Sunday, August 30, 2009

Japan Elects Someone Else

I am not sure that Prime Minister-elect Yukio Hatoyama can fulfill the ambitions of the Japanese people. Japan's problems are deeply rooted and will not be able to fix. Fixing them may cause ever more pain in the short term: something no Prime Minister up to now has been willing to do. Yes, the LDP is out and the DPJ is in. That is monumental news in a country that has lacked for democratic competition. Unfortunately, the differences between the LDP and DPJ are more personality than policy. The substantive problems of an aging society with limited resources and stifling economic practices were never issues in this election. Instead, the parties quarrelled about consumption taxes and political scandals. The world needs Japan back on track. The world needs a strong Japan. The world has waited twenty years for Japan to emerge from its slump, it may have to wait a few more.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Seat Projection Update

The static polls (crazy Ipsos-Reid outliers aside) mean fairly static seat projections. Only three ridings have changed since last time around. Saanich -- Gulf Islands, which will be completely unpredictable with Elizabeth May in the race, is now in the Liberal column. The Tories take back Halton and Newmarket -- Aurora. Thanks again to threehundredeight for providing the polling numbers on which these projections are based.

National Seat Projection:

CPC 118
LPC 113
BQ 48
NDP 29

Province by Province

BC: CPC 18; LPC 11; NDP 9
AB: CPC 28
SK: CPC 13; LPC 1
MB: CPC 7; LPC 4; NDP 3
North: CPC 1; LPC 1; NDP 1
ON: LPC 56; CPC 39; NDP 11
QC: BQ 48; LPC 21; CPC 6
NB: LPC 6; CPC 3; NDP 1
NS: LPC 6; CPC 3; NDP 2
NL: LPC 6; NDP 1

Once again deviations from my models have been made in Nunavut and Colchester -- Cumberland -- Musqodobolt Valley (can I please start calling it CCMV or something?). In both cases the Conservatives gain the seat.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

120 Metres

That's the distance from the foot of Bathurst St. in Toronto to the Island Airport. That's the distance a bridge would have spanned before it was killed by Mayor Miller in 2003. That's the distance a pedestrian tunnel will span if all goes according to plan. Who is negatively effected by this? The residents of Ward's Island. All 262 households. Well, at least theoretically negatively effected. Ironically, six years after Mayor Miller thought he had killed the island airport by killing the fixed link, Porter airlines is flourishing and adding flights, seemingly daily. How much more successful Porter would have been with a bridge or will be with the pedestrian tunnel remains up for debate. There is a reason nothing gets done at City Hall; 262 households can hold up progress for an entire city. The Island Airport is good for business, good for reducing traffic and good for the environment. It may negatively impact 262 households. Give me a break.

Whither Afghan Democracy?

The first election of Afghanistan was an inspiration. The second is a disaster. The first round of voting is rife with accusations of fraud. The Economist lays out one story of likely fraud. The second round, which it appears will be constitutionally necessary, may not happen. In fact, many are urging Pres. Karzai and Mr. Abdullah to agree to some sort of power-sharing arrangement to avoid a head-to-head vote. Article 61 of the Afghan Constitution is clear that "if in the first round none of the candidates gets more than fifty percent of the vote, elections for the second round shall be held within two weeks from the date the results are proclaimed..." Pretty cut and dry. There is no provision for any power-sharing agreement. If democracy is tested in trying times, Afghanistan is failing that test.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Future Battlegrounds: Atlantic Canada

Final stop on our West to East trip is Atlantic Canada. The fights are concentrated in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

New Brunswick:

Saint John 4.01 LPC - CPC
Fredriction 4.41 LPC - CPC
Miramichi 9.08 LPC - CPC


NONE (LPC Gain in Egmont)

Nova Scotia

South Shore -- Saint Margaret's 2.13 CPC - NDP
West Nova 4.63 LPC - CPC
Halifax 8.1 NDP - LPC
Dartmouth -- Cole Harbour 8.92 LPC - NDP

Newfoundland and Labrador:

Avalon 7.74 LPC - CPC

Bill Casey's retirement in Cumberland -- Colchester -- Musquodobolt Valley throws the riding into a projection equivalent of no man's land. I don't anticipate an independent to win by 20 points as my projections would indicate. I'd say CPC Favoured would be a good rating. Egmont is probably within 10 points. It might actually be a Tory lead but the sudden change in the last election is hard to evaluate. All NL projections are subject to the whims of Danny Williams. This concludes my national tour. I'm not ignoring the North. I just don't trust my numbers there due to the lack of regional polling. A quick provincial breakdown of competitive ridings shows the following:

BC: 12/36 33.3%
AB: 1/28 3.6%
SK: 1/14 7.1%
MB: 4/14 28.6%
ON: 37/106 34.9%
QC: 19/75 25.3%
NB: 3/10 30%
PE: 0/4 0%
NS: 4/11 36.4%
NL: 1/7 14.4%

Of course, all of this will be kind of moot when I update my projections which should happen either later this week or next. The ridings in play probably won't change a whole lot (maybe a couple ridings will go over the 10% threshold), but the margins will.

