Research and Analysis: 42nd Ontario General Election, June 7th 2018

Research and Analysis
Election Ontario
2018

 

Prepared by Marc Kealey

Kealey and Associates Inc.

Toronto Canada April 18, 2018

Introduction

Post graduate studies at Kent State University in Ohio made mandatory a course in quantitative analysis – a sort of deep dive into statistical analysis. It was one of my favourite courses and taught by noted political scientist Dr. Murray Fishel – also a favourite of mine. On the first day of class Dr. Fishel lectured about the 1936 Presidential election in the United States. That election, as he described it in painstaking detail, was touted as pivotal for Americans – the country had been pounded by the Great Depression and President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” was his way to kick start the economy. It heralded support programs for farmers, American industry, elderly and young people. The Democrats loved the plan, Fishel told us. Not so much for the Republican Party, he said, who nominated fiscal conservative and Kansas Governor Alfred Landon as its candidate for that election.

The 1936 campaign was described as the great choice for voters – spending by the Democrats or fiscal conservativism by the GOP. Media in that year, suggested the campaign would be hotly contested based on a national poll that was conducted. In 1936, a magazine called The Literary Digest ran one of the biggest opinion polls ever to gauge the thinking of Americans on an election. The magazine asked 2.4 million people who they planned to vote for in the 1936 Presidential election: President, Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, or the Republican nominee, Alfred Landon.

The Digest released its poll and predicted the following:

GOP Presidential candidate Governor Alf Landon secured 57% support and would win the election and the White House.

Democrat candidate President Franklin Delano Roosevelt secured 43% support and would likely

lose the Presidency and “the New Deal” would fail.

The poll must have had one of the smallest margins of error in polling. But it was dead wrong! We all know from history that President Roosevelt actually received 62% of the popular vote and almost every Electoral College vote while GOP challenger Governor Landon received only 38% of the popular vote and an embarrassing 8 Electoral College votes.

Although the margin of error was low in the Literary Digest poll – it claimed a margin of error of less than 4% – its sampling was skewed based on the fact it polled its subscriber base. The Literary Digest fell prey to what is known as selection bias. Subscribers of the magazine and members of groups and organizations whom it polled tended to be wealthier than the average American – which accounted for the overwhelming support for fiscal conservative sentiment against the “New Deal”. It was the biggest polling disaster – ever, and cast Governor Landon

into the political wilderness until he died in the late 1980’s.

Polling today is more innovative, but there are still many ways that bias creeps in. For instance, a poll that calls only landlines might leave out a whole demographic of younger opinion holders who only use mobile devices. Other polls are what’s known as “opt-in”, where users of a specific website answer questions, which is less reliable than a random sampling poll.

What does margin of error really mean? In most polls, a pollster typically asks about 1,000 people a question like: “Who do you plan to vote for?” The goal for the outcome that the pollster expects is to be 95% certain that the real level of support in the whole population of the country, province, city, constituency etc., is captured in the sample’s range, from the low end of a margin of error to the high end.

That range is called a “confidence interval.”

A good friend, the one-time owner and now retired Chairman of one of Canada’s best known public opinion agencies, liked to talk about all the polling he provided for political campaigns. He often noted that if he conducted a poll about a campaign or a candidate 100 times, he would randomly select different groups of 1,000 people. In so doing, he would expect that the true proportion — the candidate’s actual support for example — would be found within the margin of error of 95 out of the 100 polls. That’s why he would often say that he’s 95% confident in the results.

However, those five outliers are one reason elections don’t always turn out the way pollsters such as my friend predict.

The chance that what’s happening in reality is captured by a number outside the 95% confidence interval is, as one might expect, quite unlikely. The more outside it is, the smaller the likelihood. But it’s still possible for a poll to be way off and nowhere was that more prevalent than in the US Presidential election in 2016. Every pollster had Democrat Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton winning that election over GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump – overwhelmingly!

