Ontario election blues 2014 : a junkie’s journal, May 14 — what a difference etc .. new poll says Liberal majority

May 14th, 2014 | By Randall White | Category: In Brief

Ontario Premier and Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne (left) and Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion make their way out of the room after addressing the media in Mississauga on Wednesday May 14 , 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young.

In what increasingly does seem like the wild and crazy “northern uprising” of the 2014 Ontario election, the counterweights editors aptly enough opined only yesterday : “anyone who is hoping that Kathleen’s Liberals will win at least another minority government on June 12 probably ought to be a bit worried. If the May 9 Ipsos Reid poll of 821 residents holds up in any degree at all, it is not just that the Conservatives are ahead at the moment. The New Democrats are, so far at any rate, doing almost as well as the Liberals!”

Today late risers among those with the same hopes woke up to better news. A new Forum Research poll of 996 residents on May 12 has found 38% for the Wynne Liberals, 35% for the Hudak Conservatives,  21% for the Horwath New Democrats, and 5% for Mike Schreiner’s Greens. And, given the much greater “seat-efficiency” of the Liberal vote, Forum Research (albeit rather controversially) calculates that, on these percentage popular vote results, “the Liberals would secure 68 seats in the 107-member legislature, the Conservatives 26, and the NDP 13.” (A bare majority is 54 seats!)

As if this were not good enough news for Premier Wynne and her party, Forum’s latest poll also finds that : “In terms of personal approval, Wynne was at 38% … Horwath was at 35% … and Hudak was 23%.”  Similarly, only 26% of those polled approve of Tim Hudak’s plans for “cutting 100,000 public-sector workers.” (Some might be reminded of Hugh Segal’s ancient wisecrack that the core Tory vote on a good day in Ontario is 25%.)  And “63% do not think the Progressive Conservative leader will be able to create his promised one million new jobs.”

As icing on at least today’s old Ontario Clear Grit cake, the at last about-to-retire but ever popular 93-year-old Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion has just endorsed Kathleen Wynne — and opined that a Wynne majority government is just what Ontario needs right now. (And this could arguably do some good for the Liberals in the wider 905 suburbs and exurbs of the Greater Toronto Area, where the May 9 Ipsos Reid poll suggested they do need some help.)

It would no doubt be rash for Liberal supporters to start breathing too much easier at the moment. In the broader scheme of things over the past month or so, what this latest Forum Research poll confirms is that there is still a lot of volatility in Ontario about provincial politics. There are still four weeks left in this campaign — which is arguably just starting to heat up, in the way many seasoned observers seem to feel it ought to, given everything at stake. And (quite apart from the home truth that a week is a long time in politics) we already know that things look different today from yesterday. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Candidate Joe Cimino poses with NDP leader Andrea Horwath at a campaign stop in Sudbury.

Meanwhile, both Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath have been trying to flesh out their own plans today. (See : “Hudak vows to wipe out Ontario’s deficit in 2 years … and make drastic changes to the provincial government” ; and “Andrea Horwath vows NDP would cut $600 million in spending.”) Horwath’s plans include appointing a new “Minister of Savings and Accountability” to “ensure that departments respect your tax dollars.” Some may believe this is already the longstanding job description for the Minister of Finance. Others may think it’s no accident that Joe Cimino, the NDP candidate for Sudbury, “looks strikingly like a young Rob Ford.”

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