Forum Research (Ontario Provincial - February 27-28, 2013*)
Ontario Liberal Party: 32% (+3%) - 41 seats (+16 seats)
Prog. Conservative: 32% (-4%) - 38 seats (-17 seats)
New Democratic: 29% (+1%) - 28 seats (+1 seat)
Green Party: 5% (=)
Compared to the last Forum poll, its a close race, but at least its a win for us, the first based off a Forum poll in a long time. I consider this good news, considering that Forum's polls are the closest we have to regular polling.
Regionally, there are some disparities. In Eastern Ontario, the parties are all in a close three-way race, with the Liberals and PCs tied at 32%, and the NDP sitting right behind at 31%. This region isn't exactly a hotbed for the Dippers, so I'd chalk that up to small sample size more than anything else.
Moving on, the Liberals have a strong lead in Toronto (38% to the NDP's 29% and the PC's 28%), and a small lead in the greater 905 Region (34% to the PC's 32% and the NDP's 26%). This is what gives the Liberals a lead in the seat count even though they're tied with the PCs.
In Southwestern Ontario, the PCs have a strong lead with 39% to the NDP's 28% and the Liberal's 27%. Usually the NDP are up much higher in this region, and that gives them a leg up on the Liberals who usually lag behind. But, if they continue like this, that advantage is gone. All the more important considering that our two by-elections are in here - in this poll, the NDP lead in Windsor-Tecumseh, 40% to 35% (last time it was 45-30); while in London West, the Liberals lead 40% to the NDP's 29% (before it was a three-way race) . What a difference it makes, eh?
In Northern Ontario, the funky Forum numbers we had last time are gone, with the NDP now leading 38% to the PC's 32% and the Liberal's 25%.
As I said, this is all somewhat surprising given the issues we've had to deal with recently, namely that damn gas plant cancellation. This issue won't go away (mostly thanks to the Opposition), and despite what you may think, it is damaging. In certain lights it comes off as another cynical pandering for votes done by the Liberal government. Not a good story to dominate the headlines right now. Just ask Christy Clark.
It's especially not good considering that it seems like we're going to head into an election soon. I've been hearing rumours from everywhere that the PCs and NDP are getting their candidates into place and gearing up for a fight. The Liberals are hopeful to avoid an election, but are also preparing for it just in case.
I, for one, am looking forward to defending not just Wynne's leadership, but also the McGuinty legacy. Bring it on, I say.
Forum released a poll simultaneously that asked respondents four different questions: one of Andrea Horwath's rhetoric about forcing an election on auto insurance rates; about an inquiry into the gas plant cancellations; about holding the Liberals in contempt over that issue; and about their support for the teachers in the whole dispute.
Suffice to say, the responses to these questions was overwhelmingly unfavourable to the Liberals. Give it a look.
Anyways, here's a complimentary map.