Tagged: Polls shifting

“This may be counter-intuitive, but would you believe Premier Horwath?”

GEOFFREY STEVENS writes a weekly column which he circulates to his personal distribution list and publishes each Monday in the Waterloo Region Record. His new June 5, 2018, column brings some last-minute Ontario provincial election insight.

With thanks to Geoffrey, I commend it to you and share it here:

This may be counter-intuitive, but would you believe Premier Horwath?

(published June 4, 2018 in Waterloo Region Record)

BY GEOFFREY STEVENS

“By throwing in the towel on Saturday, did Kathleen Wynne tip Thursday’s election to the NDP and make Andrea Horwath the next premier of Ontario?

“I think she did – and I think that was her intention.

“Wynne was close to tears when she announced that she knew she would not be premier after the election. Her declared intentions were to save as many endangered Liberal candidates as possible – by removing her personal unpopularity as an impediment – and to help elect enough Liberals to block either the Progressive Conservatives or the New Democrats from forming a majority government.

“Her real target, of course, was not the NDP – most of their platform could have been written by a Liberal committee. It was Conservative leader Doug Ford, whose bombastic manner, ignorance of government and simplistic policies she finds deeply offensive.

“Although most opinion polls show the NDP tied with the Tories or a percentage point or two ahead, conventional wisdom has it that the Conservatives could form a government, even a majority one, with fewer popular votes than the NDP.

“That’s because the Conservative vote, spread fairly evenly across the province, is considered more ‘efficient’ than the NDP vote, and because the over-45 crowd are deemed more likely to turn out to vote (for the Tories) on Thursday than are the millennials on whose support the NDP depends.

“That’s the conventional perspective. As of Sunday afternoon, the CBC Poll Tracker had the Conservatives one point behind in popular vote but with a 77 per cent ‘probability’ of a majority government.

“That could be the way it unfolds. However, there is another way of looking at it.

“All of the polls in the CBC tracker were completed before Wynne threw in the towel. The most recent one was from Abacus Data, which was in the field from May 29 (last Tuesday) to June 2 (Saturday morning).

“Abacus put the NDP ahead of the Conservatives by 37 per cent to 33 (with the Liberals at 23).

“The firm also asked respondents which party they would prefer to form a government. Sixty per cent said they would prefer the NDP to 40 per cent who said PC.

“Interestingly, 26 per cent of those who said they would prefer an NDP government also said they intended to vote Liberal. Whether that intention will change with Wynne’s capitulation is anyone’s guess.

In an analysis of their poll, David Coletto and Bruce Anderson of Abacus wrote:

‘Given Ms. Wynne’s admission Saturday that she won’t win the election, these voters represent a large potential pool of swing voters. Here’s what we know about them: six in ten are open to voting NDP, only 25 per cent are open to voting PC, and only one in four (26 per cent) of them would be dismayed if the NDP won the election.

‘Looking at this another way, among current Liberal supporters, almost eight in ten would prefer an NDP win over a PC win. And this holds across the province from as high as 90 per cent of Liberals in eastern Ontario to 74 per cent for those living in the GTHA.’

“At this late stage, the NDP has the largest pool of ‘accessible voters.’ But how motivated are NDP supporters? Will they turn out to vote in large numbers?

“The folks at Abacus believe they will – ‘Thirty-four per cent (of province-wide respondents) say they are certain to or likely to vote NDP compared with 29 per cent saying the same for the PCs … NDP supporters are as motivated, if not more motivated, than PC supporters.’

“So, what is going happen on Thursday? It looks as though it is going to be desperately close. I’m inclined to give the edge to Horwath, but as Coletto and Anderson observe: ‘Events over the weekend show anything can (happen), so this election is not over and predicting the outcome at this point seems like a fool’s errand to us.’ “

GEOFFREY STEVENS, author, former Ottawa columnist and managing editor the Globe and Mail, resides in Cambridge, Ontario, and teaches political science at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph. He welcomes comments at geoffstevens@sympatico.ca.