If observers really wanted to be 100% confident in a poll’s estimated outcome, there will either have to be a poll that asks every voter or the pollster would have to be satisfied with a huge margin of error.

At K&A we don’t do polls. Our clients expect outcomes to reflect the research we undertake on their behalf – knowing who’s going to win helps clients plan their strategies for dealing with the Party in power. In order for that to occur, we cannot rely on what pollsters “say”, so we’ve developed and we conduct statistical analysis on a riding by riding basis (in Canada) to make predictions on who will win an election and who will make decisions.

During the Presidential election in 2016, we thought it would be an interesting thing to analyze who “might” win the election. Using voter preference research and stats from 5 previous Presidential elections, we studied voter preference State by State and unearthed a trend in favour of the Republicans. In so doing, we predicted that Donald Trump would win that election. We presented our prediction to media friends days before the final vote. It was met with “guffaws” galore. Imagine how pundits and observers felt the day after Trump’s win?

Using the same research tools for provincial elections in Canada, we predicted that the governing Liberals would NOT win the general election in the province of British Columbia and that the NDP would – we were off by two seats. In Manitoba we predicted that the NDP would lose government to the Conservatives where the NDP had held power for almost two decades.

The following are our predictions for the upcoming Ontario election.

Ontario General Election 2018 – a Perspective

The 2018 general election in Ontario will be transformational for the province.

For many, this election is the first time among a generation of voters that they may see a change in its provincial government – from Liberal to something other than Liberal.

In fact, for the first time in 15 years, the governing party (the Liberals) face their toughest challenge with many suggesting that Premier Wynne’s government may not prevail – or even take second place.

Let’s look at the numbers. At present there are 107 seats in the provincial legislature in Ontario. The breakdown is as follows in terms of seats in the current Legislature:

Liberal Party PC Party NDP Other/vacant
55 27 18 7

Because of population growth in Ontario, the election Commission in the province recommended an increase in the number of seats from the current 107 seat Legislature by an extra 16 seats. That noted, there will be 123 electoral constituencies for the 2018 election to be held on June 7, 2018.

To prepare for the campaign, media outlets throughout the province use poll tracking to determine what they believe will be the best outcome for Parties facing off against each other. There is a lot of public opinion going on at present and aggregated polling results from all public opinion polling conducted as of April 10, 2018 suggest the following:

Liberal Party PC Party NDP Green Party
27.2% 42.1% 23.4% 5.7%

In a recent news piece by broadcaster CBC.ca and based on the aggregated polling information it suggested that seat projections would be the following:

Liberal Party PC Party NDP Green Party
16 87 20 0

We hold a different perspective at K&A.

Based on the use of regression analysis – a process for estimating the relationships among variables, we have predicted the outcome of the 2018 election. The results are provided herein including the number of seats for each of the major parties vying to be government.

By way of explanation, elections in Canada can be analyzed on two variables:

  • dependent variables – basically traditional voting preferences (the percentage each Party can expect to receive in terms of votes every election cycle) against;
  • many independent variables (like issues that arise during the election period OR substantial issues affecting a Party, a leader or the jurisdiction under a writ) that determine how voters may also decide who they may

Our research on Campaign 2018 netted analysis that provides to our readers an understanding as to prediction or forecast of outcomes. It should be made clear that there are always variables

  • like scandal or human foibles – that factor into any outcome(s) we predict, so our predictions for Election 2018 might not always lead to causation (voter intent)– but generally it’s

For the purposes of this research, we studied every riding and grouped those ridings into a cluster of proximate ridings consistent with the format used by Elections Ontario.

Then using election data from the previous five (5) elections, we analyzed the trends, arrived at a determination of the victorious candidate based on those dependent and independent variables

  • including traditional plurality (margin of win) for the incumbent against vote changes among other candidates, and predicted the number of seats for each Party . If the aggregated “against” votes overtake the plurality for the incumbent in that riding, we determined a different outcome for that particular riding. If variables do not impact the math, we deemed the incumbent re- elected.

