The first in a series of seat projections for the Ontario election by a university think-tank gives the Conservatives a majority of 82 seats.

The projection by the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy is based on four polls conducted between March 11 and 14 and says if the election had been held during the survey dates, the NDP would have won 22 seats and the governing Liberals 20.

It finds the PCs would have swept most of rural Ontario outside of the North, made serious inroads into suburban ridings around the metropolitan centres, and even cracked into the city of Toronto, where they have been shut out for many years.

But Wilfrid Laurier political science associate professor Barry Kay emphasizes that the model he's been using since the 1960's does not predict the future -- and says mistakes by newly elected Conservative leader Doug Ford could change things before voters go to the polls in June.