Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ontario 2011 election results - analysis

Results map of the 2011 Ontario election by riding. 

Ontarians went to the poll last month, and now I've finally been able to post my official post-election analysis. Ontarians elected their first minority government in 26 years, with the Liberal Party winning a plurality of seats at 53, one shy of a majority. The Tories will remain the official opposition, increasing their seat count to 37, and the N.D.P. also increased their seat count, to 17.

Dalton McGuinty
Progressive Conservative
Tim Hudak
Andrea Horwath
Mike Schreiner
Sam Apelbaum
Family Coalition
Phil Lees
Paul McKeever
Elizabeth Rowley
Northern Ontario Heritage
Edward Deibel
Special Needs
Danish Ahmed
Bradley J. Harness
Confederation of Regions
Paramount Canadians
Ranvir Dogra
People's Political Party
Kevin Clarke
Andy Lehrer
Vegan Environmental
Paul Figueiras
Trueman Tuck
The Only Party
Michael Green
Human Rights
Marilyn McCormick
Canadians' Choice
Bahman Yazdanfar
Pauper Party
John C. Turmel

The Liberals lost 18 seats that they had won in 2007. The Tories picked up 11 of these, and the NDP picked up 7. The Liberals went down 4.6% in the popular vote. Both the Tories and the N.D.P. gained, 3.8% and 6.0% respectively. It was the NDP's best election since forming government in 1990. The Greens meanwhile lost much of their support, and were down 5.1% from from their best result in 2007.
Much of the Liberal loss came from rural Ontario, which swung heavily to the Tories. They were able to hold onto their urban seats though, something the federal Liberals had trouble doing in May.

The polls for the most part were fairly accurate. Forum Research was almost right on the money, giving the Liberals 37%, the Tories 36%, the NDP with 23% and the Greens at 3%. All the other pollsters were within the margin of error.

Where I went wrong
Overall, I did quite well with the results in Ontario. I did overestimate the Tories and underestimate the Liberals, however. I posted my predictions before some of the final polls came out, and that can be blamed for that. However, other predictors went the other way, and predicted the Liberals would get a majority. I was certainly benefited from receiving the riding by riding results of Forum Research's mega survey done during the campaign, which I may have relied on too heavily, but wasn't too far off the mark in some races. Overall I just got 9 ridings wrong, or just 8% of the seats. From browsing other predictor websites, it was tied for the most accurate prediction (with

Brant was one of those races that if I took into some of the final polls to be released into consideration, I may have flipped. The Liberals held on to this seat by 1000 votes. While much of the riding is rural, its main centre of Brantford kept the riding from being swept up in the Tories' rural sweep of the province. Perhaps, I was a little too focused on the fact that the Forum Research poll said the Tories would win here. I predicted the Tories would win by 5 points, but the Liberals won by 2. Overall, I was off by an average of 2-3% for each of the major parties.

Essex was the riding that surprised everyone on election night. The seat was vacated by the retirement of Liberal Bruce Crozier. This meant that this seat was up for grabs. The conventional wisdom thought that because this seat is held by the federal Tories, that their provincial counterparts would win as well. But that was not the case. The N.D.P.'s Tarys Natyshak won in the surprise of the night. I did predict the NDP to do well in Essex, I had them losing the seat by 5%. They won in a close race by just 1400 votes, or 3% ahead of the Tories. Overall, I was off by an average of about 3% per party.

All the signs seemed to point to this rural Francophone Eastern Ontario riding going Tory this election. The Liberals were late in nominating their candidate, and what's worse was they nominated an Anglophone. The federal Conservatives have also held this seat since 2006. I do recall in the Summer predicting this seat going Liberal, but I got an email from someone saying I was dead wrong. I did my homework, and decided I was. The Forum Research poll seemed to agree with me as well. It was a close race though, the Liberals won the seat by 1300 votes. I was off by an average of 3% per major party, but I was really wrong with the Liberal and Tory votes, as I had the Tories winning by 14%!