 

 

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“Momentum lost, Doug Ford is reduced to promising Ontario One-Buck Beer”

GEOFFREY STEVENS writes a weekly column which he circulates to his personal distribution list and publishes each Monday in the Waterloo Region Record. His new May 28 column is another good one.

With thanks to Geoffrey, I share his current column, right here:

Momentum lost, Doug Ford is reduced to promising Ontario One-Buck Beer

(published May 28, 2018 in Waterloo Region Record)

BY GEOFFREY STEVENS

“If desire for change is the most potent force in politics these days, momentum is the most unpredictable one.

“No one can predict when momentum will begin to build, how far it will go, or when it will end.

“Heading into Sunday night’s leaders’ debate, it was clear that momentum in the Ontario election had shifted, dramatically, from the Progressive Conservatives to the New Democrats. But no one could predict whether the momentum would be enough to carry Andrea Horwath into office, or whether it would stall or even shift again before June 7.

“Horwath did not need to ‘win’ the debate, the most meaningful three-way encounter of the campaign. But she did need to withstand the double-barrelled attack of Doug Ford and Kathleen Wynne. She needed to avoid making a ghastly mistake, and to emerge still standing as an attractive alternative.

“Although recent opinion polls show a clear trend toward the NDP and away from the PCs, most of the results are close. Conceivably, the NDP could win the popular vote, yet finish behind the Tories in seats. That’s largely because party support is unevenly distributed across the province. And if the Liberals retain enough of their strength in the GTA and southwestern Ontario – as they may – the result could be the election of Conservatives in places that would otherwise go NDP. 

“To backtrack, the PCs are experts in losing momentum, having made blunders that cost them the election in 2007 under John Tory and again in 2014 under Tim Hudak.

“They are poised to three-peat in 2018.

“For months, all of the momentum was with the Tories. It gathered force under the flawed leadership of Patrick Brown, who moved the party to the left. It survived Brown’s self-immolation. It survived a defective leadership process in which Christine Elliott, the members’ choice, was denied in favour of newcomer Doug Ford, a pseudo populist, who yanked the party to the right.

“Despite a blustering campaign that betrayed the new leader’s inability to grasp provincial issues, the PCs continued to dominate the opinion polls, rising so high that a few reckless pundits predicted they would enjoy the greatest landslide since the days of Leslie Frost.

“That’s not going to happen now. The choice of Ford shapes up as the ghastly mistake that has derailed the Tory campaign.

“I think what happened about two weeks ago was that voters, initially obsessed by a desire to get rid of the Wynne government and to end 15 years of Liberal rule at Queen’s Park, started to notice the alternatives.

“Horwath appeared calm and reasonable. In Ford, they saw a leader who did not look or sound like a premier. He was too belligerent, too in-your-face, too contemptuous, too slow to reveal his agenda yet too quick to create policy on the fly. For a professed ‘man of the people,’ he displayed remarkably few people skills.

“Setting aside the issue of corruption in the nomination of party candidates – some of it Ford’s responsibility, some his predecessor’s – Ford did not present himself as a potential premier who could be trusted to govern wisely, with a steady hand and in best interest of all Ontarians, especially those who do not hail from ‘Ford Nation.’

“Speaking of that nation, while Ford may not know how to manage the province’s finances, he is sure he knows how to satisfy his base. He promised at the weekend that, as premier, he would mandate a reduction in the retail price of beer to $1 a bottle.

 “If he thinks ‘One-Buck Beer’ is the path to power in Ontario in 2018, he is either desperate or out of touch with reality. Worse, he is insulting the intelligence of the voters. They know that what Ontario needs is affordable housing, an end to ‘hallway medicine,’ decent incomes for all, and equal access to opportunity in education and employment. Life is complicated. Issues are real.

“Cheap beer for all is just a cheap election bribe.”

GEOFFREY STEVENS, author, former Ottawa columnist and managing editor the Globe and Mail, resides in Cambridge, Ontario, and teaches political science at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph. He welcomes comments at geoffstevens@sympatico.ca.

