The outcome of Thursday’s election in Ontario will likely be determined by voter turnout in key ridings, according to a new poll that shows the Progressive Conservatives, Liberals and NDP in a tight horserace.

The Ipsos Reid survey, conducted between June 6 and 11, showed all three parties within three percentage points, while the margin of error is within plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

Here are the results for decided voters:

  • Liberals: 33 per cent (-2)
  • PCs: 31 per cent (-4)
  • NDP: 30 per cent (+4)
  • Other: 5 per cent (+1)

All eyes will be on the Greater Toronto Area on Thursday as it shapes up to be the province’s main battleground at the polls. The PCs and Liberals are neck-in-neck in the region, with the NDP not far behind. For this reason, voter turnout in the region could significantly impact the final vote tally, as each party rallies its supporters to the polls. The PCs continue to have an advantage in that regard, but the gap is narrowing.

As the campaign nears its end, Tory voters also appear to be the most committed to heading to the ballot box. Among those who say they will support the PCs on election day, 65 per cent are “absolutely certain” that they will not change their mind, the poll found. Among NDP supporters, 49 per cent say they are certain of their choice, while 47 per cent of Liberals indicate the same.

Desire for change

The desire for change remained consistent throughout the month-long campaign, which was triggered in early May after NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said her party would not support the Liberals’ budget.

Approximately 68 per cent of Ontarians said they believe it is “time for another provincial party to take the helm at the provincial legislature,” compared to 32 per cent who said, “The Liberal government under Kathleen Wynne has done a good job and deserves re-election.”

Meanwhile, 61 per cent of Ontarians believe the province is headed in the wrong direction, a number that also remained relatively static as candidates continued on the campaign trail.

Best premier

Ontarians appear to favour Horwath as the party leader who would make the best premier. Following the televised leaders’ debate on June 3, an Ipsos Reid viewer poll found Horwath to be the most likeable of all the party leaders. The popularity of Wynne and Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, however, appears to be slipping.

  • Andrea Horwath: 38 per cent (+5)
  • Kathleen Wynne: 33 per cent (-5)
  • Tim Hudak: 29 per cent (-3)

Split on election outcome

Ontarians are split on Thursday’s election outcome. While 50 per cent think that the Liberals will take power at Queen’s Park, 34 per cent say the election will hand the PCs power, and 15 per cent say the NDP will win.

Among Liberal supporters, 86 per cent think Wynne’s party will win, which suggests a level of complacency among party voters.

In comparison, only 77 per cent of PC voters believe their party will win, which could motivate their base.

Approximately 35 percent of NDP supporters think Horwath will win the election. Also, 22 per cent of NDP supporters think the PCs will win, which could suggest last-minute votes for the Liberals in an effort to stave off a PC government.

With no agreement on who should take power, Ontario is likely to wind up with another minority government. As the campaign ends, Ontarians indicate that though they want a majority government, they are warming to the idea of a likely minority government. Among Ontarians, 20 per cent most desire a Liberal majority (-3), while another 20 per cent would choose a Liberal minority (+4).

Among likely voters, however, 27 per cent would like to see a PC majority over a Liberal-led majority.

The poll surveyed 1,991 Ontarians. It is accurate within plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.