Future Battlegrounds: Québec

Quebec is the next stop in my continuing tour of ridings that look to be competitive in the next election. For all the talk about Quebec as a battleground, it has only 19 competitive ridings (out of 75) by my count. By comparison, Ontario has 37 competitive ridings (out of 106). So here we go again, same format as before:

Charlesbourg-- Haute Sainte Charles 0.45 BQ - CPC
Brome - Missisquoi 0.58 LPC - BQ
Gatineau 0.82 LPC - BQ
Portneuf -- Jacques Cartier 0.99 BQ - IND
Haute Gaspésie -- La Mitis -- Matane -- Matapedia 1.79 LPC - BQ
Saint-Lambert 2.42 BQ - LPC
Beauport -- Limollou 2.48 BQ - CPC - LPC
Laval 2.7 BQ - LPC
Gaspésie -- Îles-de-la-Madeleine 3.12 BQ - LPC
Jeanne - Le Ber 3.36 LPC - BQ
Alfred Pellan 3.8 BQ - LPC
Mégantic -- L'Érable 5.36 CPC - BQ
Pontiac 5.79 LPC - CPC - BQ
Brossard -- La Prairie 5.96 BQ - LPC
Vaudreuil -- Soulanges 6.16 BQ - LPC
Louis Hébert 7.05 BQ - LPC
Roberval -- Lac Saint Jean 7.88 BQ - CPC
Ahuntsic 7.92 LPC - BQ
Shefford 8.46 BQ - LPC

How important the Bloc has become in Canadian elections is clear from the fact that they are involved in every competitive race in Québec. Notably off this list is Outremont, which I rate as a Liberal gain by the numbers (it's not particularly close at 14.02 percentage points) but would place my money on Thomas Mulcair winning re-election. As I've explained before, my model has difficulty projected accurately ridings with violent swings in support. Particularly when a party, like the NDP in Outremont, goes from nowhere to competitive. I stand by the model for probably 300 of the 308 ridings. Outremont is not one of the 300.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Future Battlegrounds: Rest Of Ontario

Having dispensed with the GTA and Northern Ontario, we continue our cross-country tour with the rest of Ontario from Windsor to Ottawa. It's a big list but I want to get into Québec. This is still based on my early August projections. If you haven't figured out the format by now, scroll down a bit:

London -- Fanshawe 0.04 NDP-LPC
Ottawa West -- Nepean 1.15 CPC-LPC
Glengarry -- Prescott -- Russell 1.64 CPC-LPC
Hamilton East -- Stoney Creek 1.66 NDP-LPC
Brant 1.72 LPC-CPC
Huron -- Bruce 2.27 LPC-CPC
Essex 2.44 LPC-CPC
Peterborough 2.54 CPC -LPC
Ottawa -- Orléans 2.63 LPC-CPC
Haldimand -- Norfolk 2.96 CPC-LPC
St. Catharines 3.54 CPC-LPC
Burlington 4.17 CPC-LPC
Ottawa -- Centre 5.34 NDP-LPC
Ancaster -- Dundas -- Flamborough -- Westdale 5.95 CPC-LPC
Welland 6.05 LPC-NDP-CPC
London West 6.17 LPC-NDP
Simcoe North 6.79 CPC-LPC
Northumberland -- Quinte West 7.2 CPC-LPC
Niagara Falls 7.53 CPC-LPC
Kitchener -- Conestoga 8.21 CPC-LPC
Chatham - Kent -- Essex 8.36 CPC-LPC
Hamilton Mountain 8.89 NDP-LPC

Not included in this list are projected Liberal gains in Kitchener Centre (11.32 point margin) and Kitchener - Waterloo (13.35 point margin).

Friday, August 21, 2009

St. Paul's

In case you missed it, a provincial by-election is underway in the Toronto riding of St. Paul's. There are some in the media who want you to believe this race will be close. Don't listen to them. First and foremost, the Liberals have a great candidate in Eric Hoskins, the founder of War Child Canada. This is the first hurdle for incumbent parties in by-elections (see Tory, John). The second hurdle is making sure the party is actually behind the candidate (see Tory, John). While there may be dissenters out there (it was a contested nomination), the Toronto machine seems to be in full gear behind Hoskins.

