Forum Research (Ont. Provincial - March 26-27, 2013 - +/-3%)
Prog. Conservative: 35% (+3%) - 48 seats (+10 seats)
Ontario Liberal Party: 33% (+1%) - 38 seats (-3 seats)
New Democratic: 26% (-3%) - 21 seats (-7 seats)
Green Party: 5% (=)
Compared to the last Forum poll out in February, both the PCs and the Liberals have gained while the NDP fell back to their lowest levels in a Forum poll since March 2012. The accompanying Toronto Star article for this poll had a great opening paragraph that may explain why: "The longer Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne is in office the more Ontarians seem to like her, a Forum Research poll suggests."
However, not everything is sunshine and lollipops. While Forum's own seat projections give the Liberals a minority government, I wouldn't put too much stock into them - as always, Forum's seat numbers are seemingly based on what riding the respondents are in, and with an overall sample size of around 1,000, there's no way you can get a representative sample within all 107 ridings.
My own seat projection hands the PCs a minority government, with the Liberals not too far behind and the NDP sitting with a good amount as well. This seems like a result much more in line with what the poll is showing in its topline and its regions, 33% simply isn't enough for the Liberals to knock the PCs out when they're sitting above them.
Regionally, the Liberals lead in the GTA, 37% to 33% for the PCs. That lead is mostly built in Toronto, where the Liberals lead with 46% to the PC's 25% and the NDP's 24%; in the 905 Belt, the PCs lead 38% to 32% for the Liberals. At 25%, the NDP are a far cry from the 30%+ they got before in the 905, when the Liberals were collapsing across the province.
The PCs lead in Eastern Ontario, 45% to 27% Liberal, while the Liberals come out first in a three-way race in the North with 33% to 30% for both the PCs and NDP. Its a believable result, and this is where the majority of the NDP loss came from compared to February - that being said, Forum has had an odd history with its Northern Ontario numbers.
In Southwestern Ontario, the PCs lead 38% to the NDP's 30% and the Liberal's 27%. This is where our two expected by-elections will occur in London West and Windsor-Tecumseh - based on those numbers, the Liberals would win London West (39% to 30% NDP), but lose Windsor-Tecumseh (41% NDP to 33% Liberal).
Forum also did some approval/disapproval stuff, with good news for Kathleen Wynne, for whom 40% approve to 34% disapprove. Most of this comes from the Liberals (72% approve), but NDP respondents also gave Wynne a positive rating (41% approval to 30% disapproval).
Tim Hudak is still in trouble, however, with only 27% approval to 52% disapproval!! That's a huge number, McGuinty-esque really. Even a significant portion of PC supporters in this poll disapprove of Hudak (23% to 56% approval). He's absolutely hated among the other party supporters, except apparently among the Greens, of which 32% approve to 53% disapproval - but its a small sample.
For Andrea Horwath, 44% approve to 30% disapprove of her job as third party leader. She earns great scores among the NDP, but also among the Liberals (45% approval) and even the PCs (26% approval). Its a wonder how Horwath, who is immensely popular, can't bring her party up with her to beat the PCs, who have an immensely unpopular leader (but continue to lead anyways).
Forum offers a possible explanation, with further polling on questions such as "who shares your values the most," or "who is best to handle the economy." That latter one is important; 24% say Hudak is best to handle the economy, compared to 23% for Wynne. Horwath, despite her personal popularity, manages only 15%. Even when you take away don't knows or none, Horwath sits at only 22%.
Comparatively, 36% think Horwath's the one that cares the most about the most vulnerable among us - yet we all know which issue is the more pressing one in the minds of Ontarians, don't we.
Anyways, here's a map: