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A day before the Ontario election, Nathalie Des Rosiers, the Liberal candidate for Ottawa-Vanier, issued a warning: A vote for the New Democratic Party was "a vote for Doug Ford.”

People may have listened. Ms. Des Rosiers won her race – one of just seven Liberal seats left in the province.

In the coming days, we’ll hear much about what, exactly, clinched this election for Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives. Tax cuts, stagnant jobs, buck-a-beers and lower gas prices, maybe – but given the Liberals’ historic collapse, did an NDP-Liberal split vote have an effect?

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Let’s do some math. Mr. Ford’s campaign delivered 76 seats, far more than the 63 necessary to clinch a majority. Other parties would have had to siphon off 14 ridings to bring the PCs down to 62 seats, one shy of a majority.

As it turns out, the PCs won 34 ridings where the NDP-plus-Liberal vote outnumbered the PC vote. That’s well beyond the 14 seats necessary to deny the PCs a majority.

Combined NDP-Liberal vote vs. PC vote

In 34 ridings won by PCs where combined

NDP-Liberal vote was greater than PC vote

PC

NDP

Liberal

Ajax

Brampton South

0

10k

20k

30k

0

10k

20k

30k

Brampton West

Brantford-Brant

Burlington

Cambridge

Don Valley North

Durham

Eglinton-Lawrence

Etobicoke Centre

Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Flamborough-Glanbrook

Glengarry-P.-Russell

Kanata-Carleton

Kitchener S.-Hespeler

Kitchener-Conestoga

Milton

Mississauga Centre

Mississauga E.-Cooksville

Mississauga-Erin Mills

Mississauga-Lakeshore

Mississauga-Malton

Mississauga-Streetsville

Nepean

Northumberland-P. South

Oakville N.-Burlington

Ottawa West-Nepean

Peterborough-Kawartha

Pickering-Uxbridge

Sault Ste. Marie

Scarborough Centre

Scarborough-Rouge Park

Whitby

Willowdale

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Combined NDP-Liberal vote vs. PC vote

In 34 ridings won by PCs where combined NDP-Liberal

vote was greater than PC vote

PC

NDP

Liberal

Ajax

Brampton South

0

10k

20k

30k

0

10k

20k

30k

Brampton West

Brantford-Brant

Burlington

Cambridge

Don Valley North

Durham

Eglinton-Lawrence

Etobicoke Centre

Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Flamborough-Glanbrook

Glengarry-Prescott-Russell

Kanata-Carleton

Kitchener S.-Hespeler

Kitchener-Conestoga

Milton

Mississauga Centre

Mississauga E.-Cooksville

Mississauga-Erin Mills

Mississauga-Lakeshore

Mississauga-Malton

Mississauga-Streetsville

Nepean

Northumberland-P. South

Oakville N.-Burlington

Ottawa West-Nepean

Peterborough-Kawartha

Pickering-Uxbridge

Sault Ste. Marie

Scarborough Centre

Scarborough-Rouge Park

Whitby

Willowdale

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Combined NDP-Liberal vote vs. PC vote

In 34 ridings won by PCs where combined NDP-Liberal vote was greater than PC vote

PC

NDP

Liberal

Ajax

Brampton South

Brampton West

0

10k

20k

30k

0

10k

20k

30k

0

10k

20k

30k

Brantford-Brant

Burlington

Cambridge

Don Valley North

Durham

Eglinton-Lawrence

Etobicoke Centre

Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Flamborough-Glanbrook

Glengarry-Prescott-Russell

Kanata-Carleton

Kitchener S.-Hespeler

Kitchener-Conestoga

Milton

Mississauga Centre

Mississauga E.-Cooksville

Mississauga-Erin Mills

Mississauga-Lakeshore

Mississauga-Malton

Mississauga-Streetsville

Nepean

Oakville N.-Burlington

Northumberland-P. South

Ottawa West-Nepean

Peterborough-Kawartha

Pickering-Uxbridge

Sault Ste. Marie

Scarborough Centre

Scarborough-Rouge Park

Whitby

Willowdale

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Of course, NDP and Liberal votes aren’t necessarily fungible, so we can’t assume Liberal voters would be willing to vote orange. But, for the purposes of this exercise, let’s say the goal would have been for the NDP to steal away Liberal votes, given that they’re now going to be the Official Opposition. How deep into the Liberal electorate would the NDP have had to dip to secure those 14 seats?

To figure this out, we can look at the PC-NDP vote margins for our 34 ridings. In some ridings, that margin was razor-thin, such as in Ottawa West-Nepean, where the PCs beat the NDP by fewer than 200 votes in a race that may lead to a recount. In PC candidate Kinga Surma’s Etobicoke Centre, however, the margin came in at a whopping 14,121 votes.

To determine what percentage of Liberal votes the NDP would have had to flip to secure those 14 seats, we can take each riding’s PC-NDP margin and divide it by the total number of Liberal votes.

It wouldn’t have been easy.

In ridings such as Ottawa West-Nepean and Brampton West, the NDP would have needed just 1.2 per cent and 7 per cent of the Liberal vote. But further down the list, Mississauga-Malton, Ajax and Brampton South would have required the NDP to claim over 30 per cent of the Liberal vote – pretty unlikely.

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Ultimately, it may have cost the NDP a few ridings, but the PCs’ majority can’t be chalked up to the left-leaning parties purely splitting the vote.

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