Then there's the opposition. The Tories have fantasies about St. Paul's. They have for years. They run high profile candidates they think will sweep tony areas like North Toronto off their feet. In fact, if you drive around St. Paul's at election (provincial or federal) time, you will see a lot of Tory signs. Then something very strange happens: they lose by twenty or thirty points. The reason is that while the people in the beautiful old houses might be split Tory/Liberal, the people in the dense apartment buildings are strongly Liberal. Okay, it's a slight oversimplification, but it's basically true. The Tories also have not won a seat in Toronto provincially since 1999. They've gone 0-fer in two straight elections and in all by-elections. With a new leader who is supported by, and compared to Mike Harris, a Tory breakthrough in Toronto seems remote. The party that has had success knocking off Grits in the Big Smoke is the NDP. The Dippers have won by-elections in Toronto-Danforth (hold), Parkdale-High Park (Gain) and York South Weston (Gain). St. Paul's is just not NDP territory. In 2007, they hit a high watermark of just under 16%. They also don't have a candidate yet. One will be chosen Monday according to Wikipedia. In a short election campaign, the NDP is running out of time to create a York South - Weston type swing in St. Paul's. The Greens are currently leaderless and are undoubtedly more concerned about choosing a replacement for Frank de Jong than fighting a pointless fight in St. Paul's.

The conclusion for me is that the Liberals must work hard to be safe, but really shouldn't have to worry about St. Paul's. By-elections are weird little things, but I'm not sold this one is going to be weird enough to be competitive.

Is That A Policy I See Before Me?

There are trial balloons, or at least trial balloons for trial balloons, going up about an actual policy of the Liberal Party of Canada under the leadership of Michael Ignatieff. I'm a bit of a sucker for infrastructure, so I like the high-speed rail idea (admittedly getting it cheap enough to be usable is an issue). There's also a fair degree of agreement in Quebec City and Queen's Park that this is a good idea which is nice although it shouldn't really matter since railways are federal jurisdiction. It is about time for Michael Ignatieff to start articulating policy. After all, when this is the list of your writings readily available just online, your opponents don't need politically questionable policy to hit you on. Just a quick random example: I'm guessing someone could make hay from the idea of the United States sending troops to Israel and the Palestinian Territories to enforce a peace. I'd really love an election to be about the future, instead of what my leader said ten years ago. Stephen Harper has no vision for this country and therefore will never articulate substantive policy. Mr. Ignatieff has a vision for this country, albeit an incredibly vague one. It's time for a little bit of concrete or railway ties as the case may be.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Suggestion

Get David Axelrod out of the White House. Don't get me wrong. I like David Axelrod as a strategist. Heck, what I'm attributing to him might not be his fault. I just have this feeling that after two years spent campaigning for the Presidency, Barack Obama can't get out of campaign mode. He's allergic to fights. Now, he's doing a Western tour through states that will likely be battlegrounds in the next election. The Obama campaign coveted Montana last time around and made what should have been a Republican landslide a tight race. Colorado is key in any re-election bid and Arizona is finally open for political business post-McCain. So I get the trip in the 2012 sense. I don't see how the West is a centre of the health care debate. Like many progressives on both sides of the border I'd like Obama to start kicking some ass and taking some names, particularly in the Democratic caucus. I want the guy that hired Rahm Emmanuel, not the guy who's afraid to stand by a public option for health care. Let 2012 worry about itself. The Republicans have no obvious or even not so obvious candidate. Obama needs to be running on his record in 2012, not have a record of running.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Geography Isn't the Problem

There's an interesting piece by Eric Reguly in Monday's Globe on the shift in Canadian development aid from Africa to Latin America. Reguly reasons that recent thinking on the problem of aid dependence is responsible for the shift in aid. That makes very little sense. The problems with aid dependence are present whether you're digging a well in Ethiopia or El Salvador. That doesn't change. Stephen Harper may have a case to make as far as focusing our foreign aid to our neighbours with whom their is greater possibility for trade down the road. He should make that case. Aid dependence, while a real issue in modern development programs, is a red herring.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Future Battlegrounds: Northern Ontario

Northern Ontario is a region with an uncertain political future. All three major parties have positives and negatives in the region. This region also features a ridiculous number of competitive ridings (8/10) being projected within 10 points. For a reference point go check out the numbers I posted in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Once again, the list of ridings projected to be within a ten point margin in Northern Ontario. Format remains riding name, margin in percentage points and competitive parties in order of projected finish.

