Senator Barack Obama squeezed out a slim majority to win in Ontario on Super Tuesday, capturing key delegates in urban centres such as Toronto, Ottawa, and Windsor. He proved particularly attractive to voters affected by manufacturing sector layoffs, due to his work on that issue in his home state of Illinois. He also performed well with Native voters.
His lone opponent, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, scored a gigantic victory in outlying areas of the Greater Toronto Area, known locally as the 905, its area code. This largely affluent suburban zone is made up of predominantly middle-age, moderate delegates who fondly recall Clinton from her years as First Lady. Clinton also did well in Toronto proper, but failed to capture a dense downtown student neighbourhood known as the Annex.
But the difference ultimately was Ontario's vast north, where a chunk of delegates residing in Thunder Bay and smaller Native communities voted overwhelmingly for Obama.
John McCain rode a wave of momentum into Ontario, where he ended up winning a decisive victory in the Republican field. McCain was dominant in all of the state's urban areas - though very few Republican delegates actually reside in Ontario's cities. His main rival, Mitt Romney, won only North Bay, St. Catharines, and a western town called Chatham.
One-time frontrunner Mike Huckabee, who campaigns with a faith-tinged message, performed dismally with Ontario voters. He managed to gain support in smaller communities straddling the Quebec border.
Ron Paul, a Texas libertarian, scored a surprising victory in Lanark County, a sparsely populated region just outside Ottawa. His message also came through in the north, though he gained nowhere near the support of winner McCain.
Using primary results from the Democratic vote in Florida (a state with its share of Canadians, no?) and the Republican vote in Michigan (which is close enough), voting patterns were assessed and projected onto an Ontario map.
The number and location of delegates in Illinois, a state with a similar population, was used to extrapolate the numbers and locations here.
Other data, such as voting preferences (perceived or real) in federal and provincial elections, was heavily leaned on. For instance, Lanark County recently elected Randy Hillier, a Progressive Conservative with a strong libertarian streak, as its MPP, thus it would vote for the same positions in Paul. In the GTA, the 905 region tends to vote with the establishment, who in this case is Clinton, while student-dominated areas like the Annex often embrace emerging candidates (though not necessarily voting for them in elections), in this case Obama. North Bay, where former premier Mike Harris held office, would vote for Romney based on his neat haircut and his various no-new-tax pledges.
But, of course, none of this has any resemblance to reality.