Kenora—Rainy River
Until now, it seemed to me that no matter how much the NDP improves on its past performances, they always lose a seat or two in the process (e.g. They lost two seats in the federal election). However, that did not happen in this provincial election, even though I was sure it would happen here in Kenora. Firstly, the seat was vacated by former NDP leader Howard Hampton, meaning it was up for grabs. Secondly, the federal NDP has been having trouble in this seat, one of their few hold outs in the region. The seat is held by the Conservatives in Ottawa. That, and the fact that Forum Research agreed that the Tories would win, meant that I was pretty certain the Tories would win here. The NDP did win the seat pretty handily, by 2600 votes and nearly 50% of the vote. I was off by an average of over 5% per party here. That includes a 13% discrepancy for the NDP, which I had losing 44-37.

Ottawa West—Nepean
This is another seat I probably would have flipped had I seen the final polls. It was still a very close race, with the Liberals edging out the Tories by just 1000 votes. It was closer than the by-election held the year prior that made me believe the Tories had a shot here. And of course, Forum Research predicted a Tory victory! (starting to see a trend here?) To my credit, I did have the Tories only winning by 2%- the margin the Liberals won by. I was very close to the actual results, being an average of less than 2% per party.

I thought if the Liberals were to keep one rural seat, it would be this one. After all- you guessed it- Forum Research had them winning it. While I knew the Tories would win most of the rural Liberal seats across the province, I knew it was possible that there may be one or two hold outs due to personal popularity. I thought Liberal MPP John Wilkinson would fit the bill (and I wasn't the only one to think this). To my credit again, it was a close race. The Tories won by just 600 votes. However, that darned Forum Research poll screwed me when it came to my numbers, as I only gave the Tories 27% in the riding. I was off by an average of over 5% per major party, including 14% off of what the Tories got.

Forum Research did I think three riding polls of Sudbury. The final two (at least) showed a close race between the NDP and the Liberals, but both showed the NDP on top. This seemed quite fathomable, as the NDP won a surprise victory here in the 2008 federal election against a popular Liberal incumbent. I had figured a similar scenario was about to occur in this election. The final result did show that the polls were correct in predicting a close race. The Liberals won by just 500 votes. My prediction showed an even closer race, with both parties at 39%. The Liberals got 42, and the NDP got 41%. I was off by an average of less than 2% for each major party.

Thunder Bay—Atikokan
Thunder Bay—Atikokan also had some riding polls that showed the NDP with a narrow lead. It was also the NDP's primary target in the province, having only lost the race the race by 50 votes in 2007. However, they weren't able to win the seat, as the Liberals ended up increasing their margin to 500 votes. I predicted the NDP would win by 3%, with 37%. They actually got 38% of the vote, but the Liberals did much better than I thought, getting 39%. I was off by an average of 3% per party.

York South—Weston
It was round 3 of the Liberals' Laura Albanese against the NDP's Paul Ferreira. The two first duked it out in a by-election in 2007 where Ferreira won by 350 votes. A few months later however, Albanese won in the general election by just 500 votes. It seemed with the NDP polling higher in the province, that it was time for the party to win the seat back. However, the Liberals were polling quite well in Toronto, meaning that this seat would likely be quite close. Polls agreed with that assessment, but the more recent riding polls showed an NDP lead here. And word on the street seemed to agree. However, it was not to be. Albanese increased the difference to 800 votes in her victory. I thought the NDP would win by 4%. I was off by an average just over 2% per party.


