Anyone still muttering about how the ghost of Bob Rae will ensure the NDP never wins in Ontario needs to give their head a shake. A new Ipsos poll has the NDP at 37% across the province and the PCs one point behind at 36%.
Voters are not only long past the Bob Rae days, many voters were not alive or politically active when Rae was in office. Someone born in May, 1995 is now 23 years old. Someone who was 12 in 1995 is now 35.
These voters aren’t worried about Bob Rae, they are choosing who will replace Kathleen Wynne.
I’ve been dismissing some of the hype around the NDP as wishful thinking. Sure, they have come up in the polls but some of it was hyped well beyond what the numbers warranted.
Now Ipsos is speaking and I am listening. The NDP is rising up in areas that the PCs need to form government.
PCs are losing support where it counts.
Most concerning for the PCs should be where the NDP has picked up support, it is in the 905 belt around Toronto.
“Conservatives usually tend to be strong in 905 area, and it disappeared in this poll,” Ipsos Public Affairs CEO Dearrell Bricker told Global News.
The latest numbers put the NDP at 36% in the 905 region, the PCs at 35% and the Liberals at 27%.
A poll released just a week ago had the PCs with a massive 20 point lead in the 905. On May 15th the PCs sat at 49% to the NDP’s 29% and the Liberals 26%. That means that if this new poll is accurate, and I trust Ipsos, the PCs are losing swing voters to the NDP.
The PCs still lead in Toronto where 37 per cent would vote PC, 34 per cent would vote NDP and 27 per cent would vote Liberal. In Eastern Ontario we are seeing something I never remember seeing, the NDP in second.
In the area from Kingston through the Ottawa area it is normally a two horse race between the Liberals and PCs. Now the PCs sit at 40%, the NDP at 30% and the Liberals at 28%.
The PCs lead in Central Ontario, the NDP leads in Southwestern Ontario and Northern Ontario.
This race is up for grabs.
The battle for Ontario is a battle to replace Kathleen Wynne and after coasting in the lead for months now, the PCs are facing a challenge.
That also means the NDP will face a challenge. Andrea Horwath and her party will face more scrutiny now that they are viewed as a possible government in waiting. We can expect more stories on NDP candidates and platform promises like the sanctuary plan.
Will the NDP win? I’m not ready to say that yet but they could. The PCs could also pull this off.
The only thing I think everyone agrees on is that the Liberals are done and Kathleen Wynne may even lose her own seat.