Plenty of headlines leading up to the election spelled out who was in the lead, who was going to win where and who was lagging behind. But how accurate were they?
While the daily polls were one thing, it was the projections — often being calculated by threehundredeight.com, an opinion poll aggregator that also accounted for previous voting records in each riding — that were getting voters and candidates talking most.
In Town Crier coverage prior to the election, these projections were discussed by candidates, often with the validity of the numbers being argued by Conservatives, who were not faring well, while Liberals — who largely had favourable leads — were less critical.
Conservative candidates were right to be skeptical of the numbers, though only to a certain point.
The projections for the four midtown ridings — Don Valley West, Eglinton-Lawrence, Toronto-St. Paul’s, and University-Rosedale — consistently underestimated Conservative support, averaging about 6.1 points under their actual result.
Conversely, the Liberal support was overestimated, albeit modestly, 2.9 points over the actual result.
The NDP was also projected an average 3.4 points higher and the Greens 1.3 points higher.
The biggest disparity was in Eglinton-Lawrence, where the projected Liberal win by 18.8 turned out to be 6.3. Toronto-St. Paul’s had the Liberals winning by 10.5 more than they did, and Don Valley West placed the Liberals 11.1 better than they ended.
The real outlier was in University-Rosedale, where up until two weeks before the election it was thought to be a tight race between the Liberals and NDP.
In the ened, threehundredeight.com projected a margin of 20.3 in favour of the Liberals, which was an underestimation of just 0.9.
The projection was 0.3 points lower than the Liberals actual result, and 0.6 higher than the NDP’s.
Most polls come with the disclaimer that numbers are likely to be plus or minus three points, nine times out of 10 or 19 times out of 20.
University-Rosedale held to that, as all four parties were projected within three points of their actual result.
The other three ridings each had two parties within that threshold.
Don Valley West was close with NDP and Green, while Liberals were over by almost four and Conservatives under by over seven.
Eglinton-Lawrence was close with Liberal and Green, but was short on the Conservatives by nearly 10 and over on the NDP by about five.
In Toronto-St. Paul’s, the NDP and Green were projected within one point of reality, while the Liberals were overprojected by five and the Conservatives under by five and a half.
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