|Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, NDP leader Andrea Horwath, Conservative leader Tim Hudak - Sun News montage|
As predicted here, strategic voting failed once more, this time in the Ontario provincial election on Thursday June 12.
The surprising Liberal majority - hello depressed pollsters yet again - did not come from strategic voting but from a precipitous drop in Conservative support and some very lucky breaks for Premier Kathleen Wynne.
In fact, the Ontario Liberal Party vote rose only 1% in this election over the last that produced a Liberal minority government - but the Conservative vote dropped by 4.2%, which meant a loss of 8 seats down to 28, while the Liberals picked up 5 seats to 58.
The NDP vote - which one would expect to shrink if strategic voting stampeded previous party supporters to "strategically" cast a ballot for the Liberals to block Conservative leader Tim Hudak - actually went up 1%, not down, and the NDP under leader Andrea Horwath maintained their previous total of 21 seats.
And the Green Party - which actually and totally wrongly blamed strategic voting for it not winning a seat, astonishingly saw it's vote percentage rise the most of any party - by 1.8% - a complete reversal of what would happen if strategic voting were happening in a real way.
So what really happened is that Conservative voters split three ways - their 4.2% vote drop went to the Liberals, the NDP and mostly to the Greens - at least on the numbers.
Of course, if we could read minds we might find multiple other explanations but one thing is overwhelmingly clear - this was no "strategic vote" by Liberal, NDP or Green supporters to "Stop Hudak" - it was Conservative voters voicing their strong displeasure with Hudak's crazy idea of cutting 100,000 public sector workers' jobs and threatening a serious attack on unions and their members.
And that's something to be pleased about!
ORIGINAL COLUMN FROM TUESDAY:
Ontario goes to the polls on Thursday after a bitter, nasty campaign dominated increasingly by one topic -- strategic voting designed to defeat the party you hate the most rather than the one you actually support.