Kathleen Wynne has two major challenges to re-election which I'd like to detail.
The first challenge is that of change, people may simply have decided they've had too much of the Liberals and want some change. Doug Ford is actually an excellent brand ambassador for "Change". He is a populist, and is from Toronto, and area the Tories are seen as being weak in. He is an "outsider" who is viewed by most as understanding some of the issues that those who may not be seen as 'normal' tories have - IE he is "in touch" with "the common man"
This is not to say any of these things about Ford are true, or that they are false, but rather, that this is how people see him. Ford is a real threat to the Liberals and could easily win the election if the variables are right. He is not to be under-estimated as the driver of change, and this, is widely seen as a change election.
Ford is in the drivers seat, but he has a huge threat that I don't know if he realizes, one that even the Liberals may be under-estimating.
On the flip side is the question of who people can trust. The Liberals have put themselves in a dangerous position; they've adopted what many view as "NDP policies" and stolen what many see as "NDP ideas". The most recent budget could easily be painted as an "NDP budget" and a lot of the things Wynne has proposed in the past few weeks feel to many voters as being very "NDP"
Again, this is not to say that these are actually "NDP" ideas, or that they are not; just that this is how people view them. This, however, opens up the Liberals to a very dangerous line of attack. If you want NDP ideas, why vote Liberal when you can simply and directly vote NDP?
The problem is Bob Rae and his governments major failings. Being a trust issue, a lot of this will depend on if Ontario voters have forgiven the NDP for Bob Rae, and if they can overlook other supposed failings within the party in other jurisdictions. If they can, all of the multitude of proposals coming out of the Liberals become useless as the NDP simply "does it better" in a way, and this becomes a race between the NDP and the Tories.
This coming provincial election will have two phases that will run alongside one another but impact each other deeply. The first will be who the progressive voter views as the champion of progressive values, and the second will be who change voters view as party they want to be the vehicle for that change. In this way, the fight is similar to the 2015 federal election, but with different players who start in different positions.
In the end, this still anybody's game.