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article imageOp-Ed: Ontario NDP catching up to leading PCs in Ontario election

By Ken Hanly     May 22, 2018 in Politics
Toronto - The NDP is closing the gap between it and the Ontario Progressive Conservatives. The change in polling has occurred despite the initially huge PC lead and the fact that the left is split between the New Democrats and Liberals.
There are just two weeks to go before the election and a new poll by Abacus puts the NDP neck-and-neck with the PCs. It also shows that there is almost no chance of the ruling Liberals under leader Kathleen Wynne being able to form a government.
Results according to recent Abacus Poll
Thirty-five per cent of decided voters told Abacus Data they'd support Doug Ford's PCs, while 34 per cent said they would vote NDP, and 24 per cent said they'd cast a ballot for the Liberals. Support for Andrea Horwath's NDP rose by five percentage points in the last two weeks, according to Abacus. In the same time frame, the Liberals saw support drop by five points, while it held steady for the PCs.
David Coletto of Abacus wrote in a blog post: "The Tories are holding onto much of their support, the NDP is converting undecideds and attracting some Liberals, while the Liberals are leaking support to the NDP and undecided category."
Coletto said that although Ford was still the favorite to win, it is possible that the NDP could pull off an upset. Even if the NDP is able to stop the PCs from getting a majority government this will cause a huge problem for the PCs as they are unlikely to form a coalition with either the Liberals or NDP.
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Coletto points out that among those 45 and older, the PCs have a clear lead and they are more likely to vote than younger people who favor the NDP and Liberals. The PCs also lead among those who voted in the last election and so are likely to show up and vote again.
Yet the poll shows that the NDP has had its support rise by ten percent since April. There may be even more of a swing towards the NDP closer to the election time as Liberals switch votes to block a Ford election.
Coletto notes: "There are still two weeks left in this campaign and two thirds of the electorate is open to voting NDP." The poll also shows that an NDP win would be least divisive.
More than half of those polled said they would be dismayed by a Liberal win. There is little chance of that occurring. 41 percent were dismayed by the prospect of a PC win under Ford. However, in contrast, only 19 percent were dismayed at the prospect of an NDP win under Horwath.
The survey was conducted online and was of 2,824 Ontarians over 18. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.9 percent, 19 times out of 20. The sample was weighted to take into account age, gender, educational attainment and region. This is just one poll. Perhaps a more accurate picture is given by the CBC poll tracker which averages several polls.
The CBC Poll Tracker results
The poll tracker shows the Progressive Conservatives with 37.9 percent of the vote compared to the New Democrats NDP with 33.8 percent. The Liberals have just 23 percent. The Greens have 4.0 percent and other 1.3 percent. This shows the PCs still in the lead by 4.0 percent. But the chart included shows that the upward momentum appears to be going to the NDP. Both supporters of the Liberals and the Greens may vote for the NDP as a means of preventing a Ford PC win.
The poll tracker records a loss of 1.5 percent for the PC over the last poll. The NDP rose 2.8 percent. The Liberal decline was only marginal at 0.2. The Greens lost more at 0.9 per cent .
Seat projections are much more favorable to the PCs, who are predicted to win 75 seats. The NDP would win 44 and the Liberals only five. The Greens are not projected to win a seat. There is an 85 percent probability still that the PCs will win a majority. There is a 7.6 probability that they win the most seats but not a majority. There is just a 6.6 percent chance that the NDP will win the most seats and a minuscule 0.4 percent probability that the Liberals will.
These figures could change dramatically if the NDP continues to close the gap and challenge the PC lead. It could be an exciting election. It seemed at first that the PCs had the election sewn up.
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This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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