My old friend David Akin got in touch with me about a study that Global News has put together. Akin and a team of researchers looked at where the three provincial party leaders have been since the election started – and it tells a very telling story.
What I’m hearing is that, presently, Wynne and her Wizard have one safe seat in Toronto, and a couple leaning their way. That’s it. Everything else is blue or orange. So that suggests to me that Akin’s analysis is right.
Anyway: that debate is going to be pretty important, I’d say. Comments are open.
A Global News analysis of the campaign itineraries of each leader adds some new data points to support what multiple polls have already shown. The NDP, in second place, have the wind at their backs. The front-running Progressive Conservatives are largely playing it safe. Meanwhile, the Liberal mission from day one appears to have been “Save the Furniture” by placing the leader in a series of ridings considered Liberal strongholds like Ottawa-Vanier, Mississauga-Malton, Guelph and London North Centre.
Struggling to avoid becoming the third party in Queen’s Park, Wynne has been campaigning in several ridings her party won by 20 points or more in 2014.
“The Ontario Liberal Party is calling its campaign ‘Care Over Cuts’ but it should be called ‘Save the Furniture’ [or]’Shore the Core’ because that’s what [Wynne’s] doing,” said Warren Kinsella, a Toronto-based lawyer and political consultant who played a key role in the election war rooms for winning Liberal campaigns for both Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty. “You can tell that by the ridings she’s visiting.”
Up to and including Friday’s published itineraries, Wynne has made or will make 28 campaign stops but just six, or 21 per cent, have been in ridings where one of her opponents is the incumbent.In fact, on Thursday night she visited for the first time a riding where the PCs are the incumbent, stopping in at a brewery and pub to meet with a handful of supporters in the GTA riding of Whitby.
“Everything can change, but when you look at where she’s going and what’s doing, it’s not a growth strategy,” said Karl Belanger, a veteran of several federal NDP campaigns, including the “Orange Wave” of 2011 that vaulted Jack Layton into the opposition leader’s office in Ottawa.