Majority within McGuinty's grasp on eve of Ontario election, poll suggests

The Globe and Mail

Ontario Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty is reflected in a poster as he takes questions from reporters at a campaign stop in Vaughan on Oct. 3, 2011. (Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Liberals have pulled away from the pack and are on track to win a third majority government in Ontario, according a poll by Ipsos Reid released Tuesday.

The poll “suggests the Ontario Liberals are headed back into government at Queen’s Park with an assured minority and poised for a potential historic three-peat majority.”

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The pollsters said regardless of Thursday’s vote, Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty will walk away a winner. The only question is whether he commands a majority or minority, according to the poll.

The poll puts the Liberal party at 41 per cent among decided voters, the Progressive Conservatives at 31 per cent and the NDP at 25 per cent. Most polling has shown the Liberals and Conservatives running in a dead heat.

“In July, an Ipsos Reid poll showed Hudak with an eleven-point lead, saying that it was Hudak’s election to lose,” Ipsos Reid said. “Over the course of the last three months, Hudak’s Tories have dropped 11 points, while McGuinty’s Liberals have gained 10 points, a complete reversal in fortunes.”

The poll has the Liberals leading with 42 per cent in the GTA, compared to 32 per cent for the Tories. The NDP is at 21 per cent.

» In Central Ontario, the Liberals are at 36 per cent to the Tories 35 per cent. The NDP is at 24 per cent.

» In Eastern Ontario, the Liberals are at 50 per cent and the Tories are at 35 per cent. The NDP is at 13 per cent.

» In Southwestern Ontario, the Liberals are at 36 per cent and the Tories are at 28 per cent. The NDP are at 34 per cent.

» In Northern Ontario, the Liberals are at 28 per cent and the Tories are at 28 per cent. The NDP are at 40 per cent.

“The Liberals are in reach of a majority government, but the deciding factor on election day will be the ability of each party to mobilize its supporters and get out and vote,” Ipsos Reid said. “While the majority (59 per cent) of decided voters, overall, are ‘absolutely certain’ that the party they currently support will be the one they support on election day, Tory voters appear most committed to their choice.”

Ipsos Reid said the gap between the parties was likely too big for the Tories to close, “even with the most committed voters in the electorate compared with a less enthusiastic Liberal base.”

The poll was conducted between Sept. 30 and Oct. 3, using a randomly selected sample of 1,020 adults. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points,19 times out of 20.

Meanwhile, a survey released by Abacus Data later in the evening said while the Liberals will win, their margin is still up in the air. It has the Liberals at 38 per cent, Conservatives at 34 per cent, NDP at 24 per cent and Green Party at 4 per cent.

It interviewed 1,000 people between Oct. 3 and Oct. 4.