Ontario Liberals lead Tories by Two

pdf-icon-transparent-background2As the Ontario election campaign enters its second half, no party has a clear lead in vote intention.  The Liberals have a small lead among all eligible voters and among those most likely to vote, they have leaped ahead of the PCs and now lead by three points. The NDP remains competitive but still well back in third place.

The Liberals continue to do well in Toronto but the race is very tight in the vote and seat rich region around Toronto.  The Liberals and Tories are deadlock at 33% in the GTA region with the NDP not far back at 25%.

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Despite the fact that the advertising ban was lifted on Wednesday May 21, interest in the campaign has not increased since the previous week of polling. Moreover, 60% of eligible voters still report not being contacted by any party or campaign.

At this stage of the campaign, survey data indicates that the Liberal and PC campaigns have been most active province-wide however respondents living in NDP held ridings were more likely to report being contacted by the NDP; a sign that the NDP is concentrating on the ridings it currently holds as well as a handful of ridings it thinks it can win.

Despite the Liberal lead, only 24% of eligible voters believe the Liberals and Kathleen Wynne deserve to be re-elected.  51% think it is time for another party to take over while 25% say they are unsure.  This group of “unsure about change” voters is the key to understanding how the election campaign may ultimately turn out.

Right now, the Liberals lead among these “unsure about change” voters (OLP 26%, NDP 16%, PC 12%) but 39% are still undecided about how they will vote.

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While many will likely not turn out to vote, the Liberal lead is built around these voters not shifting their opinion on “time for a change.”  If a large portion of these voters shift their preferences or do not turn out to vote due to a lack of motivation, it will be very difficult for the Liberals to win.

None of the challenging parties seem to be gathering momentum so far in the campaign.  If the mood for change is going to grow and firm up, neither Hudak or Horwath are making that happen so far.  This may change if more voters start paying more attention to the election.  Wynne may not being moving forward but she is at the very least holding her own, against a mood for change.

These voters are the most important target for the NDP as it seeks to expand beyond the 25% support it has because these voters are not intense in their desire for change but are not convinced the Liberals deserve another term in office.

Key Findings

  • There has been little movement in vote intention in the past week.
  • Liberals have a small two-point lead among committed eligible voters (OLP 34%, PC 32%, NDP 25%). 15% of eligible voters are undecided.
  • Liberals lead among likely voters (OLP 36%, PC 33%, NDP 24%).
  • 51% of eligible voters think it is time for another party to take over.  24% believe the Liberals deserve to be re-elected.  25% are unsure.
  • Among those unsure about whether it is time for a change, the Liberals lead by 10-points over the NDP.
  • Liberals lead in Toronto and Eastern Ontario (area codes starting with K). PCs ahead in southwestern Ontario. OLP and PCs tied in Greater Toronto Area (postal code starts with L)
  • NDP tied with Liberals in the North.
  • Tories lead among those aged 60 and over, men, and those living in rural communities.
  • 60% of eligible voters report not being contacted by a party or a campaign.  24% report being contacted by Liberals, 22% by the PCs, and 14% by the NDP.
  • Interest in the campaign has not change since the previous week of polling.

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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 21 to 24, 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 864 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.