Here are our predictions EAST

Ottawa

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Carleton Goldie Ghamari Progressive Conservative
Kanata – Carleton Merrilee Fullerton Progressive Conservative
Nepean Lisa Macleod Progressive Conservative
Orleans Marie -France Lalonde Liberal
Ottawa Centre Yasir Naqvi Liberal
Ottawa South John Fraser Liberal
Ottawa -Vanier Nathalie Des Rosier Liberal
Ottawa West – Nepean Bob Chiarelli Liberal

Eastern Ontario

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Bay of Quinte Todd Smith Progressive Conservative
Glengarry-Prescott Russell Amanda Simard Progressive Conservative
Hastings-Lennox and Addington Darryl Kramp Progressive Conservative
Kingston & the Islands Sophie Kiwala Liberal
Lanark – Frontenac Randy Hillier Progressive Conservative
Leeds Grenville Steve Clark Progressive Conservative
Renfrew John Yakabuski Progressive Conservative
Stormont Dundas Jim MacDonald Progressive Conservative

Central Ontario

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Barrie Innisfil Andrea Khanjin Progressive Conservative
Barrie Springwater Garfield Dunlop Progressive Conservative
Bruce Grey Bill Walker Progressive Conservative
Dufferin Caledon Sylvia Jones Progressive Conservative
Haliburton- Kawartha Lakes Laurie Scott Progressive Conservative
Northumberland Lou Rinaldi Liberal
Peterborough Jeff Leal Liberal
Simcoe Grey Jim Wilson Progressive Conservative
Simcoe North Jill Dunlop Progressive Conservative
York Simcoe Caroline Mulroney Progressive Conservative

Durham and York

 

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Ajax Rod Phillips Progressive Conservative
Aurora Oakridges Michael Parsa Progressive Conservative
Durham Granville Anderson Liberal
King -Vaughan Stephen Lecce Progressive Conservative
Markham Stouffville Paul Calandra Progressive Conservative
Markham Unionville Amanda Yeung Collucci Liberal
Newmarket Aurora Christine Elliot Progressive Conservative
Oshawa Jennifer French NDP
Pickering Uxbridge Peter Bethlanfalvy Progressive Conservative
Richmond Hill Reza Moridi Liberal
Thornhill Gila Martow Progressive Conservative
Vaughan Woodbridge Stephen DelDuca Liberal
Whitby Lorne Coe Progressive Conservative

Peel

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Brampton Centre   Progressive Conservative
Brampton East   Progressive Conservative
Brampton North Harinder Malhi Liberal
Brampton South   Progressive Conservative
Brampton West   Liberal
Mississauga Centre Tanya Granic Progressive Conservative
Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Mississauga Cooksville Kaleed Rasheed Progressive Conservative
Mississauga Erin Mills   Progressive Conservative
Mississauga Lakeshore Charles Sousa Liberal
Mississauga Malton Amrit Mangat Liberal
Mississauga Streetsville Bob Delaney Liberal

Scarborough

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Agincourt Soo Wong Liberal
Scarborough Centre Mazhran Shafiq Liberal
Guildwood Mitzie Hunter Liberal
Scarborough North Raymond Cho Progressive Conservative
Scarborough Rouge Park Vijay Thanigasalam Progressive Conservative
Scarborough South West Lorenzo Berardinetti Liberal

North York and North Toronto

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Don Valley East Denzil Minnan Wong Progressive Conservative
Don Valley North Shelley Carroll Liberal
Don Valley West Kathleen Wynne Liberal
Eglinton Lawrence Michael Colle Liberal
Willowdale David Zimmer Liberal
York Centre Ramon Estoris Liberal

