Ford on Track for Slim Majority, Horwath ahead of Del Duca with 17 Weeks to Election Day
Toronto – January 27, 2022
A new public opinion poll by Counsel Public Affairs shows opportunities for Ontario’s three main parties.
Province-wide, Doug Ford’s Ontario PCs hold the lead (decided or leaning voters) over both Andrea Horwath’s Ontario New Democrats and Steven Del Duca’s Ontario Liberal Party. If an election were held today, poll respondents would vote 34.9% for Doug Ford’s Ontario PCs, 30.5% for Andrea Horwath’s Ontario NDP, 24.2 % for Steven Del Duca’s Ontario Liberal Party, 4.4% for Mike Schreiner’s Ontario Green Party, and 6% for other parties.
With the return of the Legislature on February 22 and only 17 weeks until election day, all leaders will be kicking their campaigns into high gear and hoping to lay the groundwork to move these numbers in the upcoming election.
Counsel’s detailed regional breakouts showcase opportunities for all parties.
“Political leaders will claim the only poll that matters is the one on election day”, said David Murray, Senior Consultant with Counsel Public Affairs. “While true for determining who wins the office, right now is one of the most critical moments in the pre-campaign period. Parties are drafting their platforms, developing their message tracks and crafting their strategies for persuading voters.
“Currently, Peel region is shaping up to be a hotly contested battleground. All three parties have significant room to grow in Peel, which holds enough seats to decide the election.
“Based on our analysis, as of today, we would expect the PCs to win a slim majority with 67 seats (-9 seats from 2018), the NDP to win 39 (-1 seat from 2018), the Ontario Liberals to win 17 (+10 from 2018) and the Greens to win one (= seats from 2018),” added Murray.
The poll of 2,273 Ontarians who are eligible to vote was conducted from January 21 – 23, 2022.
While today’s results provide a snapshot of the race today, swing voter analysis reveals the potential areas of growth. Swing voters are those who are not currently voting for a given party, but who have indicated that party as a second choice or show an openness to switching their vote based on positive impressions of the party brand or leader.
Doug Ford’s Ontario PCs: Strong base, eyeing expansion.
- Peel Region will be very competitive, with opportunity for Ford’s PC’s to grow, but the other parties will be eyeing opportunities there as well. Eastern Ontario also has high potential growth.
- 24% of males aged 18-34 and 25% of fathers whose children live at home are Ontario PC swing voters.
- Of note, 19% of those who belong to a public sector union are also PC swing voters.
Andrea Horwath’s Ontario NDP: Ford’s main rival, takes lead in opposition primary.
- Horwath’s biggest opportunity to grow, like Ford’s, is in Peel Region, followed closely by Northern Ontario.
- 24% of mothers whose children live at home and 21% of females aged 35-54 are NDP swing voters.
- 23% of those who identify as a visible minority and 23% of those who belong to a private sector union are also NDP swing voters.
Steven Del Duca’s Ontario Liberal Party: Slow to start, but capable of growing.
- Unlike Ford and Horwath, Del Duca’s path to expansion runs primarily through the City of Toronto. 25% of Torontonians are considered Liberal swing voters.
- 23% of fathers with children living at home, and 28% of females aged 18-34 are Liberal swing voters.
- 24% of those who are private sector union members and 21% of those who identify as a visible minority are Liberal swing voters.
Strategic Voting, Opposition Primary can change the race instantly.
There is tremendous gain to be had for the opposition party that can frame itself as the one that can unseat the government.
- Among Steven Del Duca’s current voters, 42% would definitely switch and 28% would consider switching their vote to stop Doug Ford from winning.
- Among Andrea Horwath’s current voters, 40% would definitely switch and 25% would consider switching their vote to stop Doug Ford from winning.
The race between Del Duca and Horwath is to determine who has the best chance to unseat Doug Ford. If either emerges as the consensus choice of progressive voters, the volatility among swing voters and those willing to vote strategically could determine the outcome of the election.
In the coming days, Counsel Public Affairs will be releasing polling on issues of concern to Ontarians, notably COVID-19, inflation and housing.
Counsel Public Affairs is excited to add opinion research to its suite of services, including government relations and communications. In the lead up to the June 2, 2022 Ontario General Election, we will conduct additional polling to help you and your organization understand Ontario’s ever-changing political landscape.
The full summary of findings and analysis from Counsel’s poll can be found at counselpa.com/counsel-research.
Counsel surveyed 2,273 people over the period of January 21 – January 23, 2022, using the Lucid Exchange Platform, which blends a variety of partner panels. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.1 percent, 19 times out of 20. Results were sub-regionally weighted to the 2016 Census for age, birth sex, and education, along with 2018 provincial vote.