Polls say PCs in commanding position with three weeks left
Scott currently the choice of 55 percent of decided voters in HKLB
In less than three weeks, voters across Ontario will be going to the polls to elect a new provincial government. Recently released polling data by 338Canada.com suggests that election day is going to be a good one for Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservatives locally, regionally and provincially.
Locally, incumbent Progressive Conservative Laurie Scott could be cruising to the biggest victory of her election career currently polling 55 percent of the decided voters in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock. The Liberals sit a distant second with 18 percent, the New Democratic Party with 17 percent, the Greens with 6 percent and the New Blue Party of Ontario polls 2 percent.
Despite seven other candidates in the race, Scott appears to have little problem separating herself from the field. Taking a lead from her party leader, Scott has avoided at least three debates. In fact, as of press time, we hadn’t heard of any debates in which she was participating.
Regionally, the Progressive Conservatives seem poised to win five of eight seats in central Ontario, most by embarrassingly large pluralities. The Liberals hope to win back both Peterborough-Kawartha and Northumberland-Peterborough South and 338Canada.com lists both races too close to call. These two riding’s outcomes may be decided by how many disaffected Progressive Conservatives abandon their traditional political choice and mark an ‘X’ for either the Ontario Party or the New Blue Party of Ontario. Former Progressive Conservative MPP Jim Wilson, who now sits as an independent, is expected to hold onto his seat in Simcoe-Grey.
Provincially, according to 338Canada.com, the only thing that seems in real question will be how large a majority Ford and his Progressive Conservatives will win.
In 2018, the Progressive Conservatives won 76 seats, the Liberals seven, the NDP 40 and the Greens 1.
Going into the election of 2022, 338Canada.com identifies 32 “safe seats” for the Progressive Conservatives, three for the Liberals, five for the New Democratic Party and one for the Greens. A safe seat is generally defined as one where the incumbent candidate stands a convincing chance of victory based on a decade’s old history of support for both them and/or their party. Locally, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock is deemed to be a safe Progressive Conservative seat.
With that initial level of almost guaranteed representation at Queen’s Park, the Progressive Conservatives are already half way to commanding a majority of 63 members and forming the next provincial government. 338Canada.com says it is 84 percent likely that the Progressive Conservatives will win a majority government in June, with as many as 99 seats if every competitive riding broke their way.
338Canada.com suggests that the Liberals will likely grow from seven to 21 seats, largely at the expense of the New Democratic Party. Liberals are desperate to win at least ten seats and regain official party status with the crucial provincial funding that comes with that designation. The ceiling for the Liberals, if everything was to go perfectly on election day, is 48 seats and official opposition status.
338Canada.com has some worrying data for the New Democratic Party who have spent the last four years as the official opposition. Polling show the NDP running 15 percentage points behind the Progressive Conservatives and 5 points behind the Liberals. Their best possible outcome on election day is predicted to be 34 seats. A more likely total is 21 seats, potentially ending up in a tie with the Liberals for number of seats, leading to some interesting decisions being made by parliamentary experts regarding which party might take on the role of the official opposition.
The Greens are predicted to hold onto their one seat in Guelph, but with their polling numbers stalled in and around 5 percent no further inroads are expected from Ontario’s fourth party.
338Canada.com has noted the presence early in this election cycle for at least one of the new ideologically conservative parties contesting this election. The New Blue Party of Ontario is registering in many local, regional and provincial polls garnering between 2 and 3 percent of the registered vote.