Ontario election too close to call: Pollster

Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 6:37 PM ET

TORONTO — As politicians like to say, election day is the only poll that counts.

But in a survey of voters during the two days leading into Thursday’s election, Abacus Data Inc. found the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives in a dead heat with 36% support each among likely voters and the NDP in third place with 23%.

Among committed eligible voters, the Liberals are ahead 35% to the Tories’ 32% and the NDP’s 26%.

Abacus president David Coletto said Wednesday the race is simply too close to call.

“The primary reason why I’m not making a prediction about who will win this (is) because there are so many external factors that a pollster can’t really measure — the weather (Thursday), the fact there’s a World Cup game in the afternoon,” Coletto said. “Added to the fact, there’s a lot of cynicism towards all the parties, this whole ‘decline your ballot, none of the above’ narrative that has been bubbling during the campaign shows up in our numbers.

“In that kind of environment, the teams that have the best ground game might surprise us in certain ridings and that could change the outcome if it’s the difference between five or six seats for one party or the other,” he said.

Abacus polling done throughout the campaign pointed to a rift in the province.

Coletto said voters have different views about the state of the province’s economy depending on where they live.

In southwestern Ontario, where significant manufacturing job losses have occurred, voters are looking for a change in government, he said.

Torontonians, who tend to have a positive view of the economy, are much more likely to back the incumbents, he said.

“If the Liberals do win, it’s because they basically swept Toronto and held on to most of what they had in the Greater Toronto Area. They’re as competitive in our polling as they were in 2011,” he said. “Where they’ve taken steps backwards are in other regions, particularly in southwestern Ontario, and so it really is increasingly a divided province.”

Abacus Data surveyed 1,882 eligible Ontario voters online from June 9-11, and the results have a margin of error of 2.3 percentage points.

 


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