May 30, 2018 3:50 pm
Updated: May 31, 2018 6:18 pm

Conservative seat lead narrows as Liberals sink, seat projections show

WATCH: The pitfalls of a minority government can be severe, but there’s a big upside for the party in power. Alan Carter has more.

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With just over a week to go before Ontario residents head to the polls, new seat projections based on recent opinion polls suggest the Progressive Conservatives are right at the brink of forming a majority, as their seat lead narrows even further.

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The latest analysis from Barry Kay, at the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP), shows the Progressive Conservatives are on the cusp of forming a majority with 63 seats projected, the NDP claiming 54 ridings, and the Liberals taking seven seats.

READ MORE: Ontario election 2018: How, when and where to vote

“One of the questions could be majority versus minority, because right now by our calculations the Conservatives are just one seat into a majority. One seat less and they would lose the majority, but if the Liberals continue to lose seats then someone is going to win a majority because there isn’t going to be a third party with representation,” said Kay, an associate professor of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Kay’s projections are based on a weighted aggregation of seven polls released since May 23. In total, the polls measured 7,000 respondents.

The polls suggest popular support for the NDP is up three points on the Tories at 38 per cent. The Tories sit at 35 per cent and the Liberals have 20 per cent of the popular vote, according to polling data.

Kay notes that only a minority of the interviews contributing to this most recent projection were conducted after the leaders debate on May 27.

“I don’t think this fully captures the impact of the debate. I think it will take a few more days to get a real sense of whether or not the debate had much of an impact,” Kay said.

READ MORE: Ontario’s 3 party leaders participate in final televised election debate

However, he expects the Liberals will continue to sink, and support for the NDP will continue to grow.

Kay also noted that among the constituencies categorized as “too close to call,” are both Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford’s riding of Etobicoke North and Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne’s riding of Don Valley West.

“That’s not to suggest they’re necessarily going to lose, but neither of those seats are safe either. They’re both very competitive,” Kay said.

Another curiosity, Kay notes, is the possibility of a Green seat in Guelph. “The greens have a shot, it should be mentioned, in Guelph, but that’s just one seat. From what I hear, they’ll do better than anywhere else, but I’m not sure they really have a lock on that seat.”

Kay’s seat projections are based on a methodology called the regional swing model.

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