June 6, 2018 3:25 pm

Conservative majority likely as NDP momentum stalls, seat projections show

The Ontario election is slated to take place on June 7.

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With Ontario residents set to head to the polls this Thursday, new seat projections based on recent opinion polls suggest a Progressive Conservative majority is probable.

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The latest analysis from Barry Kay, at the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP), shows only the slightest change from previous projections. Polling data suggests that the NDP’s momentum has stalled, causing the party to drop a point behind the Tories.

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Polling data shows the Tories now have 38 per cent of the popular vote, the NDP 37 per cent, and the Liberals have 19 per cent.

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Despite only a one per cent difference in the popular vote, data suggests the Tories have a more efficient distribution of support across the province. As a result, the popular vote polling data translates into a seat allocation which points to a Conservative majority of 69 seats. The data shows the NDP claiming 50 seats, the Liberals taking four seats, and the Green Party claiming one.

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“The Conservatives are not home and dry quite yet, but they’re certainly in a better place than they were a week or two ago,” said Kay, an associate professor of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Kay’s projections are based on a blended aggregation of polls which surveyed over 9,000 respondents.

Kay says while the latest round of seat projections is not significantly different than those released earlier this week, it reaffirms two key points.

According to Kay, the latest polling data shows that Wynne’s concession statement did not encourage a significant number of Liberals to vote strategically for the NDP, nor did it do any significant damage to the Conservatives. “The data suggests that it didn’t have a very pro-NDP effect,”  Kay said.

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Additionally, Kay says the new data numbers suggest the NDP momentum has stalled. “The NDP aren’t growing anymore. They had been growing throughout the month of May, and that seems to have stopped.”

According to Kay, other news which broke earlier this week concerning a lawsuit filed against Consevative Leader Doug Ford by his sister-in-law in regards to his late brother’s estate, has not had a notable effect on support for the Conservatives.

“There is no evidence, at least at this point, which suggests the lawsuit news has hurt the Conservative party,” Kay said. However, he is unsure how much of the polling data was collected after the story broke on Monday.

While Kay says the map hasn’t moved much since the last round of polling data was released, he says one seat change worth noting is in Guelph.

“We have given Guelph to the Greens, even though on the map it will look grey, because the margin is under five per cent. But that’s the one seat that the Greens have,” he said.

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Kay also noted that a constituency still categorized as “too close to call,” is Ford’s riding of Etobicoke North.

“Frankly, I don’t think Etobicoke North is a lock for Ford at all, even though he got a five per cent bump for being party leader. If he wasn’t running, that seat probably wouldn’t be going Conservative at all,” he said. Kay says on paper it is still a very close seat.

In the event that the Conservatives form government but lose Etobicoke North, Kay says in keeping with tradition, someone within the caucus would likely open up their seat and let him run in their place in a byelection. “That’s what happens typically in these kinds of situations. That’s what we’ve seen in the past.”

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

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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