When it comes to sports and politics, everybody has an opinion. And, most of those opinions don’t count for much.
Data, however, counts for a lot. In his book Moneyball, author Michael Lewis shows why. While the movie about Lewis’s book is fun, the book does a better job of demonstrating how an artful, dispassionate use of numbers reveals the inner truth about what really matters in baseball. It’s about getting on base. The other things, according to Lewis, are just details.
Like sports, politics is endlessly overanalyzed by so-called insiders and experts. It’s mostly blabbing, informed by the personal biases of the blabbers. In other words, details. There’s rarely real insight on offer. That’s what good polling should counter. Instead of opinions, good polling data reveals what voters — the people who will decide the election — are really thinking. They will ultimately decide who wins on June 7.
WATCH: ‘This is really a change election,’ says Ipsos’ Darrell Bricker on PC versus Liberal saga
The election polling released this week by Global News and Ipsos is Moneyball stats for politics. It reveals the numbers that matter most. In the Ontario election, those numbers are: 74, 32 and 10.
What’s 74? That’s the percentage of Ontarians who believe that we need a change in Government. Only 23 per cent would like to see Kathleen Wynne and the Liberal Party win another mandate. In our experience, the percentage of voters who want to see the government reelected usually ends up being close to the number that votes for them on election day. This week’s Global News Ipsos poll has the Liberals at 26 per cent. Not far off. If 74 doesn’t start declining by mid-campaign, it will be almost impossible for the Liberals to win reelection.
Next up, 32 is the number that either the NDP or Liberals will need to get to in voter support to represent any real threat to Doug Ford and the PCs.
That’s because there are two big coalitions in Ontario politics — a progressive coalition and a conservative coalition.
The progressive coalition is usually bigger than the conservative coalition, but only one party appeals to the conservative coalition — the Progressive Conservatives. The progressive coalition splits its vote between the Liberals and NDP.
Proving that point, the Liberals today are at 26 per cent, and the NDP are at 29 per cent. If one of the progressive parties gets to 32, that means that the progressive coalition is moving behind one party to stop Doug Ford and the PCs. That’s how the PCs could lose to another party. So, watch to see if one of the progressive parties gets to 32 or higher. If they do, the PCs could be in trouble.
Finally, the number 10. That’s the lead the PCs will need over their closest opponent in the 905 to win the election. That’s because the motherlode of seats in Ontario is now in the suburbs of Toronto. Whoever has a double-digit lead there, is almost guaranteed to win the election.
This week, Ford and the PCs have a 14-point lead over the second place NDP in the 905. The PCs will be tough to beat if this holds up.
WATCH: Pollster Darrell Bricker on the one group who may decide Ontario election
Now you know the numbers I will be watching most closely through the campaign – 74, 32 and 10. I recommend that you do the same.
Darrell Bricker is CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.