Wednesday, February 13, 2013

London West By-Election Poll: 34% PC, 30% OLP, 28% NDP

There's supposedly a new by-election poll out from Forum Research that has focused on the provincial riding of London West, which shows a relatively close three-way race, though the PCs seem to have something of an advantage.

Forum Research (London West By-Election*)
Prog. Conservative: 34% (+4.5%)
Ontario Liberal: 30% (-15.7%)
New Democratic: 28% (+6.3%)
Green Party: 4% (+1.6%)

Compared to the 2011 results, there's been a big drop for the Liberals in the riding, but the votes have been split fairly evenly, with the NDP taking a bit more than the Tories, But, coming from so far behind (21.7%), the NDP still end up third.

This poll varies pretty wildly from my rolling average, unlike the Windsor-Tecumseh by-election poll done earlier, which shows the PCs in third at 27%, with the Liberals and NDP tied roughly at 34% each. This is, of course, a riding-specific poll, and they don't necessarily have the best track record - but, of course, neither to swing projections like mine!

But, the advantage I have is that I've been doing a rolling average based on poll results, so we can do a comparison between this poll, and what an average of polls has been saying about the political situation in Ontario. Assuming that this poll is generally accurate, we see the NDP and Liberals underperforming the average swing so far, with the Tories beating expectations. What might this say about where London West's voters are right now?

As I mentioned in my overview of London West, the riding is more suburban than its counterparts in London North Centre or even London-Fanshawe. There is a small urban core, and that trends NDP, but it isn't big enough for the social democratic party to win. The Liberals, who also poll well in the urban core, combine it with their suburban support to form a great winning coalition, evident by Bentley's huge victories pretty much right across the riding in 2011. In order for the NDP to win, they either need to create the same coalition, or hope for low turnout in the suburbs and high turnout in the core.

What we could be seeing with this poll is that the NDP have failed to earn that suburban support, and instead it has gone to the Tories. While the NDP have risen, they haven't caught on as much as the average regional swing expected. That is what I think the most likely scenario is - if this poll is accurate. That's the danger, because we won't know until E-day.

*When I get the actual PDF from Forum, I'll replace this link from the Toronto Star Proper link is now up.

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