Waterloo Region is squarely in the sights of Ontario’s party leaders.

Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne made two stops in the region on Thursday – first at a Carpenters’ Union building in Cambridge, and then at a barbecue with supporters in Kitchener.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath is scheduled to have an event in Kitchener on Tuesday, following earlier stops in London and Paris. PC leader Doug Ford is expected to be in the region on Thursday.

Political analysts have suggested that Waterloo Region could be considered a key battleground during the election, with multiple ridings potentially up for grabs.

Also at play is the bellwether factor. In every election dating back to 1987, voters in Kitchener Centre have picked a candidate from the party that won the most seats across the province.

The latest numbers from the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP) show the Progressive Conservatives remaining in a strong majority government position, albeit less strong than the support they had before the campaign began.

The LISPOP projection, which is based on a combination of polling data from several firms, shows the PCs in place to pick up 69 seats, with the NDP at 31 and the Liberals at 24.

Previous LISPOP numbers, released in mid-April, put the PCs at 80 seats, with the NDP and Liberals each picking up 22.

Locally, LISPOP is forecasting a slight NDP lead in Waterloo, while Kitchener Centre is considered too close to call. Kitchener South-Hespeler and Cambridge are considered to be leaning PC, with the party’s fortunes more solid in Kitchener-Conestoga.

Nanos Research chair Nik Nanos says he’s surprised the Liberals have made Wynne the focus of their efforts in the first week of the campaign.

“The Liberals should be focusing on their team and their plan, because they do have a team … and they do have a plan,” he told CTV News Channel.

Asked about the other parties’ best paths to electoral victory, Nanos said the NDP should run a campaign “all about Horwath” given her relative favourability among voters, while the PCs should ensure no “missteps” from Ford in order to hang onto their lead.