Toronto and East York

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Beaches East York Arthur Potts Liberal
Davenport Marit Stiles NDP
Parkdale High Park Adam Pham NDP
Spadina Fort York Han Dong Liberal
Toronto Centre Todd Ross Liberal
Toronto Danforth Peter Tabuns NDP
Toronto St. Paul’s Tom Packwood Progressive Conservative
University Rosedale Gillian Smith Progressive Conservative

Etobicoke and York

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Etobicoke Centre Kinga Surma Progressive Conservative
Etobicoke North Doug Ford Progressive Conservative
Etobicoke Lakeshore Christine Hoggarth Progressive Conservative
Humber River Black Creek Deanna Sgro Liberal
York South Weston Laura Albanese Liberal

Hamilton Halton Niagara

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Burlington Jane McKenna Progressive Conservative
Flamborough Glanbrook Donna Skelly Progressive Conservative
Hamilton Centre Andrea Horvath NDP
Hamilton East Stony Creek Paul Miller NDP
Hamilton Mountain Monique Taylor NDP
Hamilton West – Ancaster- Dundas Ted McMeekin Liberal
Milton Parm Gill Progressive Conservative
Niagara Centre Jeff Burch NDP
Niagara Falls Wayne Gates NDP
Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff Progressive Conservative
Oakville Kevin Flynn Liberal
Oakville North Burlington Effie Trianfolopolous Progressive Conservative
St. Catharines Jim Bradley Liberal

Midwestern Ontario

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Brantford Brant Will Bouma Progressive Conservative
Cambridge Belinda Karahalios Progressive Conservative
Guelph Mike Schriener Green Party
Haldimand Norfolk Toby Barrett Progressive Conservative
Huron Bruce Lisa Thompson Progressive Conservative
Kitchener Centre Mary Heinen Thorn Progressive Conservative
Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Kitchener Conestoga Sarah Harris Progressive Conservative
Kitchener South Conestoga Fitz Vanderpool NDP
Oxford Ernie Hardiman Progressive Conservative
Perth Wellington Randy Pettipiece Progressive Conservative
Waterloo Catherine Fife NDP
Wellington Halton Hills Ted Arnott Progressive Conservative

Southwestern Ontario

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Chatham Kent Leamington Rick Nicholls Progressive Conservative
Elgin Middlesex London Jeff Yurek Progressive Conservative
Essex Taras Natyshak NDP
Lambton Kent Middlesex Monte MacNaughton Progressive Conservative
London Fanshawe Teresa Armstrong NDP
London North Centre Susan Truppe Progressive Conservative
London West Peggy Sattler NDP
Sarnia Lambton Bob Bailey Progressive Conservative
Windsor Tecumseh Percy Hadfield NDP
Windsor West Lisa Gretzky NDP

Northeastern Ontario

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Algoma Manitoulin Mike Mantha NDP
Mushkegowuk – James Bay Andre Robichaud Progressive Conservative
Nickel Belt France Gelinas NDP
Nippising Vic Fedeli Progressive Conservative
Parry Sound Muskoka Norm Miller Progressive Conservative
Sault Ste Marie Ross Romano Progressive Conservative
Sudbury Troy Crowder Progressive Conservative
Timiskaming -Cochrane John Vanthof NDP
Timmins Gilles Bisson NDP

Northwestern Ontario

Riding name Incumbent/new MPP Party
Kenora Rainy River Greg Rickford Progressive Conservative
Kiiwetinoong Clifford Bull Progressive Conservative
Thunder Bay Atikokan Bill Mauro Liberal
Thunder Bay Superior North Michael Gravelle Liberal

Totals:

Party Total Number of Seats: 123
Progressive Conservative 66
Liberal 36
NDP 20
Green Party 1

Ontario General Election 2018 – Analysis

There are many factors that have gone into our analysis. For the most part, the backdrop for campaign 2018 will not be dissimilar to the last two elections. Many independent variables played a role in 2011 and 2014 and will again in 2018. Campaigns matter and specifically the leaders’ campaigns will hold the spotlights and they themselves will present the biggest independent variable – we have taken that into account broadly. Our analysis draws the comparison and offers insight into how each leader and his/her campaign will impact the outcome of election 2018.