Liberal % change (2007-2011)
Liberal change 
In this map, red is bad for the Liberals, and there is a lot. Those are the ridings where they lost support. Notice how most of those seats are in rural areas, where the Liberals lost much of their support. They did gain in many ridings though, especially in urban areas like in Ottawa and Toronto. People in Toronto saw what happened with vote splitting in the federal election, and voted Liberal to stop the Tories. There were a few rural gains for the Liberals. In Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound for example, the Liberal vote increased due to the collapse of the Greens. In Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, they benefited from having an incumbent that won in a by-election that they didn't have in 2007. 
Progressive Conservative % change (2007-2011)

Progressive Conservative change
This map is mostly green, because the Tories increased their support in much of the province. The Tories increased their vote especially in rural areas and in Northern Ontario. There's only a few ridings where they lost support. There's Haliburton--Kawartha Lakes--Brock of course where they faced a Liberal incumbent they didn't have to in 2007. And of course, there's those smattering of seats in Toronto. Don Valley West is the darkest red, where their former leader, John Tory ran in 2007. Bramalea--Gore--Malton also sticks out, as many Tories voted NDP this election due to the popularity of their candidate, Jagmeet Singh in that riding. 
NDP % change (2007-2011)

NDP change
The NDP map is also fairly green, as they also increased their support across the province. Their best increases came in ridings with strong candidates, like in Essex, Bramalea--Gore--Malton, Niagara Falls, Scarborough--Rouge River, and the leader's seat of Hamilton Centre. The biggest decreases were in the two seats held by popular incumbents who chose to retire. The NDP vote was down big time in Kenora--Rainy River where former leader Howard Hampton retired, and in Welland where Peter Kormos retired. 

Green % change (2007-2011)
Green change
The Green change map is perhaps the most depressing. Not one riding showed an increase in votes for the Greens. Not even their leader could increase the vote % for the party. Some of the party's worst losses in votes came in areas in which they did quite well in 2007. This is most evident in Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound, which was their best seat in 2007. 

Liberal popular vote %
Liberal popular vote map
Liberal vote strength was concentrated in urban parts of the province. Their best seats came mostly in the Greater Toronto Area. They also had strong showings in Thunder Bay, Ottawa, London and Windsor. Their worst seats came in more rural parts of the province, mostly in ridings they did not have incumbents. These include areas like Kenora--Rainy River, Timmins--James Bay, Parry Sound--Muskoka, Haldimand--Norfolk, Leeds--Grenville and Renfew--Nipissing-Pembroke. They also did poorly in Oshawa, the only riding in the GTA that was a Tory-NDP race.

PC popular vote % map
PC popular vote map
Tory support is generally the inverse of the Liberals, with their strengths mostly in  rural Ontario, and weaknesses in urban areas. Except for Kenora--Rainy River and Timmins--James Bay, the Tories are still the third place party in Northern Ontario. Their worst seats came in the most urban parts of the province, like in Ottawa Centre, and downtown Toronto. A belt of ridings beginning in York West, and going south to Lake Ontario and turning east until Beaches--East York was especially an empty zone for the PCs. They also did poorly in Hamilton, where much of the anti-NDP votes went to the Liberals. 

NDP popular vote % map
NDP popular vote map
The NDP had their best ridings in their traditional areas. They did very well in Northern Ontario, where they won 5 ridings. They also did well in Hamilton, where they won all three urban seats, and in that belt of ridings in Toronto, where they won 5 seats, and finished 2nd in the other 3. Of particular note was the party doing quite well in southwestern Ontario. They may have only won 2 ridings, but they did better than average in the other ridings, including the rural races. The weakest NDP ridings were in suburban and exurban Toronto (except for Bramalea-Gore-Malton) and in rural eastern Ontario. 

Green popular vote % map
Green popular vote map
The Greens were reduced to their traditional "Green triangle", in the area northwest of Toronto. These areas are  rural and exurban in nature, but whose agricultural traditions are different from the large farms of southwestern Ontario. These areas are attractive to certain Green-friendly voters. The best riding for the Greens was the exurban riding Dufferin-Caledon, which they also did quite well in the federal election. The worst areas for the Greens were in the more populist rural areas like in Northern Ontario, and in Southwestern Ontario. The Greens also did quite poorly in the inner-suburban GTA. 

1 comment:

  1. I hope Tim Hudak, and the PCs will take down McGuinty's Liberal Government as soon as possible!!!