Premier Dalton McGuinty's governing party has 41% voter support against 36% for the Conservatives, compared with a seven-point lead in an Aug. 24 Ipsos Reid poll. The New Democratic and Green parties trail at 17% and 6%, respectively.
The early numbers translate to a predicted Liberal majority government of 55 seats out of 107, according to a model based on the past five publicly released polls. The Tories are currently projected to take 40 seats, with 12 for the NDP.
Why I remain cautious, in saying the school issue hasn't hurt Tory:
The Ipsos Reid telephone poll was conducted with a random sample of 801 respondents between Aug. 30 and Sept. 8. The results are considered accurate within 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
I can't remember the last time I saw a poll with a ten day sample window, particularly in a fluid environment during an election. Important to note, the Tory "creationism" gaffe broke on September 5, which means the vast majority of this poll was taken prior to the fallout. You can't draw an definitive conclusions from this poll because the timing doesn't do justice to all the bad press Tory received. While the poll canvasses opinion on faith-based schools, finding weak support for Tory's initiative, that conclusion doesn't necessarily translate to the events of last week specifically.
I'm somewhat suspicious of the long sample time, especially with a 800 respondent total, which amounst to a paltry 80 people polled per day. I think it best to wait for another poll, before anyone draws any conclusions about the impact of Tory's gaffe, because there is a slight odor to the methodology with this one.
Probably too early to say. In addition one has to see what comes on the campaign trail. If McGuinty makes a gaffe, it could pretty much cancel Tory's gaffe out. In addition the seat projections seem to almost match the federal ones as the Liberals got 54 seats federally and the Tories 40 seats. However, I highly doubt all ridings that went Tory federally will go Tory provincially and likewise some that went Liberal federally might go Tory provincially. For example, I cannot see St. Catharines, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, or Essex going Tory provincially. Likewise I cannot see Elizabeth Witmer losing her seat despite the fact it went solidly Liberal federally. And I suspect the PCs will do better in the 905 belt than their federal counterparts, but not dominate rural Ontario to quite the same extent. Although I wouldn't be surprised if the PCs win no seats in the 416, I think their chances are a lot better than for the federal Tories.
You have a really good handle on the local ridings :)
Note: Ernie Eves won 35 per cent of the popular vote and ended up with 24 seats. John Tory is doing just as well as Eves now.
Will Tory do better than 24 seats? Yes, given the vote splitting. The Dippers will do better and that will prevent some tactical voting which helped McGuinty in 2003.
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