Toronto Star election poll — province-wide and local
The Toronto Star reports that the 2011 provincial election campaign is a real horse race:
- Province-wide, the Liberals and the PCs are running neck-and-neck in terms of the popular vote.
- In Prince Edward-Hastings, Todd Smith of the PCs is ahead of Liberal Leona Dombrowsky by a nose.
- And in his home riding, Dalton McGuinty is in danger of being unseated.
Forum Research conducted a massive poll on behalf of the Star during the week of Sep 19, 2011 and obtained more than 40,000 responses — 400 in each of the 107 provincial ridings. Here is a summary of the results, and some analysis.
Looking at the province as a whole, the Star poll indicates that the Liberal and PC parties are in a dead heat for first place in the popular vote, with 35% each, followed by the NDP at 23% and Green at 5%. The Star’s seat projections are Liberal 47, PC 47 — also a dead heat — plus NDP 13 and Green o for a total of 107 seats. But the Star notes that there are tight races in 28 ridings.
There is a website www.threehundredeight.com which projects seat totals based on popular vote percentages and past voting results by riding. Starting with the same popular vote distribution as the Star, their seat projections are very different: Liberal 55, which would give them a bare majority, PC 32, NDP 20, Green 0. It’s hard to know which seat projections to believe.
How are the Party leaders doing?
The Star poll suggests that Dalton McGuinty is in trouble in his home riding of Ottawa South, with poll results of 40% (vs 50% in the last election), in a virtual tie with the PC candidate at 39%. In Niagara West-Glanbrook, Tim Hudak has 53%, far ahead of the Liberal at 22% and in Hamilton Centre, Andrea Horwath has 51%, way ahead of the Liberal at 24%. Mike Shreiner (Green leader) is out of contention in Simcoe-Grey, sitting in fourth place with 9%.
In Prince Edward-Hastings riding, Todd Smith (PC) is in the lead with 38%, with current MPP Leona Dombrowsky (Liberal) in second place at 32%. Sherry Hayes (NDP) is at 22% and Treat Hull (Green) is at 6%.
It’s interesting to speculate as to why Ms. Dombrowsky, a cabinet minister running against three political newcomers, has only 32% of the popular vote. She is lagging behind her own results from 2006 (46%), and in this campaign, her own party (35%) and Dalton McGuinty in his own riding (40%).
Her weak support in this campaign could relate to the importance of the wind turbine issue in this riding or, more specifically, in the County. Ms. Dombrowsky had a hard choice to make on the wind issue. As a cabinet minister, she was required to support the government’s policies. As an MPP, she needed to fight for the concerns of her constituents. She chose the former, and it may end up costing her her job as MPP.
About the Star poll
Some cautions re the reported results. The poll was an automated telephone poll to landline phones only, and may be over-represented by older voters. With only 400 responses per riding, the margin of error for riding percentages is large at +/- 5 percentage points. While the percentages shown are the most likely, the real number in each case could be as much as 5 points lower or 5 points higher. Finally, what matters is the votes actually cast, so the election results may hinge on which party is most effective in getting its supporters out to vote.