It’s just one poll, but … today’s Angus Reid poll is a shocker. (Or not — see below.) Never mind the headlne 10-point Conservative lead nationwide. We don’t have national elections in this country: we have a series of regional contests. Look, instead, at Ontario: Tories ahead 14 points, 44-30.
Reid’s press release notes that these numbers “would provide virtually the same results as the 2008 ballot.” In a pig’s eye. The Tories took 39 per cent of the vote in Ontario in 2008 (to the Liberals 34 per cent) — enough to win 51 seats. But with every percentage point in the popular vote above that, you take in about 5 more seats. In the 2004 election, the Liberals’ 44 per cent popular vote (to the Tories 31%) was enough to take 75 seats.
Provincially, using the same riding boundaries, Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals translated a 42-32 popular vote lead in 2007 into 71 seats. In 2003, a 46-35 margin was good enough for 72 seats. Mike Harris won 82 seats in 1995 with a 14 point margin (45-31). So it’s probably safe to say that Reid’s numbers would give the Tories 75 seats.
All else being equal, 24 more seats in Ontario would be more than enough to put the Conservatives in majorityville.
BUT: Again, it’s just one poll. Still, averaging the four most recent polls (Reid plus Ekos, Ipsos, and Leger), the Conservatives lead the Liberals in Ontario by 9 points, 42-33 — enough for, say, 65 seats.
BUTTER: Okay, fair enough: Reid had the Tories ahead in Ontario by the same margin in last week’s poll. [/Shocked.]