Close race projected for provincial seat in Kingston & the Islands

Riding “too close to call” in latest poll

Kingston and the Islands provincial candidates, from left to right: Green Party Robert Kiley, Liberal Sophie Kiwala, NDP Ian Arthur and Progressive Conservative Gary Bennett.
Credit: 
Photo illustration by Iain Sherriff-Scott

According to a new Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP) poll released last week, the provincial race for Kingston and the Islands MPP has no clear front-runner. So far, none of the four candidates have established a lead of over five per cent.

Across the province, the poll projected a sizable Progressive Conservative (PC) majority, with the remaining seats split almost evenly between the Ontario Liberals and the New Democrats.

Following the Progressive Conservative leadership race earlier in March, four new polls were released, “all of which confirm the basic trend pointing to a majority victory for the [Progressive Conservative] party,” according to Associate Professor at Wilfred Laurier University Barry Kay.

The LISPOP poll was based on over 4,300 weighted interviews held between Mar. 11 and 14. According to Kay, the aggregate distribution of party support was Conservatives at 43 per cent, Liberals at 27 per cent and NDP at 25 per cent across the province.

In a statement accompanying the poll, Kay wrote, “this isn’t a future prediction, and customarily election races tighten up over time. However, for the Conservatives to fall out of majority territory, it would probably require a vote swing away from them of at least 5 per cent.”

Currently, incumbent Liberal MPP Sophie Kiwala is defending the riding of Kingston and the Islands. On June 7, Kiwala will face NDP candidate Ian Arthur, PC candidate Gary Bennett and Green candidate Robert Kiley for the seat.

In 2014, Kiwala took the riding by 6,022 votes from runner-up Mary Rita Holland of the NDP. The riding itself has had a Liberal MPP since 1995. If elected in June, Bennett, the former Mayor of Kingston, would be the first Progressive Conservative candidate to win the riding since 1981.

When asked if students can make a difference in the race, associate professor at Queen’s Jonathan Rose told The Journal they could make a significant difference in a close election.

Despite this, Rose acknowledged that due to the June 7 election day, the bulk of students may not be present in the Kingston and the Islands riding to cast their ballots. 

Corrections

March 29, 2018

The story has been updated to reflect that the last Progressive Conservative candidate to win the Kingston and the Islands riding was in the 1981 Ontario provincial election, not 1975. 

The Journal regrets the error.

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