The leaders of each of the three major parties had the chance to debate platform issues on Tuesday evening. The topics at the centre of the debate were jobs and the economy as well as financial mismanagement and accountability. The opposition leaders pointed to the gas plants, e-health and ORNGE debacles as evidence of the Liberal party being unfit to govern the province. Tim Hudak had to answer for the mathematical errors contained in his “Million Jobs Plan” and explain how this plan was different from former Premier Mike Harris’ plan in the 1990s – the same economists are alleged to have worked on both. Other salient issues discussed by the leaders included plans for transit and improving transportation networks, pensions and improving the economic climate in Ontario; notably, health and post-secondary education were not discussed.
There is no clear agreement on the winner of the debate, though a survey conducted by Forum Research directly following the debate found that 33 per cent of respondents believed Hudak had the best performance, followed by Wynne at 28 per cent and the NDP at 20 per cent of the vote.
Polling data do not point to a clear front-runner, with results swinging between the Liberals and PCs from one poll to the next. An Ipsos poll released late last week showed that the PCs enjoyed a significant lead over the Liberals among likely voters. Earlier this week, an EKOS poll showed the Liberals with a strong lead among likely voters. In an EKOS poll released today, however, the PCs had closed the gap with the Liberals among eligible voters, but the Liberals still had a slight lead among likely voters.
As of today, ThreeHundredEight is projecting a Liberal win, with the projected Liberal seat count at 53 (hovering just below the 54 seats needed to win a majority). The projection puts the PC seat count at 40 (up 3 seats from their count before the election) and the NDP seat count at 14 (down 7 seats).