Monday, November 22, 2010

National Post: "McGuinty may fall victim to Ontario's anti-incumbent trend"

I found this little doozy in an article on National Post's website this morning, the caption under a very sad looking picture of Dalton McGuinty. The article itself was about an Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by the NatPost for the Ontario provincial scene, given the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, led by Tim Hudak, a 9-point lead over the governing Ontario Liberals, with the ONDP coming up third with 20%, and the Greens with a paltry 7%.

Using UBC's Election Forecaster, we get these results based on this poll:

PC: 65 seats
Lib: 24 seats
NDP: 18 seats

A huge PC victory, almost rivalling that of McGuinty's. Some results of note include the loss of McGuinty's own seat of Ottawa South to the PC's; 10 of the 23 seats in Toronto going to the PCs, 7 to the Liberals, and 6 to the NDP; and nearly-total domination of Northern Ontario to the NDP, save for Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie which stay in Liberal hands, and Parry Sound and Nippissing, which go to the PCs. I even created a pretty map for everyone to look at.

But, before we declare McGuinty all but dead, let's remember that he's been in this sort of situation before. Back in 2005, he was regularly behind John Tory's PCs during the height of the healthcare premiums uproar, according to Wikipedia's archives of polls. I remember back then as well, most people didn't think McGuinty could ever be elected to a second term. And with 11 months to go until election day, McGuinty still has a very good shot at turning things around. It's clearly happened before.

But wait, there's more! What of this "anti-incumbency" effect that the columnists at our dear paper referenced? Is this what will drive McGuinty out of office?

While the municipal elections did certainly have high profile races, there wasn't a hilarious amount of "anti-incumbency" going on, even if there was a clear disgruntlement among the population against currently sitting politicians. Sure, Toronto's open-seat mayoral race could be considered the crest of an anti-incumbent wave, but what about the 85% return rate for sitting City Councillors? Or the 66% return rate of incumbent mayors in the GTA? Going by those simple numbers, based on the "anti-incumbency effect," there's probably a 70% chance of McGuinty winning again - that's just how powerful anti-incumbency is!

Of course, that's probably over-simplified to a very great extent. But, I'm not sure putting any McGuinty turfing down to "anti-incumbency" is the proper thing to do. After all, even in the recent United States mid-terms, 85% of incumbents won in that huge anti-incumbency wave. I wonder what the National Post would do for headlines if McGuinty had an 85% chance of winning re-election...

Let's face it: McGuinty is not an overly popular politician. He's made hard, sometimes dumb, but mostly hard decisions that aren't popular but help move things along. He'll pay for that in the long-term, and if he does lose the next election, we should put it down to that more than anything.


  1. I like your refreshing perspective BLUNT and FYI whatever the polls say, I'm expecting to run as a LIBERAL candidate in the upcoming Provincial election !!!

  2. Really? What riding are you going to run in?