 

  • Ontarians are just not attracted to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. It is almost indescribable. Focus groups that we have been involved with find her unappealing without actually being able to put a finger on reasons. This flies in the face of her actual appeal in personal encounters – she is genuine and pleasant. Unfortunately, she cannot meet every Ontarian to appeal to them one on one, so her campaign will have to suffice. It may be too late. One variable that we used to determine our analysis was her energy during campaigns – she is a good campaigner and that will carry some weight for her Party during the piece. Another variable is the Budget – it was well received and it appeared to be authentic in its promise as aspirational for every Ontarian across the province. Yet another variable, and perhaps a notable one, is that Ontarians actually agree that the Liberals have delivered reasonably good government despite some of the rhetoric about high debt loads as compared to, say, California. Watch for the campaign team to highlight effective messaging that accurately describes comparisons in debt loads between Ontario other provinces and other jurisdictions – watch for messaging about infrastructure spending and other investments that are linked directly to better outcomes in the province. It is against this backdrop that we offer an outcome diametrically opposed to that which was offered by media at the outset of our analysis. The Liberal Party will lose seats and the government but retain Official Opposition status. Further, we predict that Kathleen Wynne will announce her retirement as Leader shortly after the election opening an enormous opportunity for new leadership and a new brand.

 

  • Many political observers in Ontario and Canada have quite wrongly linked Doug Ford to Donald Trump – misogynist, isolationist, fiscal conservative. There are ads already surfacing with side by side photos of Trump and Ford suggesting that he (Doug Ford) is Ontario’s version of the universally derided US President. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. There is appeal of and for Doug Ford from corners in the province that are unimaginable. He is not part of the elite, he is not unattached from Main Street– he is part of it. His appeal to blue collar workers is as prevalent as his appeal to multi- cultural communities. His appeal to white men is as prevalent as his appeal to ethnic women. Ford Nation has support among the Chinese, East Asian, Black and Caribbean communities as much as the Italian and Eastern European communities. Ford Nation is not the average “white guy” – it is clearly multi-ethnic. Attend a Ford picnic in Etobicoke in August and you’ll see that the attendees are as ethnically diverse as the province. That appeal will be what attracts voters in almost every community across the province and is what the Progressive Conservative campaign team will be banking on to move the math in favour of doubling its current seat count on election night. Doug Ford has already come out swinging in his messaging about how Ontario under the current Government has created higher costs for its citizens in electricity prices, food prices and general costs of living.  Not to mention the huge salaries that agency CEO’s seem to attract, the miles of red tape in bureaucracy and the backroom elites who seem to get all the largess from the Liberal Government. Look for the Ford campaign team to create messages that deliver doubt in the minds of voters on the true value of the province’s debt and its impact on future generations of Ontarian’s. Look too for strong messages about the financial impact of carbon pricing especially at a time when gas prices are high, the cost of living in the GTHA is almost untenable and the fact that he will make clear that the entire issue of climate change cannot and should not be remedied by citizens in the province of Ontario. His messages hope to gain resonance and will be aimed at moving voters from the Liberals to his party. In so doing, he will appeal to voters in key GTHA ridings that ring Toronto including Peel, Scarborough, Halton and Etobicoke – the current areas known as Ford Nation. Ford’s Progressive Conservative voter base is secured in key areas of the province like eastern, mid and south west Ontario – look for breakthroughs in some of the newer ridings – especially in northwest Ontario where Indigenous candidates who have been attracted to Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party are sure to win.

