Liberals lead Tories by 7; Closer race among likely voters

pdf-icon-transparent-background2

Download the detailed report

With just under two weeks to go in the campaign, the Liberals continue to maintain a small advantage over the PCs.  Among eligible voters, the Liberals have opened up a seven-point lead, but among those most likely to vote, the Liberals and Tories are statistically tied with the Liberals at 37% and the Tories at 35%.  The NDP has failed to gain any momentum, despite Andrea Horwath’s more aggressive strategy last week.

While the debate could shake up the race, deeper analysis of the poll results suggests that the Tories have little room to grow beyond its current support and there is little enthusiasm for the NDP among the key swing groups that would consider voting NDP.

committed

likelyvoters

Consider these findings: among those who would consider voting Liberal or NDP but not PC, the Liberals lead the NDP by 20-points.  More importantly, when asked how they would react to a Liberal, PC, and NDP government, these voters were more likely to be “delighted” with a Liberal win, few were delighted if the NDP won, and almost all would be dismayed if Tim Hudak was able to form a PC government.  The state of mind among these voters bodes well for the Liberals as they seek to squeeze the NDP by raising fears about a Hudak government.

electionoutcomes

The upside for the Tories is that their supporters appear to be more motivated and more likely to vote, hence the small gap between them and the Liberals among likely voters.  However,  it is clear that the first three weeks of the campaign have been won by the government, not the challenging parties. The PC campaign needs to reverse this direction in order to win – the debate carries extraordinary stakes for Mr. Hudak now.

Interest in the campaign remains remarkably low at this stage, with only 22% of eligible voters saying they are following the campaign closely and only 36% saying they have given quite a bit of thought to the campaign.

The leaders’ debate could increase interest but all signs at this stage point to another low turnout election in Ontario and a legislature that looks very similar to one at dissolution.

Key Findings

  • The Liberals have opened up a 7-point lead over the PCs with 37% for the OLP, 30% for the PCs and 24% for the NDP.
  • Among likely voters, Liberals lead by 2 over Tories (OLP 37%, PC 35%, NDP 22%).
  • Liberals continue to lead among key swing groups – including those who would consider voting Liberal or NDP and those who would consider voting PC or Liberal.
  • 32% of eligible voters think the Liberals will win while 22% think the PCs will win.  Four in ten (39%) are unsure who will win the provincial election.
  • We also asked respondents to tell us how they would feel if each of the main parties formed a government.
  • Eligible voters were more likely to be “dismayed” if Mr. Hudak and the PCs formed a government (44%) while 36% would be dismayed if the Ontario Liberals formed a government.  Respondents were less likely to be dismayed at the prospect of an NDP government led by Ms. Horwath (31%) and were more likely to say  they wouldn’t mind an NDP government.
  • Interest in the campaign has not changed since the previous week of polling.

Methodology

The survey was commissioned by the Sun News Network and conducted online with 1,000 respondents who are eligible to vote in Ontario. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of Ontarians, recruited and managed by Research Now, one of the world’s leading provider of online research samples. The survey was conducted from May 28 to 31, 2014.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys.   The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.  The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 875 committed voters of the same is +/- 3.4 %, 19 times out of 20.

Likely voters were identified by creating a six-point scale based on seven questions about a respondents interest in politics, their intention to vote, whether they have voted already, and the attention they have paid to the election campaign.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Ontario’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding. For more information please contact David Coletto, CEO at david@abacusdata.ca or at 613-232-2806.