2018 Provincial Election outcomes analyzed by polling experts

Jun 5, 2018 | Ontario Election 2018

Ontario NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath addresses audience at press conference during 2018 Budget lockup [Taz Dhaliwal]

Taz Dhaliwal

Two days left until election day in Ontario and the heat is on with the NDP and PCs neck and neck in the polls.

A poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute last week shows Andrea Horwath’s NDP and Doug Ford’s PCs at a statistical tie. The poll states that the NDP are at 39 per cent, while the PCs are 37 per cent.

The results were taken from an online survey that was done by Angus Reid from May 27 to 29. Polling carries a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Kathleen Wynne continues to experience “a collapse of Liberal support,” according to Angus Reid. The poll also indicates that 50 per cent of decided voters say they are strategically voting, in the sense that their choice is based on who they wish to block rather than who they are supporting.

David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data, provided Humber News analysis on what factors he thinks would contribute to either the NDP or PCs winning the election on June 7.

“For the New Democrats, if they win the election it’s likely because turnout was probably higher among young people who came out and voted,” Coletto said. “They were able to convince those who might have been inclined to support Liberals to lend them their vote and stop Doug Ford from winning.”

He said the NDP needs to find a way to consolidate the anti-Ford vote in order to get people out to vote and win.

“The Conservatives, I believe they have a natural advantage in the electorate, their support is more concentrated among older voters and in rural areas where there are more seats,” Coletto said. “I think they are the favourite to win because of those factors.”

He said that unless there is an “awakening”, people get engaged and get out to vote, the Tories will do better in a lower turnout election in his view.

“I get the sense that there’s still time for people to make up their minds,” Corletto said. “This upcoming weekend will be critical when people get together at barbeques and family dinners, and they have that final conversation with their friends and family,” he said during the interview last Tuesday.

He said those conversations will be imperative in defining the outcome of this election, especially for those who have not already voted in advance polls.

Corletto said that people can be easily persuaded by the network they surround themselves with. These influencers may be the ones who are more interested in politics or follow it more closely he said.

“When 84 per cent of the province says I want change, it then becomes a question of what change and we’re starting to see the battle lines very clearly drawn,” Corletto said. “I don’t expect to see a lot of movement to and from the Tories, it’s going to be whether the New Democrats can take from the Liberals…or if people stay home and don’t vote.”

In terms of millenials, Coletto said Ford is the least popular with them.

“Tories are doing the worst among 18 to 19 years olds…it’s their worst age cohort,” he said.

“The tone that he takes for politics is not millennial friendly and that’s showing up in our data.

“There’s not much attraction between what Mr. Ford is offering in terms of his policies and also in term so his approach, Coletto said.

However, he said that Ford is more popular among rural parts of the province, and in parts that tend to be more economically depressed, or that might have more attraction to Ford’s populism.

“Younger men are more likely to vote for Ford than younger women, but that’s a gender difference we see across the board.” In turn, he also said that older woman are less likely to vote for Ford than older men.

Coletto added that women, especially younger woman are more inclined to vote for Horwath rather than Ford.

“Younger woman are core to Ms. Horwath’s support base, if she’s going to win she needs to do particularly well among young women and they need to come out and vote for her.”

Coletto went on to say that the younger female population’s affinity to the NDP leader goes beyond Horwath being a fellow female and also has to do with the appeal her policies have on the younger age group.

“She’s putting a lot of emphasis on policies that would help young women: again, child care, dental care, pharma care coverage,” he said. Coletto said these care policies attract young moms, and women who are planning on becoming young moms because of how expensive child care has become.

“The flip side is that Mr. Ford is so offensive to so many young women, he kind of pushes them to an alternative, and right now Andrea Horwath becomes the anti-Ford for many people who want change in government,” he said.

Katrina Miller, public policy and communications expert with the policy think tank Broadbent Institute, said she doesn’t think that millennials will be coming out in droves to vote during this election because they haven’t been given much reason to do so.

“We’ve done surveys of millennials before…one of the things we found in the survey was that when they cast votes, they’ve had to cast votes strategically to keep someone out of office as opposed for voting someone in,” Miller said. “Their experience voting may represent a different type of voting than older generations and with that there is a dissatisfaction with their experience.

“I think that’s where we see millennia’s support in greater numbers for things like proportional representation and a change in our electoral system, so that they feel that their voice and their choices have more weight,” she said.

“Because the system in front of them isn’t giving them a whole lot of confidence,” Miller said.