NDP surges forward in new Ontario election poll; maybe Doug Ford won't become premier

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Judging from the results of the latest Ontario political poll, voters who dislike Doug Ford are increasingly seeing the NDP as the best vehicle to stop him.

      Abacus Data's David Coletto has written that the Progressive Conservatives' lead has evaporated in his company's latest survey.

      It means that Ford, brother of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, may not cruise into the premiership when voters go to the polls on June 7.

      The PCs chose Ford in March to replace Patrick Brown, who had a huge lead until being sideswiped by a CTV #metoo story. That's now the subject of a defamation suit.

      Ford's PCs have the support of 35 percent of decided voters, compared to 34 percent for the NDP, which is led by Andrea Horwath.

      That's a five percent gain for the NDP from Abacas Data's previous Ontario election poll.

      The Liberals under Premier Kathleen Wynne have fallen five percentage points to 24 percent. The Greens are at five percent, which was no change from the previous poll.

      According to Coletto, the PCs "have structural advantages within the electorate that make them the favourites still if these numbers hold to election day".

      However, he also noted that the NDP can win and that it has the momentum.

      This weekend, however, Horwath had to admit a $1.4-billion math error in her party's platform.

      Money that was set aside as a reserve fund was booked as revenue. This revelation came after the platform had received the seal of approval from former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page.

      The Abacus poll was based on two samples: a panel of 4,685 Ontarians whose voting intentions have been tracked since early April and a new sample of 1,140 Ontarians.

      "Both samples, the panel and the new sample, are weighted independently so each matches the Ontario population," Coletto stated in a blog post. "Results are comparable across the two samples and I’m confident they provide us credible estimates of what the public is feeling and thinking about this election."

      The growing support for the NDP has come from "all sources: undecideds, Liberal, and PC".

      "Also important to note is that the desire for change within the electorate has not dissipated at all," Coletto stated. "Nothing the Liberal campaign has done to this point has softened the desire for a change in government."

      The desire for change can be a powerful motivation for provincial electorates after a party has been in power for a long time.

      The Liberals took power in 2003 under Dalton McGuinty, who won two subsequent elections. The Liberals won their fourth consecutive Ontario election in 2014 under Wynne.

      A similar pattern has unfolded in recent history in three western provinces, where the desire for change led to new governments being elected after a party had served four terms in office.

      The B.C. Liberals won three consecutive elections under Gordon Campbell and a fourth under Christy Clark before finally being defeated last year.

      In Manitoba, the New Democrats won three consecutive elections under Gary Doer and one term under Greg Sellinger before being trounced by the Progressive Conservatives in 2016.

      Saskatchewan's Roy Romanow won three straight elections and his New Democrats stayed in power for a fourth term under Lorne Calvert. But in 2007, they were defeated by Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party.

      Back in the 1970s and 1980s, B.C.'s Social Credit government won three straight majorities under Bill Bennett and a fourth under Bill Vander Zalm. But the party was nearly obliterated in 1991 and has never elected an MLA since then.

      If Ontario voters act like those in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and B.C., they will have a new premier next month.

      The only question is whether the election winner's surname will be Horwath or Ford.