Algoma -- Manitoulin -- Kapuskasing 0.82 LPC-NDP
Kenora 3.37 LPC -CPC
Thunder Bay -- Rainy River 3.4 LPC-NDP
Thunder Bay -- Superior North 3.42 LPC-NDP
Nickel Belt 3.46 NDP-LPC
Sault Ste Marie 7.38 NDP-CPC-LPC
Sudbury 7.93 LPC -NDP
Parry Sound -- Muskoka 7.95 CPC-LPC

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sports Break: EPL Predictions

The beautiful game is back in Britain this weekend with the kickoff of the English Premiership. Without further ado, my predictions:

  1. Liverpool: This team was almost good enough to win last year. Stephen Gerrard is probably the best player in England. Yes, Alonso's a big loss but I think the Reds bring home the trophy this year.
  2. Manchester United: The Red Devils are going to have a devil of a time replacing Cristiano Ronaldo. That said, this is the deepest team in England and should be able to finish top two. Wayne Rooney will have start scoring goals at an elite level.
  3. Arsenal: Arsène Wengar may be the most underrated manager in football. Arsenal rebuilt last year, suffered injuries to their three best players at various points in the season, had way too many draws at home and still finished fourth. Yes, they lose Adebayor and Touré. As long as Cesc Fabregas stays in London, this team will create lots of chances and Andrei Arshavin has shown himself more than capable of finishing.
  4. Chelsea: A lot of people think this team could win it all. I'm not convinced. This team is old and getting older by the day. Combine that with their fifth, yes FIFTH, manager in four years and I'm wondering about that old dogs, new tricks adage. The Blues are due for a fall.
  5. Everton: With all the talk about Man City people forget about the little engine that could that was Everton last season. Consistency led them to an FA cup final and fifth in the league. They have the best young manager in the game in David Moyes. If Arteta comes back healthy, watch out.
  6. Tottenham: Tottenham earned exactly two points in their first 8 league matches last year. They earned 49 in their last thirty after Harry Redknapp toook the helm. As long as Luka Modric is at Tottenham, this team will be competitive. Modric may be my favourite player in the EPL.
  7. Manchester City: I know they spent like drunken sailors and got everybody that didn't go to Real Madrid. However, this team had a lot of holes to fill. Robinho still has to figure out how to play on the road in England. They'll get European football for their money but it won't be Champions League.
  8. Fulham: Europa League play may tear through this thin squad like a hot knife through butter. If they are knocked out of Europe early or can find some depth, they could compete to get back to Europe next year. No one liked playing at Craven Cottage last year and I expect that won't change.
  9. West Ham: The middle of the table is a crapshoot for me. I think West Ham is thoroughly mediocre. 9th sounds about right.
  10. Wigan: Wigan does nothing but defy expectations and get results. I think they sneak into the top ten.
  11. Aston Villa: Villa was awful down the stretch last year. The heart of the midfield is gone. I think the real Villa is the late season Villa. A slide is in order.
  12. Bolton: A mediocre team that should be good enough to avoid a relegation fight.
  13. Wolverhampton: Wolves ran away and hid from the Championship last year. I expect they will have some adjustments to make coming into top level football but they should stay up.
  14. Blackburn: They flirted with the drop last year. They may do so again. Then again, they could be good enough to be a top half of the table team.
  15. Birmingham: The second team from the Championship will benefit from a glut of bad teams below them.
  16. Sunderland: Some people are high on the Black Cats. I see a team that barely avoided the drop last year and isn't significantly better this year.
  17. Stoke City: How Stoke stayed up last year is anyone's guess. I'm not sure how they'll do it this year. I just think they're a little better than the three teams below them.
  18. Portsmouth: I'm not sure who will play in front of David James this year in the south of England. An ownership issue meant that the team was looted for parts over the summer. Eighteen months ago Pompey won the FA cup, how long ago that must seem now.
  19. Hull City: The Tigers bought themselves an extra season in the Premiership with their fast start last year. Like Villa, I think the later season Hull is the real Hull. Bye-bye to the amber and black.
  20. Burnley: I admit some ignorance about Burnley. However, nobody think this team has a shot so I'll go with the crowd. Watch... they'll finish 8th.
Enjoy the footy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It May Work...

