The House

Battleground Watch - Ontario

More than a third of the 338 seats up for grabs Oct. 19 are in Ontario. How are things shaping up in the vote-rich province? CBC analyst Éric Grenier looks at Battleground Ontario.
Toronto and its suburbs could hold to key to the upcoming federal election. (CBC)

Call it the final rehearsal before the actual election campaign show gets underway. 

This week, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair kicked off an eight-day tour of Ontario in a bid to gain support in the vote-rich province ahead of the October election.

It's easy to see why he and other party leaders might want to spend plenty of time criss-crossing Canada's most populous province in the next three months.

After all, more than a third of the now 338 seats up for grabs Oct. 19 are in Ontario. Of the 30 new seats this election, 15 are in Ontario, mostly in the densely populated, suburban Greater Toronto Area — an area that often plays a crucial role in provincial elections. 

So which party currently has the edge there? And how might the new ridings shake up former strongholds of Tory or Liberal support?

The CBC's polls analyst Éric Grenier is here to shed light on the province's electoral landscape.

"If the Conservatives pick up three points all from one party, that suddenly changes the race," Grenier says in his latest Battleground Watch

"That's why you're seeing Thomas Mulcair in Ontario, because it's an extremely important province."

The Conservatives have an "ingrained advantage", says Grenier, thanks to the way their vote is spread out and their traditional support in rural ridings.

But the possibility of a Conservative surge might not be that likely, he adds. Right now, the edge belongs to the NDP.

"The New Democrats are in a position where they could win a lot of seats in British Columbia, a lot of seats in Quebec, so it's really about Ontario to put them over the top and make sure neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals run the table with the rest of the seats," Grenier says.

The trend line in Ontario has been holding steady for the last two weeks, with the Liberals plateauing and the Conservatives taking the biggest hit from the NDP's gains, he says.

The New Democrats' pockets of support can be found in downtown Toronto, Scarborough, Hamilton, the southwest in London and Windsor and the north in Sudbury and Thunder Bay, says Grenier.

"We're looking at a situation where the New Democrats are in a good position to retain the seats they won in 2011 (29) and perhaps pick up a few more," he says. 

Haven't got enough numbers? Éric Grenier joins The House over the summer for a deep dive into the polls and the data surrounding various battleground ridings across Canada.

Follow parties' gains and losses here with the CBC's Poll Tracker.


Launching this week is the CBC Pollcast, a podcast hosted by Éric Grenier that will delve deeply into the world of polling, what influence polls have, and what trends they are showing. There will be a new episode every week. This week's episode features Abacus Data CEO David Coletto, as he joins Éric to discuss how polls are conducted and the challenges facing the polling industry today. You can listen below or download the podcast here.

Welcome to The Pollcast, a podcast hosted by Éric Grenier that will delve deeply into the world of polling. This week's episode features Abacus Data CEO David Coletto. 19:04