A Ford-PC wave could sweep Ontario based on recent polls

Here are my first Ontario projections since the election of Doug Ford as the leader of the Progressive Conservative party. The least we can say is that changing leader so close to the election isn't currently hurting the PC, far from it. If anything, Ford's popularity in Toronto and the 905 means the Tories could win a landslide majority.

Before going into the deeper analysis, here are some bullet points for you, busy readers

- The PC's chances of winning are higher today under Ford than they were under Patrick Brown despite Ford being quite unpopular/polarizing among some demographics.

- The Liberals are in a dire situation because they are now polling consistently below 30%. It means that even their safe region of the GTA is now in jeopardy. A nightmare scenario for the OLP is now absolutely possible.

- My model was adjusted to account for the higher than predicted popularity of the PC and Ford in the 416 (Toronto) and the 905 (the GTA). These adjustments might change as new polls come in.

- The NDP could potentially benefit from Ford's election. Its leader, Andrea Horwath is often polled as the least unpopular of the three leaders. But so far the polling numbers haven't move in her directions. The desire for change -very strong- is currently going with the Tories.

Based on the polls conducted since Ford's election (One Forum, Ipsos, Leger, Campaign Research and Mainstreet research today), we get the following projections.

Voting intentions; Seat projections with confidence intervals; Chances of winning.

The chances for the PC are just shy of 100%. If the election was tomorrow, there would be a tiny chance for the Liberals. It'd however require one of the biggest polling mistakes in Canadian history as well as a very efficient vote. Make no mistake, that would be a much bigger surprise than Trump's win for instance.

Please remember that these projections and probabilities are to be interpreted as if the election was tomorrow. But it isn't. With almost 3 months until then, things can still change. But as of right now, there is very little uncertainty as to which party is the most likely to win. Even a majority seems more than likely at this point.

My model used to be quite harsh on the Tories because of the historical trends in the GTA -where the PC didn't do well at all over the last 10 years. However, we have enough polls with regional numbers to see that the current situation is very different. I have therefore made the necessary adjustments. I'll keep working on it obviously but I can't continue to ignore the fact the Conservatives are polling higher than expected. I also need to make sure my regions match with the ones from the various pollsters.

Notice also that the current projections have the PC at the high end of its confidence interval while it's the opposite for the Liberals. This means there are a good 10 seats that are currently projected to go PC by a very small margin. I'll try to be more formal about vote efficiency as we approach the election. It might also be a question of tweaking the regional adjustments. For now though, if you want to be more conservative in your predictions, put the OLP above 20 and the PC closer to 80.

Doug Ford can be a polarizing figure. Polls were showing that Christine Elliott might have been a safer choice. Multiple polls have shown that some soft-PC voters could be turn off by Ford as leader. While I don't deny it, one must admit that voting intentions since he became leader have been very good for his party (and we can't really observe any real trend before/after so far. Also, Ford's popularity in Toronto (and some of the 905) is exactly what his party needed in order to secure a majority. We'll obviously have to wait and see, especially during the campaign. Still, the PC members definitely took some risk by going with such a polarizing figure. The fact the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne is so unpopular and the strong desire for change are currently compensating for this.

The Liberal vote can become quite inefficient below 30%, especially if the PC is gaining in the GTA. This explains why the NDP could potentially win more seats with fewer votes. And as mentioned above, with Ford being at times unpopular and a strong desire for change, the NDP might actually create a surprise in June. I'd absolutely not be shocked by a NDP victory at the end. It's all going to be about representing change for Ontarians. Right now they seem to go with the Conservatives but it could change.

Here below are the riding by riding projections. I have also updated the simulator.