PCs Edge (37%) ahead of NDP (34%) as Horserace Rounds the Final Bend; Liberals (22%), Others (7%) Trail

Toronto 416 a Three-Way Race; Seat Rich 905 Region Leans PC by 5 Points

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  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, Ontario, May 29, 2018 — The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party has edged slightly ahead of the NDP, effectively halting an orange wave that had been building since the start of the campaign, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News. The poll was conducted both online and by live-operator telephone interviewing, dialing both landlines and cellphones, from May 25th through May 27th, and would include some respondents who would have had an opportunity to view the final leaders’ debate held Sunday evening. The data suggests that with the spotlight on Andrea Horwath and the NDP team, some voters are reconsidering their position towards the party, and it has resulted in a softening of support.

If the election were held tomorrow, Doug Ford and the PCs would receive 37% (up 1 point) of the popular decided vote, while the NDP would receive 34% (down 3 points) of the popular vote. The Liberals appear stalled at 22% of the vote (down 1 point), while other parties, including the Green Party, have improved to 7% (up 3 points) of the vote, province wide. One in ten (10%) remain unsure of who they would vote for, while 6% say they would not vote or would spoil their ballot.

As ever, the key to victory is in the key seat-rich swing regions of the province:
• In the 905, the Tories (38%) have a narrow lead over the NDP (33%), while the Liberals (24%) and others (6%) are further behind.
• In the 416, a three-way race among the Liberals (33%), PCs (31%) and NDP (29%) has heated up, with other parties (7%) trailing.
• In Southwest Ontario, the NDP (43%) maintains a slight lead over the PCs (39%) a trend that has been measured for three consecutive weeks. The Liberals (11%) and others (7%) are well behind.
• In Central Ontario, the Tories (50%) have a solid lead over the NDP (25%), Liberals (13%) and others (12%).
• In Eastern Ontario, the PCs (34%) are slightly ahead of the NDP (31%) and the Liberals (29%), marking another close race region wide, while others trail (6%).
• In Northern Ontario the PCs (39%) and NDP (35%) are battling for top spot, while the Liberals (16%) and others (10%) are well back.

Demographic cleavages continue to exist, underscoring differences in voting behaviour by gender and age:
Men are leaning more heavily towards the PCs (42%) than towards the NDP (33%) and Liberals (19%).
Women are more split between the NDP (34%) and the PCs (33%), with the Liberals (24%) behind.
• Those aged 18 to 34 are nearly evenly split among the NDP (33%), PCs (31%) and Liberals (30%).
• Those aged 35 to 54 lean towards the PCs (38%) over the NDP (32%) and Liberals (20%).
• Those aged 55+ also favour the Tories (41%), but the NDP (37%) aren’t far behind, while the Liberals (17%) lag.

Predicting the Outcome of the Election, Ontarians Give Edge to Tories

While a majority (58%) believes that the NDP and Andrea Horwath are gaining the most popularity and momentum in this election (compared to 23% who say it’s the PCs and 8% who say it’s the Liberals), 44% of Ontarians believe that the PCs will win the election, compared to 36% who think the NDP will win. Just 16% think that the Liberals will be victorious. Tory voters are most certain of their hopeful victory (84% of Tory votes think they’ll win), while NDP voters are less certain of their own victory (66%), and only half (50%) of Liberal voters think the Liberals will actually win.

The data continue to suggest that the path to re-election for the incumbent Liberals is not clear. Only one in three (34%) Ontarians approve of the performance of the Wynne government under Premier Wynne (although this is up 4 points since last week), and only 22% believe that the Wynne government deserves re-election (up 2 points). The vast majority (75%, down 5 points) of Ontarians continue to want change at Queen’s Park, a sentiment that has endured throughout 2018.

Voter Turnout Will Make the Difference

With such a close race emerging in many of the key regions of the province, voter turnout will be especially important in determining the outcome of the election. There are two key indicators which give clues as to who will actually show up to vote on election day.

First, 52% of those who indicated that they support a particular party are “absolutely certain” that this is the party that they’ll actually support on Election Day. Continuing the trend measured throughout the campaign, PC voters are most likely to say they’re absolutely certain (64%) to stick with the PC Party. Fewer than half (48%) of NDP voters say the same – although this is substantially higher than it was just last week, when only three in ten (31%) NDP voters said they were certain of their vote choice. This likely due to two factors: first, overall vote support has softened somewhat as some reconsider their options and those who remain are more committed; second, as Election Day draws closer, there is less opportunity for someone to change their mind.

Second, two thirds (68%) of those polled say they’re “completely certain” to show up and vote on election day. While this figures likely overstates the case (given that turnout is typically between 50% and 60% in Ontario provincial elections), it is interesting to note that PCs voters appear most motivated to show up and vote (82% are completely certain to vote), while NDP (69%) and Liberal (65%) voters are less likely to vote. Interestingly, those supporting another party, including the Green Party, are slightly more motivated to vote (76% are certain to show up), perhaps as a means of protest.

Moreover, Tory voters (29%) are more likely than Liberal (25%) and NDP (25%) to say they have a “great deal of interest” in following news about the provincial election, suggesting that they’re the most engaged in the campaign, and therefore, eager to vote.

© 2018, Ipsos Limited Partnership
This polling release and the data contained in it are the sole and exclusive property of Ipsos. They are NOT designed to support any election outcome or prediction model and no license to use the polling release or the data is either granted or implied by their publication. Ipsos does not endorse, and has no responsibility for the accuracy of, the result of any predictive model that incorporates this polling data. Furthermore, any use of this information to produce polling aggregations or election models without Ipsos’ written permission will be considered a violation of our intellectual property, and Ipsos reserves the right to take appropriate legal action.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between May 25 and 27, 2018, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,241 Ontario eligible voters was interviewed online (841 Ontarian eligible voters aged 18+ from Ipsos' online panel were interviewed online, supplemented by river-based sampling) and by telephone (400 Ontarian eligible voters aged 18+ via live-operator random-digit dialing, dual-frame cellphone (65%) and landline (35%)). Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all eligible Ontario voters been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Darrell Bricker, CEO
Ipsos Global Public Affairs
+1 416 324 2001
[email protected]

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The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs