42% of Ontario voters cast their ballots to stop another party from winning: Ipsos poll

Click to play video: 'Ontario Election: What polling data tells us about strategic voting'
Ontario Election: What polling data tells us about strategic voting
WATCH: Ipsos CEO Darrell Bricker tells Global News about what polling data in the days before the Ontario election tells us about how voters in some areas are voting strategically – Jun 7, 2018

New polling data suggests that an unusually large number of voters cast their ballots for one party, specifically to stop another party from winning.

An Ipsos election day poll, conducted exclusively for Global News, found that 42 per cent of voters cast their ballots strategically. This refers to Ontarians who voted for the party they thought stood the best chance of stopping their least favourite party or candidate from forming a government.

“It’s normal but it’s not this normal,” said Sean Simpson, Ipsos’ vice-president. “We’ve got 42 per cent who wanted to make sure another party didn’t win — that’s high compared to the previous election.”

The election was called for the Ontario PC’s and leader Doug Ford on Thursday at around 9:30 p.m.

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He added that many voters found themselves without a favourite candidate this time around. With many responding to previous polls that they didn’t like any of their options, they may have decided to use their vote to prevent another party from taking office.

A previous poll from Ipsos stated that almost half of NDP voters just wanted to stop the Liberals or the Tories from winning.

“When you don’t like any of them, your calculus changes from voting for the one you like best to voting for the one that you dislike the least. And then in doing so, trying to stop another party from forming government,” said Simpson.

New polling data suggests that almost half of Ontario voters had their minds made up before the four-week election campaign even began.

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In addition, the data showed that 44 per cent of voters knew who they intended to vote for on Day 1 of the campaign, which may be the reason support for the Ontario PCs has hardly fluctuated.

The data suggested that the majority of voters were confident in their votes. Over 70 per cent of voters responded that they were sure of their choice, and voted without reservation. This was especially true of voters above the age of 55 across a wide range of income levels, though this confidence was echoed consistently across age groups, income levels, gender and education.

“This was a heck of a four-week campaign, and a lot of the things that we would have expected to have an impact – particularly on the Tories – didn’t. And, so the reason why is because all of half of voters made up their mind before this thing started and it’s likely that it was the Tories who were disproportionately more likely to do so,” said Simpson.

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Ontario PC Leader, and now premier-elect Doug Ford made headlines in recent weeks for both a political and a personal scandal.

In May, Ford was accused of buying Conservative Party memberships for numerous people to help his preferred candidate win, which he has denied. Shortly after, the widow of Ford’s late brother, former mayor Rob Ford, filed a lawsuit accusing the PC leader of using their fortune to support the sputtering family business.

“Half of voters made up their mind before this thing started and it’s likely that it was the Tories who were disproportionately more likely to do so,” said Simpson.

He added that in addition to voters making up their minds early, many went the extra mile to lock in their votes early as well. Based on previous elections, Simpson said Tory supporters were the most likely to cast their ballots before election day. If that theme held true during this vote, he said it may have contributed to the steady support for the Ontario PCs.

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“If you’ve made up your mind before the campaign and you go out on Day 1 and vote, then nothing else that happens can change your vote because you already cast it…. and it’s usually PC voters who are more likely to advance vote and therefore not change their vote simply because of their demographics,” Simpson said.

The poll also found that almost three out of 10 people did not feel good about their vote and that almost half of respondents are hoping for a minority government “because they don’t like any of the options available to them. They prefer a government on training wheels,” Simpson said.

These are the findings of an Ipsos Election Day poll conducted exclusively for Global News on June 7. For this survey, a sample of n=2,600 voters was surveyed via the Ipsos I-Say panel. The results are considered accurate to within +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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