About EKOS Politics

We launched this website in order to showcase our election research, and our suite of polling technologies including Probit and IVR. We will be updating this site frequently with new polls, analysis and insight into Canadian politics. EKOS's experience, knowledge and sophisticated research designs have contributed positively to many previous elections.

Other EKOS Products

In addition to current political analysis, EKOS also makes available to the public general research of interest, including research in evaluation, general public domain research, as well as a full history of EKOS press releases.

Media Inquires

For media inquires, please contact: Frank Graves President EKOS Research Associates t: 613.235-7215 [email protected]

ONTARIO LIBERALS HOLD SMALL BUT STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT LEAD – September 27, 2011

UNDERLYING DEMOGRAPHIC PATTERNS SUGGEST MCGUINTY POISED TO CAPTURE SOME FORM OF GOVERNMENT

[Ottawa – September 27, 2011] – With barely a week to go until the 40th Ontario general election, McGuinty’s Liberals have a slight but statistically significant lead over Hudak’s Progressive Conservative Party (34.9 to 31.4). Horwath and the NDP, meanwhile, are further back at 24.7 points.

In what may appear to be a fairly tight three-way race, the underlying demographic patterns and levels of emotional engagement may provide clues as to how voters will behave on election day. First, the demographic pluses which carved a majority for Harper in the May 2nd election and left the federal Liberal Party in ruins do not appear to be not in place here. The Ontario Liberals are leading in crucial boomer cohort and are close on the senior cohort, two groups that are key with respect to turnout.

Similarly, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party carries a significant advantage in that they lead with seniors, a group that has historically held the highest turnout rates. However, much of their support comes from those with no post-secondary education – a group with a much lower propensity to vote. The NDP, meanwhile, reaps a disproportionate amount of their support from younger and more economically vulnerable voters, which will present a substantial obstacle when it comes time to get their supporters out to vote.

We also measured emotional responses to the McGuinty government. In short, Liberals are hopeful, Conservatives are angry, and NDP are discouraged. The patterns of emotional engagement seem to favour the Liberals and the Progressive Conservative, as the sense of discouragement expressed by NDP supporters suggests a weak “get-out-the-vote”. Liberals seem to have enough positive emotion to combat the anger of the older Progressive Conservative constituency. The Liberal positive base is strongly linked to the university educated and the education themes of McGuinty. It is also worth noting that the federal Liberals had very little emotional engagement with Ontario voters in the last election.

Regionally, there is no evidence that the crumbling of the Liberal fortress of Toronto is occurring at the provincial level. In fact, the Liberal Party of Ontario maintains a huge lead in the core GTA and does very well in 905 Ontario. The Progressive Conservative Party, meanwhile, does well in Eastern Ontario and Ottawa and also fares well in more economically nervous Southwestern Ontario. The NDP, meanwhile, does better in the North, though the Progressive Conservative have strength there too.

It is also interesting to note that Ontarians are not wildly unhappy with provincial direction (in fact, they appear quite positive) and they are split in terms of the direction of the provincial government, with attitudes largely split along party lines. Notably, the Ontario Liberal Party base is highly unified in their happiness with Ontario government direction, a plus akin to the advantage that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had in the May 2nd election.

Lastly, the presence of a strong Conservative majority appears to make the Ontario voter more likely to vote non-Progressive Conservative, but this is more likely to favour the Liberal Party of Ontario and the advantage is even stronger with those who are more likely to actually vote (judged against past voting behaviour, demographics and emotional response). In particular, the negative impacts of a Conservative majority on Progressive Conservative prospects are strongest in Toronto (both metro and 905). This suggests that the “trifecta” scenario has had a modest chilling impact on Hudak’s prospects

In the end, it appears that the NDP’s support is centred around voters with historically low turnout rates while the Liberals and Progressive Conservative have somewhat stronger bases. Barring a pratfall in the debates, McGuinty may well be poised to capture some form of government.

Click here for the full report: Full Report (September 27, 2011)

1 comment to ONTARIO LIBERALS HOLD SMALL BUT STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT LEAD – September 27, 2011

  • Mark Kahnt

    In the previous election, the Ontario Liberals placed first or second in all ridings across the province. They did not place “way out of the running” in any riding they lost. Very few of the ridings were three way races.

    This leads to some potential concern for the Liberals – their vote is not as efficiently distributed as it could be. Many votes are found in ridings where the other parties will win. Meanwhile, the ridings where the NDP is competitive, the Progressive Conservatives were nowhere to be seen, while the similar situation existed for the NDP in Tory ridings.

    The net effect is that marginal constituencies for the Grits are more at risk, unless they are finding that they are losing support mainly in those ridings they didn’t hold anyhow. These numbers look like a Conservative lead in net seats, but like 1985, an ideological divide that probably would keep them from power in favour of a Liberal – NDP accomodation.