Abacus Data is out with a new poll of the provincial scene here in Ontario, their first since the October 2011 election. The topline numbers don't replicate Forum's recent boost for the Liberals, though it does put them at a relatively good level (as compared to other recent polls). A close three-way race in Canada's largest province would probably be an apt description of what is currently going on, with an advantage, however slight, for the Hudak PCs.
Abacus Data (Ontario Provincial - December 7th-8th, 2012)
Prog. Conservative: 35% - 48 seats
New Democratic: 31% - 34 seats
Ont. Liberal Party: 28% - 25 seats
Green Party: 5%
Obviously I don't have much to compare the numbers to, given that this is Abacus' first poll here in over a year. Nevertheless, its what I'd call "expected."
There is a bare Liberal lead in Abacus' "GTA and Toronto" regional, 32% to the PC's 31% and the NDP's 28%. I suspect if we broke that down to 905 vs. 416, the Liberals would have a larger lead in Toronto, while the PCs and NDP romp around outside of it. That, or the NDP and Liberals are competing inside Toronto, while the PCs own the suburbs. Take your pick, I suppose.
Outside of T.O., or in the "Rest of Ontario" - what a stupid, stupid regional - the PCs lead with 39% to the NDP's 35%, and the Liberal's 22%. I have a hard time believing that, as you'd expect a NDP increase to come more from Toronto, not the "RoO." I know in 2011 there was a definite increase in non-GTA ridings for the NDP federally, but there was a much larger increase for them in GTA ridings, especially in Toronto proper. I'd chalk it up to sample size, but that might be insulting. You can check out the map below to see who wins where in this hodgepodge.
Abacus also polled respondents opinions of the current candidates for the provincial Liberal leadership. They had it a bit disjointed, so I've put it below, ranking from best known to least known.
24% Favourable, 21% Unfavourable, 55% Neutral/Unknown (All respondents)
44% Favourable, 10% Unfavourable, 46% Neutral/Unknown (2011 Liberal Voters)
14% Favourable, 14% Unfavourable, 72% Neutral/Unknown
25% Favourable, 9% Unfavourable, 66% Neutral/Unknown
13% Favourable, 13% Unfavourable, 74% Neutral/Unknown
22% Favourable, 9% Unfavourable, 69% Neutral/Unknown
11% Unfavourable, 9% Favourable, 80% Neutral/Unknown
18% Favourable, 9% Unfavourable, 73% Neutral/Unknown
16% Unfavourable, 3% Favourable, 81% Neutral/Unknown
18% Unfavourable, 6% Favourable, 76% Neutral/Unknown
8% Favourable, 8% Unfavourable, 84% Neutral/Unknown
15% Favourable, 6% Unfavourable, 79% Neutral/Unknown
10% Unfavourable, 4% Favourable, 86% Neutral/Unknown
10% Unfavourable, 9% Favourable, 81% Neutral/Unknown
Charles Sousa, it seems, is the least known or cared about candidate so far, a shame given that his campaign has been interesting. That contrasts, of course, with Gerard Kennedy, the most known candidate (though 55% still aren't interested, or don't have an opinion - 46% for Liberal voters in 2011), whose campaign I couldn't care less about. With that notoriety, Kennedy has the highest favourable opinion numbers, but also the highest unfavourables. With fame comes hatred, I s'pose.
Wynne and Pupatello break even, as does Hoskins. Murray and Sousa both have a big favourabe-unfavourable deficit, but I put that down more to lack of knowledge or strong opinions about the candidate.
Harinder Takhar, meanwhile, has a huge deficit. I'm not sure what exactly he's done to make people have an unfavourable opinion of the guy. As I mentioned before, he's got a good platform going so far. Yet 16% of all respondents don't care for him, as well as 18% of 2011 Liberals. That's bigger than the better-known Wynne and Pupatello. What gives?
Anyways, it doesn't mean too much. Its a delegated convention, after all. Yet once again, Kennedy seems to be the more well-known choice for the Liberals. I wonder if that is a winning argument or not.