 

 

 

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“Does Andrea Horwath Have Enough Momentum to Stop Doug Ford?”

GEOFFREY STEVENS writes a weekly column which he circulates to his personal distribution list and publishes each Monday in the Waterloo Region Record. His new May 22 (after the long weekend) 2018, column is, once again, particularly timely.

With thanks to Geoffrey, I commend it to you and share it here:

“Does Andrea Horwath have enough momentum to stop Doug Ford?”

BY GEOFFREY STEVENS

“The majority government that Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives expect – and think they deserve – is slipping away as the June 7 Ontario election campaign enters its final leg.

“With the Victoria Day milestone behind them, all three parties will be campaigning frantically – the Tories to win the majority they were confident they had safely locked up; the New Democrats to grab the balance of power; the Liberals to survive.

“Three new polls report a shift in momentum from ‘desire for change’ to ‘anyone but Ford.’ The benefit goes straight to Andrea Horwath’s NDP, which is capturing virtually all of the support bleeding from Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals.

“If the trend continues, the NDP would win enough seats to hold the PCs to a minority – an NDP government being a possibility, albeit remote. The Liberals, meanwhile, are sinking ever deeper into third place.

“Earlier, most polls reported a comfortable PC lead in the range of 10 percentage points. But the lead has been cut roughly in half in the past 10 days.

“The first of new polls, by Innovative Research Group (taken May 9-12) put the PC lead over the NDP at four percentage points (35-31); a poll a few days earlier (May 7-9) by the same firm had given the Tories a 38-28 margin.

“Next, a new Ipsos/Global News poll (May 11-14) showed the PCs leading the New Democrats by five points (40-35), down from 11 points (40-29) in its previous poll one week earlier.

“Third, at the weekend, Abacus Data reported its new poll (taken May 16-18). It had the PCs (at 35 per cent) in a statistical tie with the NDP (34 per cent). The previous Abacus poll (April 30-May 6) had given the Tories a lead of six points (35-29).

“Not all polling firms agree. Mainstreet Research, which has consistently reported higher Conservative numbers than other pollsters, still had them 13 points ahead in its May 15-18 survey.

“Looking at the new polls as a group, two striking features emerge. First, so far Ford and his party have weathered the battering that the controversial new leader has taken from his opponents; the PC numbers have barely moved since the campaign began. Second, virtually all the movement has occurred between the other two parties with ‘soft’ Liberals moving to the NDP; there is no significant movement from NDP to Liberal.

“The Abacus survey, which uses a combination of random interviews plus a panel of representative voters (the panel being refreshed for each poll), offers some interesting insights. For example, the desire for change remains intense with 83 per cent of respondents seeking change after 15 years of Liberal government; that’s up three points from earlier.

“The desire for change may be the bedrock of Conservative support, but it is offset by fear of putting change in the hands of Ford, whose agenda, beyond cutting spending and reducing taxes, remains a mystery to many voters. The NDP is the beneficiary of this dichotomy.

“As David Coletto of Abacus puts it, .Only the NDP can appeal to voters who want change and those afraid of Doug Ford at the same time. Voting NDP kills two birds with one stone: you get change and stop Ford.’

“Even if popular support is evenly split, as Abacus suggests, the odds will favour the Conservatives. Their support is spread more evenly across the province than the NDP’s and they have a higher proportion of supporters aged 45-plus, who are more likely to vote than younger Ontarians.

“On the other hand, the NDP has the advantage of the largest pool of ‘accessible voters.’ Sixty-seven per cent of respondents told Abacus they were prepared to consider voting NDP, compared to 54 per cent for the PCs and 42 per cent for the Liberals.

“In Horwath, the New Democrats have the best-liked leader and her positives are growing while Ford’s are shrinking.

“At the moment, she has momentum. How far will it carry her and the NDP?”

GEOFFREY STEVENS, author, former Ottawa columnist and managing editor the Globe and Mail, resides in Cambridge, Ontario, and teaches political science at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph. He welcomes comments at geoffstevens@sympatico.ca.

 

 

 

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