Still “too close to call” in Ontario .. but what if it’s a different kind of David Tsubouchi “electoral upset next week”?

Oct 1st, 2011 | By Randall White | Category: In Brief

It is running candidates in a number of ridings. But one thing we already know for certain is that the Communist Party of Canada will not be forming the next Government of Ontario. It is nonetheless a testament to the vitality of the regional democracy that it is in the race!

GANATSEKWYAGON, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2011. Not counting today, there are only four days left until all who really care go out and vote in the Ontario election, on Thursday, October 6, 2011.  For more or less hard evidence on why so many still say “it’s too close to call,” see the four most recent polls:

Environics, Sep 26–28: PC 36%; Libs 35%; NDP 25%; Greens 3% ; Leger, Sep 28–29: PC 34%; Libs 32%; NDP 29% ; Nanos, Sep 28–29: Libs 38%; PC 34%; NDP 26%; Greens 2% ; and  Angus Reid, Sep 28–30: PC 34%; Libs 33%; NDP 26%; Greens 6%.  (Another Nanos poll,  based on a “three-day rolling sample,” and released late this afternoon, showed Libs 38%, PC 35%, and NDP 25%.)

In case you think these numbers mean that, on the whole, the Hudak Progressive Conservatives (ie “PC”) are still ahead, if just barely, look again at today’s edition of Eric Grenier’s “weighted aggregation of the most recent polls” at ThreeHundredEight.com. The numbers above refer to province-wide popular vote percentages. What finally counts is number of seats in the 107-seat Legislative Assembly of Ontario. And because the PC province-wide vote tends to bunch up in a few regions (“Central Ontario” eg), it is less “efficient” in generating seats than the Liberal vote.

This “Éric Grenier (debout, au centre), entouré des belles” is, we assume (perhaps wrongly?), not the same one who presides over ThreeHundredEight.com. But he is Canadian — and anyway, “entouré des belles,” who cares?

So … Eric Grenier’s weighted aggregation for October 1 gives the PCs 34.2% of the province-wide popular vote, the Liberals 34.1%, the NDP 25.9%, and the Greens 4.5%. But the most likely scenario generated by the “ThreeHundredEight.com … seat projection model” still gives the very razor-thin Liberal majority I first alluded to this past Tuesday, just before the TV leaders’ debate. In fact, the results of the debate have very slightly shifted Mr. Grenier’s most likely scenario in favour of Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats — but “very” is the key word here. The “ThreeHundredEight.com … seat projection model” is now saying Liberals 54 seats, PCs 32, and New Democrats 21 (as opposed to the earlier Libs 55, PC 32, and NDP 20!).

In a 107-seat current Ontario legislature, 54 seats is the absolute barest of majorities. And the Liberals would have to let the Speaker’s job go to one of the other two parties just to hang on by the skin of their collective teeth. Another recent projection or prediction, however, has put some slightly bolder true Grit thoughts in my mind, just to keep the next few days interesting.

Hon. David Tsubouchi (“the last of the Ontario Red Tories”?) addresses the Rotary Club of Brampton, just three days before he lost his Markham seat in the 2003 McGuinty Liberal sweep of Canada’s most populous province.

My text in this case comes from the former (uncharacteristically progressive-conservative?) Mike Harris cabinet minister David Tsubouchi, on the excellent Ontario News Watch website : “When voters are angry — and right now they’re very angry, says …  Tsubouchi — anything can happen. The former PC cabinet minister predicts an electoral upset next week, one way or another.” The key words in this “electoral upset” prediction, I think, are “one way or another.” And (again just to lighten the mood of the last weekend before the election), I have devised the following perhaps quite unlikely but arguably not quite certifiably insane preliminary “upset” seat projection for October 6: McGuinty Liberals 56 ; Horwath New Democrats 26 ; and Hudak Conservatives 25.

As evidence of a comparative lack of certifiable insanity in this particular upset seat projection, I note that Leger pollsters have recently commented on how “it’s not unthinkable that Horwath could inch into second place.” The conventional wisdom is no doubt that on this scenario the Liberals would find themselves in third place, as they did in the May 2, 2011 federal election. But there is now much to suggest that the Ontario provincial election of October 6, 2011 has  developed its own dynamics. Whatever else, the McGuinty Liberals are not as beleagured as their federal Ignatieff cousins were then. Eric Grenier is still predicting a razor-thin McGuinty Liberal majority on October 6. And an Angus Reid Ontario poll right after this past Tuesday night’s leaders’ debate suggested that “Conservative-leaning voters are more likely to start thinking about a move to Horwath than Liberals by a margin of five to one.”

C.W. Jefferys’ concept of the French adventurer Étienne Brûlé’s early 17th century arrival in ancient Huronia or Wendake (present-day Simcoe County) — the opening act in the modern history of the region now known by the aboriginal word “Ontario” (said to mean “rocks standing by water”).

So …  Who really knows? David Tsubouchi’s “electoral upset next week, one way or another” could just wind up meaning a third Liberal majority (albeit a razor-thin one, in one degree or another), and a third-place finish by the Hudak Conservatives — who as recently as the middle of this past August still held a 10-point lead! It is also possible, no doubt, that Tim Hudak himself could wind up with his own razor-thin majority (as some Conservative partisans still believe). And a host of intriguing minority government scenarios loom on the horizon of the inland seas. The only absolute certainty is that it won’t be much longer now when we learn the real truth about what the people want — in the mysterious early 21st century incarnation of the ancient lands of The Children of Aataentsic and beyond.

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