Ontario PCs Lead Liberals by 11 - But Gap Would Narrow if Early Election Called

Posted by David Valentin
— 3 min read
Ontario PCs Lead Liberals by 11 - But Gap Would Narrow if Early Election Called

July 2, 2024 (Toronto, ON) – A new Liaison Strategies poll for the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC) finds Doug Ford PCs leading Bonnie Crombie's Ontario Liberals by 11 points. However, if an early election were called it would become a 5-point race.

Conducted from June 26-27, 2024, using interactive voice response technology, the poll surveyed 1,245 Ontario voters. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 2.77%, 19 times out of 20. Liaison is a member of the Canadian Insights Research Council (CRIC).

"An early election would shake up Ontario politics," said David Valentin, Principal at Liaison Strategies.

"While the PCs have a strong 11 point lead if the election were held today, we asked respondents how they would vote if an election were held in 2025 after informing them the next scheduled election is in 2026. PC support mostly holds but drops from 39% to 36%. In other words, they hold onto 92% of their decided vote. However, the drop in support contains problematic regional numbers for the tories - and it also pushes the province-wide undecided from 17% to 21%."

Regional Changes in Decided & Leaning Voting Intentions. Margins of error are greater for regional subsamples.

"The regional shifts are most problematic for the PCs in Northern Ontario, Toronto and South Central Ontario (Hamilton and Niagara). In the North the PCs drop from 1st to 3rd, in Toronto instead of trailing the Ontario Liberals by 3 points they would be behind by 10 points, and in South Central it would flip from a 3-point lead for the PCs to a 6-point lead for the Ontario NDP."

"It's worth remembering that Ontario had an early election in 1990. Back then, it was Ontario Liberal Premier David Peterson who called an early vote. Opposition parties decried the cost of an early election and accused the government of trying to get ahead of the Patricia Starr trial. One would imagine that if an early vote were held next year the opposition parties would once again bring up the cost and swap Patricia Starr for the RCMP's Greenbelt investigation."

"The preamble we wrote into our question did not raise any argument the opposition parties might make but did point out what the media is likely to raise: that Ontario has fixed election dates and that the election was being held early before the government's mandate was finished. The question also does not test the rationale Premier Doug Ford would invoke to justify an early election (since we don't know what that might be). He will want a clear and concise reason for going early."

"No pollsters in 1990 believed at the start of the campaign that Premier David Peterson would lose the election. And no one believed at the start (and some even near the finish!) that Bob Rae and the NDP would form a majority government."

"While the PCs would take an immediate hit in support, no one can predict what would happen during an election campaign. An early election would be a calculated risk and it's very possible that PC voters that switch from PC to undecided would ultimately vote PC. It's also possible the PCs would lose and a Liberal or NDP government would be elected."

"The Ontario Legislature has risen and will not return until the fall. For now, the PCs hold a strong 11 point lead but an early election would change everything," concluded Valentin.


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