fuel-efficient car would have made it at least neutral for me.

Möbius said...

You're projecting your own narrow view of the world again.

I don't agree. I analysed the Liberal platform in '93 and the following election, and voted Liberal in both. I do not vote on narrow ideology, I just hate terrible policies (and corruption).

You claim you didn't vote Liberal in the last election (good for you), but what has changed your mind in this one?

Anonymous said...

Nanos's Sunday Oct. 12th numbers are the Liberals still at 32% in Ontario. This 32% number is pretty consistent with almost all the other pollsters including Strategic Counsel's mammoth Ontario sample of last Thursday. With 40 hours to go before the polls open, it's going to be pretty tough going on election night in Ontario for the Liberals.