They say that every vote counts, but that may be especially true for Guelph voters in this election if one very specific poll is to be believed. Earlier this week, the Toronto Star suggested that Guelph should vote for Mike Schreiner, and it seems that Guelphites might actually be listening.
As reported by the Guelph Mercury-Tribune, a Mainstreet Research poll put Schreiner in the lead of a tight race with 31.7 per cent support in the Royal City riding. NDP candidate Agnieszka Mlynarz came in second with 28 per cent, and PC Ray Ferraro finished a close third with 25.3 per cent. Liberal candidate Sly Castaldi finished a distant fourth with 11.9 per cent. The poll has a margin of error of 3.77 per cent.
In other words, it appears that the Guelph race is a three-way tie between Schreiner, Mlynarz and Ferraro with less than two weeks to go before Election Day, and the day before the commencement of early voting.
If the trend in the Mainstreet poll continues, it would suggest a seismic shift in local support. Outgoing MPP Liz Sandals won 40 per cent of the vote or more in each of her four provincial campaigns, and beat her PC rival in the last election by almost 11,000 votes. Schreiner, finished third in the last election with just over 19 per cent, but the biggest shift goes to the NDP, who, in the last election were represented by James Gordon, won 17.7 per cent of the vote.
To find another election this close in recent Guelph history, you have to go back to 1990, where NDP Derek Fletcher won 37.9 per cent of the vote versus 30.1 per cent won by Liberal incumbent Rick Ferraro, and 25.6 per cent for PC candidate Linda Lennon. For Liberal Ferraro, the loss represented a reversal of 25 per cent in popular support due to an historic political shift: the province's first NDP government.
Advanced polls begin Saturday and you can cast your ballot any time between 10 am and 8 pm until Wednesday May 30. For advanced poll locations in Guelph, visit the Elections Ontario website here.