NDP, Liberal and Green supporters, avert your eyes.
With just over two weeks to go until the June 2 election, Ontario voters are set to hand Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford another majority, according to the latest update from The Signal, a poll aggregator created for the Star by Vox Pop Labs.
Not even this past Monday evening’s debate, where Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca, the NDP’s Andrea Horwath and the Green Party’s Mike Schreiner hammered Ford, made much of a difference in the numbers, according to Vox Pop CEO Clifton van der Linden.
“If you’re going to judge by the polls alone, the debate had little to no effect on voting intention of Ontario voters,” said van der Linden.
The latest projection from The Signal has the PCs at 35.7 per cent of the popular vote, with the Liberals at 26.9, NDP at 23.1 and Greens at 5.9. According to The Signal’s model, that would translate into the PCs winning 74 seats, with the NDP at 29, Liberals at 20 and Green Party at one. Earlier Signal results predicted 64 seats for the PCs, 30 for the Liberals and 29 for the NDP, with one seat for the Green Party. There are 124 seats in the legislature.
While there’s been a slight shift in seat count toward the PCs and NDP away from the Liberals, van der Linden said most of the shifts in the underlying polls have been within their respective margins of error.
“We’ve seen very little movement overall. Perhaps that will change in the next two weeks or so, but it’s been a very steady campaign for the most part, ”said van der Linden.
Still, he said, there could be more room for movement in the seat projections than there is in the popular vote share, simply because of the way they’re done.
A seemingly tiny shift in the popular vote share can have an outsized impact in a close riding, he explained.
“Small, incremental changes in vote share can have an effect on seat projection, especially in those ridings where we have parties that are very close together,” said van der Linden, adding that popular vote shares are more reliably accurate than seat projections, because there are more polls done at the provincewide level.
“There are seat projections that are a function of polling that’s done at the riding level. But that’s very infrequent. No one is going into every riding and doing a 500 to 1,000-person poll at the riding level, ”van der Linden said.
While he’s not ruling out a dramatic shift in the polls, van der Linden isn’t exactly expecting it, either.
“The last weeks of a campaign can be the most volatile, but so far, I do not think we’ve seen much indication that this trend is going to change. But you never know until it’s over, ”he said.
While he’s noticed a growth in the popular vote going to “other” parties, van der Linden isn’t expecting a big breakthrough from either of the two new right-wing parties, the New Blue Party or Ontario Party.
“You’re not looking at a critical mass. It’s not going to be enough to win a seat, ”van der Linden predicted. Still, he admitted, it’s harder to gauge exactly where the new parties’ votes will be spread out among different ridings. It’s a bit more guesswork than the models for other parties, for which The Signal can use years and years of election data.
“New Blue and Ontario are wild cards for those reasons. It’s more challenging, given the lack of historical data, to forecast their vote share, or where it’s coming from, ”said van der Linden.
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