Watch video above: A look at the election race in Etobicoke Lakeshore, the only Toronto seat currently held by a Tory.
TORONTO – The Progressive Conservatives grabbed a valuable toehold in Toronto in last year’s byelections. But if polls are to be believed they’re in danger of losing it on election night.
The Tories have long been shut out of Toronto completely but that changed last August when longtime Etobicoke politician Doug Holyday narrowly beat fellow councillor Peter Milczyn to secure Etobicoke-Lakeshore for Tim Hudak’s Conservatives in a byelection last summer].
He’s confident he can do it again, but pollsters aren’t so sure.
“The riding history plays a role and the Liberals won it by about 22 points, I think, in the 2011 election. The by-election was much, much closer,” Wilfrid Laurier University professor Barry Kay said in an interview.
“As popular and well-known as Holyday was in municipal politics, he still only took it by four [percentage points] in the byelection.”
Holyday won in August with 16,034 votes – just 1,528 more than Liberal candidate Peter Milczyn, who is running again this time around. But the previous general election was anything but close, with the Liberals taking the riding by close to 10,000 votes and more than 50 per cent of the popular vote.
In Depth: Ontario Election 2014
But neither candidate is – openly – putting any credence in polls.
“Polls don’t vote unless they are Polish people like myself and we do vote and we tend to vote Liberal,” Milczyn said.
Holyday is similarly skeptical.
“Polls are polls but in the August election I was 26 percentage points behind at one point and it turned out I was ahead by five, so I think there’s some flexibility in these polls.”
Kay admits Holyday’s local popularity and incumbency could work in his favour on June 12.
“On paper, Etobicoke-Lakeshore is the Conservatives’ best shot in the city of Toronto,” he said. But he wouldn’t bet on it. “Right now we have the seat of Etobicoke-Lakeshore in the leaning Liberal category.”
– With files Sean Mallen
© Shaw Media, 2014