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NDP Fading at Critical Point in Otherwise Unclear Ontario Political Landscape


[Ottawa – May 2, 2014] – In our latest poll, it appears that not one of Ontario’s three major parties have any real incentive to call an election. The Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives are both sitting slightly below their 2011 election results at 35 and 32 points, respectively. At 22 points, however, the NDP are down 7 points over last month’s poll.

The demographic patterns are stable but important. Progressive Conservative support is concentrated among older voters who, election after election, have consistently outperformed younger generations in terms of voter turnout. This will prove to be a major advantage in a province that has been probing record lows in terms of turnout. The Liberals lead handily with women, but are struggling to keep pace with the Progressive Conservatives among men. As with their federal counterparts, the Liberals hold a daunting lead among university graduates, while the Progressive Conservatives lead among the high school and college educated. Regionally, the Liberals lead in the Greater Toronto Area while the Progressive Conservatives do very well in Eastern and Southwest Ontario.

What is quite interesting about the Ontario political arena is how closely party support mirrors that at the federal level. The vast majority of Progressive Conservative voters (84 per cent) hail from the ranks of the federal Conservatives. Eight in ten Wynne Liberals (79 per cent) are also Trudeau Liberals. The Ontario NDP is predominantly made up of federal NDP voters, although nearly a quarter of their base comes from the federal Liberals.

Finally, it is worth noting the NDP’s inability to make any headway in Ontario coincides with the NDP’s decline at the federal level. In 2011, things were looking bright for the NDP. The Ontario party had captured the largest number of seats in almost a decade, while their federal counterparts enjoyed their best election result in history. Today, however, it seems as though the Ontario NDP have stalled, while their federal counterparts have tumbled to a distant third place. Combined, these developments may be a sign of larger brand issues throughout the country. In either case, it will be worth keeping an eye on.

All in all, the fact that Kathleen Wynne have kept the Liberals at 35 points despite the recent barrage of criticism over the gas plant scandal bodes well for her (even though the party is down somewhat from the last election). On the other hand, the Progressive Conservatives have shown some recent rebound and have re-captured their second place standing. Furthermore, given their comparative advantage with older voters, they may very be in a position to eek out a narrow victory should an election be called in the near future. The party which seems to have the least clear upside is the NDP which is moving backward – not forward – at this critical time when Andrea Horwath must decide between supporting the Liberal budget or forcing an election.

Click here for the full report: Full Report – Ontario (May 2, 2014)

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