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Can all the Ontario polls be right?

A few months ago, I wrote about why poll consensus may be a thing of the past.

Yesterday, we released our latest Ontario election numbers that appeared to show the complete opposite of what another recent poll revealed. Our poll, here shows a wider lead for the PCs than we found back at the end of March, here.

But another poll was also released yesterday, from Ekos Research, showing a substantially different number but still a substantial lead for the PCs over the Ontario Liberals.

A few people raised concerns about the 18-34 spread in our poll showing a substantial lead for PCs. That spread is similar in the Ekos Research poll and as Frank Graves noted, there is a substantial gender divide. When I look a little deeper at our sample, that trend is consistent with what Mr. Graves found, among men who are 18-34, the lead for the PCs is enormous, and among women 18-34, the lead for the PCs is reduced, with the NDP increasing significantly among women 18-34.

The obvious question is, can all the polls be right?

My answer is yes, but admittedly, that is just my opinion. I will elaborate on the reasons why I believe all three recent Ontario polls are right, despite showing substantially different numbers.

The Forum Poll, here, showed a substantial tightening of the race in the days following the Ontario budget. Its important to remember the field date, which in this case was March 28-29. This snapshot likely captured the initial reaction to the Ontario budget, a very substantial shift and likely other factors including some recent bad media for Doug Ford. It’s worth noting that in some of our riding work, we were finding a similar tightening during that same timeframe. I had fully expected to get results showing a tightening from our last poll of March 17-18, and was genuinely surprised at the results. The sample itself was not surprising, it was very robust with a large cellphone ratio and a max weight just over 2.

The Ekos poll, here, has a very long field, between March 20th and April 5th. I am sure this longer field was a very deliberate effort to capture public opinion that is in flux in Ontario at this time.

The Mainstreet poll was done at the tail end of the Ekos field dates. I suspect we caught the peak of the budget backlash and it is hard to imagine that these numbers are sustainable for the PCs given the net negative favourability score of Doug Ford.

So yes, I believe all three polls are correct and a very good example of why polls are called snapshots.

– Quito