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article imageNDP momentum continues in Ontario election campaign

By Ken Hanly     May 26, 2018 in Politics
Toronto - The NDP has now not only surpassed in the polls the reigning Liberals but has also closed the huge lead the Progressive Conservatives had at the beginning of the campaign.
In a recent Digital Journal article an Abacus poll showed that the New Democratic Party (NDP) was neck-in-neck with the Progressive Conservatives (PCs). However, the CBC Ontario election poll-tracker shows that poll averages as of Friday put the NDP marginally ahead of the PCs.
Ontario election poll tracker May 25th
On Friday the NDP vote was 36.0 up 0.2 percent from the last update. The PCs were at just 35.9 a further decline of 1.5 percent from last time. The Liberals were already in decline but now are at 21 percent down just 0.1 percent. The Greens were up to 5.5 percent up 1.2 per cent. Others were at 1.6 percent up 0.2.
The NDP still comes up short when it comes to seats. The PCs are set to win 70 to only 51 for the NDP. The Liberals are faring even worse with just 3 seats. The Greens will win no seats nor will other parties.
The PCs have a much better distribution of support in terms of winning seats. They could win even if the NDP should win the popular vote. However, the PCs appear to be losing their advantage as the NDP has moved ahead in Toronto and now lead is southwestern Ontario and northern Ontario. The Liberal party can at most hope for a few seats around Toronto and Ottawa.
However, the probabilities for now are very much in favor of the PCs. The probability of the PCs winning a majority is still 77.4 percent and of winning the most seats but not a majority is 8.4 percent. The NDP has just a 12.9 percent chance of winning the most seats. The Liberals have a minuscule 0.5 percent chance of doing so. However if the NDP momentum keeps up things could change drastically before the election as they have so far. The election is on June 7th.
Christo Alvalis of the Dept. of History University of Toronto says NDP could win
Christo Aivalis is an SSHRC Postdocoral Fellow at the U of T. Aivalis notes that the momentum is right now with the NDP and its leader Andrea Horwath. He asks what is behind the momentum.
He claims there are three main factors. NDP leader Horwath is far more popular than either Ford of the PCs or Wynne of the Liberals. Recent data shows Ford with popularity of minus 20 but Wynne fares worse with minus 47. Horwath, however has a positive rating of 29. Horwath's ratings are on the way up while Ford's are trending even further downward.
A second factor is the NDP platform which is ambitious in scope and has also been costed and vetted by a former parliamentary budget officer. In contrast neither the PC's nor the Liberals have yet released a platform. The PCs in particular have released few details about what their specific objectives are. They recently promised a platform to be released a couple of days before the election.
The Tory promises are major tax cuts, without cutting jobs and services since they will find billions in efficiencies they claim. This has led critics to claim that actually the PC government will in effect create the largest deficit of all three main parties even more than the NDP which has made clear how much their program will costs.
A third factor is the strength of leader Horwath in debates. Many see her as the sharpest debater and as offering a positive message while Ford and Wynne engage in constant bickering. In contrast with Ford and Wynne, Horwath appears to speak without notes.
The advantage of the Conservatives
Aivalis notes what was shown in the poll tracker distribution of seats, that the PC vote is much more efficient in garnering seats than that of the NDP. The PCs are also heavily supported by older voters who tend to turn out to vote as compared to younger people. The PCs are also strong in the Greater Toronto Area where there are many seats.
Aivalis thinks that if the NDP momentum continues they may be able to overcome these present PC advantages. The PCs are also being dogged by scandal.
The NDP may be helped by strategic voting in which Greens and some Liberals decide to vote NDP to stop the election of Ford and the PCs. The NDP may even switch some PC voters as the Ford promises could cause a large deficit.
As we get closer to June 7th perhaps the situation will become clearer but at present the PCs seem to be losing more and more percentage of the vote.
More about Ontario PCs, Ontario NDP, Ontario election
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