 

  • It’s her time to shine and she’s seemingly risen to the challenge. Despite previous lacklustre campaigns and a unfair characterization of being lazy, NDP Leader Andrea Horvath has come out of the blocks stronger and more confident than ever. Her campaign platform has already been released and it looks good. Here energy level is  high and she has attracted young, smart candidates. Look also for a secret weapon – Jagmeet Singh the super popular and attractive federal NDP Leader who is certain to campaign in key Toronto ridings and in areas where the Party expects a breakthrough – Ottawa for example. The only caveat to her campaign is math. One variable is the traditional NDP voter base is about 18% in the province, so if Horvath attracts votes from the centrist voter (those who may have voted Liberal previously), it may skew the numbers thereby taking away votes from a Liberal MPP, for example, and by extension ensure that Progressive Conservative candidate(s) could sneak up the middle and help that Party win more seats. We have factored this variable into our research, which accounts for why the NDP may not make the breakthrough the Party aspires to make in Campaign 2018. That noted, our research indicated that although she will increase her seat count and show well in the popular vote, she will not be a factor in the new legislative session as third-Party Opposition. This is her third provincial campaign and it’s supposed to be her best shot at forming Government. She will not prevail. Look for Ms. Horvath to resign shortly after the election – likely within the year after, which will usher in a new era of leadership for the provincial party.

 

  • The fact that he will get province wide attention for his spot in the debates will ensure that Green Party Leader Mike Schiener will win his seat in Guelph and make an historic breakthrough with the first seat for the Green Party in the Ontario legislature. Notwithstanding that the party has mythical appeal – especially in a city like Guelph – his role in the debates will give him prominence and voter appeal. The party’s base is not significant enough to be a variable anywhere in the province except the leader’s riding. Historical breakthrough with a seat notwithstanding, the Party will not have standing in the Legislature because it does not have the required number of seats to attain that status. Look for the Leader to be a short-term attraction for the media and unless he can attract a more significant voter base, he will be viewed as an aligned independent member. He will likely not get any Committee work at Queen’s Park and will have no opportunity to ask a question in Question

 

  • The Trillium Party currently has one seat in the legislature. It had plans for a breakthrough including trying to attract MPPs to its fold. That plan has failed miserably in the giant wake of Ford Nation at the helm of the Progressive Conservative Party and huge public support he’s garnered. The Trillium Party candidate is a former Progressive Conservative member who was thrown out of his Party for inappropriate behaviour. The member will likely lose his seat to the Progressive Conservative candidate in the riding and the party will not be a factor in election 2018 and will flame

K&A. Inc. – Canadian public policy and management experts

Proudly celebrating its 11th year providing public policy advice and management consulting to a blue -chip client base in North America, the company has been at the forefront of some of the most comprehensive and controversial legislative initiatives in Canada. As experts in healthcare, gaming and energy K&A helped craft important legislation throughout Canada including; prescription drug legislation in several provinces that has reformed the programs in several provinces and decreased the cost of generic medications. The reforms have also led to increased scopes of practice for pharmacists, technicians and other allied health professionals that has transformed the delivery of healthcare across Canada. Other notable initiatives have been the development of legislation and regulations for smoke free rules across Canada – especially in the development of alternatives to combustible tobacco.

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Its principals have extensive experience in public sector, corporate Canada and are experts in governance. The company is effective at assisting clients who need to weave through the maze of public sector regulation and legislation. K&A personnel speak the language of government and can translate for clients when the language of Government appears incomprehensible.

More importantly, we get results because we can hold governments’ feet to the fire.

Our communications department is savvy beyond words, our media database is one of the most comprehensive in Canada and is capable of developing and delivering for our clients. Our expertise in communications helped to deliver on Canada’s most effective cyber targeting legislation that has been heralded for its protection against bullying and targeting.

For more information about K&A,

Email: info@kealeyandassociates.com

Website: www.kealeyandassociates.com

To arrange an interview contact,

Daniela Cavatassi,

Email:  daniela@kealeyandassociates.com

Phone: 905-625-3002 ext. 227

To contact the author of this report,

Marc Kealey,

Email: marc@kealeyandassociates.com

Phone: 905-625-3002 ext. 224

 

Listen to Marc Kealey speak about election research and outcomes below,

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