My general sense of the just-concluded Ontario election campaign is that the race got tighter at the end and that Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals will barely eke out a majority or finish with a big minority, easily kept in power by Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats—at the urging of the powerful public service unions, her real masters—for, at least, 30 months and maybe for the full four-year term.
Recently, I felt the Liberals were surging above 41% in support—strong majority territory—and the NDP were moving into the mid-twenties. This would have left Tim Hudak’s PCs about where they finished under John Tory’s leadership, 31%. But today I’m more optimistic about the PCs’ chances and less bullish about both the Grits and the Dippers.
A lot depends on the vote-split between the right of the NDP (is there such a thing?) and the left of the Liberals, of course, and whether these splits come in ridings in which the PCs have a chance of benefitting from a strong NDP showing. My guess is the Tories will benefit somewhat, but not enough to upset the Grits—just enough to put a bit of a spoiler on their victory celebration.
So, with crystal ball firmly clutched in both hands, I offer this prediction for tonight:
Liberals at around 39%, Progressive Conservative around 34%, NDP at about 21% (maybe a tad higher) and the Greens at around 3% of the vote. I also predict a fairly low voter-turnout, somewhat less that 55% of eligible voters.
I’m terrible at seat projections—too many variables—but, just for fun, I’ll put some numbers up so you can tell me how wrong I was: Liberals: 53–56, PCs: 30–35 NDP: 18–22 seats.
There’s room for a long-shot minority victory by Hudak, but even so, since I can’t see either the NDP or the Liberals allowing him to form a government, it really will be McGuinty’s night one way or another.