... but it probably won't. Elizabeth May is apparently running in Saanich -- Gulf Islands. The riding has been a reliably decent green riding but I simply don't see the growth potential. There are some positives here. I encouraged Elizabeth May to find a riding where she could become the de facto anti-Tory candidate. I can see how Ms. May might think that could happen in Saanich -- Gulf Islands. I just don't agree with the reasoning. The 2008 results for the riding have to be almost thrown out the window because the NDP were forced to kick out their candidate. May's reasoning is that with the NDP brand weakened locally, and the Liberals not looking like world beaters out West, that she might be able to rally the centre-left vote around herself. The reality I believe is very different. NDP votes that might have easily gone Green in 2008 did not. Instead they appeared to go Liberal. I would be shocked if Michael Ignatieff makes the deal Stephane Dion did with Elizabeth May, especially consdiering there's already a nomination meeting scheduled in the riding. In order to win, she would need to peel off three quarters of the Liberal vote and a few more from the Tories. All that assumes the NDP will take as few votes as they did last time when they didn't have an active candidate.

There are no easy wins for Elizabeth May out there. I tend to think southwestern Ontario (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound would have still been my choice) would have made more sense. To me, Saanich -- Gulf Islands looks like a mirage. She would need 40% plus to win there. I don't see her getting more than 25-30. The Green Party gets less than 15% all things being equal in my projections right now with the NDP seriously undervalued. I don't see her tripling that total to win.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Can We, Please?

Can we start calling Stephen Harper and the Conservatives the "blame Canada first crowd?" It's one of my favourite bs Repubican labels. In all seriousness, Prime Minister, you and your colleagues are the government of Canada. If there's a problem, fix it or at least put forward a proposal to fix it. Stop blaming hardworking bureaucrats and "the system." You don't just get to sit and whine about things anymore. You aren't the Leader of the Opposition anymore. Although if you want the job back, that can be arranged.

Future Battlegrounds: GTA

Ontario has a lot of competitive ridings. As such I've arbitrarily decided to split the province into sections. I'll start with the GTA. The GTA is defined here as all ridings within the boundaries of the city of Toronto or within the regions of Halton, Peel, York and or Durham. Same format as before:

Halton 0.11 LPC - CPC
Newmarket -- Aurora 0.48 LPC - CPC
Trintiy -- Spadina 1.59 LPC - NDP
Oakville 2.95 LPC - CPC
Oshawa 5.68 CPC - NDP
Toronto -- Danforth 7.22 NDP - LPC
Thornhill 8.18 LPC - CPC
Whitby -- Oshawa 9.03 CPC - LPC

Of note, Mississauga -- Erindale which will undoubtedly receive a lot of attention in the next election is projected to be taken by the Liberals by a little more than 10 points. That makes 5 pick ups for the Grits from the Tories in the GTA. It was one of many mind-numbing losses for the Grits last time out and my projections assume that barring another disastrous Ontario campaign, it should return to the fold. Oh, and there is absolutely no finger on the scales in Toronto -- Danforth. It actually is the second most competitive riding in Toronto. Parkdale -- High Park is next at just over 10.5 points if you're interested. The Tories best chance in Toronto remains Eglinton -- Lawrence and its unique MP, Joe Volpe. However, best chance in this case is still over 13 points off the Liberal lead. A big hill to climb.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Hollywood Would Be Impressed

As someone who loves to read, I find it extraordinarily amusing when life provides its own perfect symbolism. Case and point: Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL). Sen. Martinez announced his resignation from the senate on Friday. We don't know why. We do know that one of his last acts as senator was to vote in favour of the confirmation of Justice Sotomayor against the majority in his party. Sen. Martinez is a Cuban-American who came to the US in the early 1960's as a child in the wake of the ascension of Fidel Castro and the Communist Party in Cuba. Mr. Martinez is one of many Cuban-Americans who found a natural home in the tough on communism, tough on Cuba Republican party. Cuban-Americans were a reliably Republican voting bloc for Republicans in Florida. In 2008, many younger Cuban-Americans turned to Barack Obama and the Republican ties to the Cuban-American coummnity seemed to weaken. Mr. Martinez since announced that he would not seek re-election in 2010. Friday, after the confirmation of Justice Sotomayor, he resigned. The only (unless I'm forgetting someone) Hispanic Republican Senator resigns as the Republican party seems to give up the fight for the Hispanic vote. Sometimes the truth isn't stranger than fiction, it's better written.

Friday, August 07, 2009

GOP's Reverse LBJ Moment

When President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law he notoriously worried that he was condemning his party, the Democratic Party, into the political wilderness in the Southern US. LBJ hoped that a coalition of liberals, women and minorities (in other words the Obama coalition) could eventually be electorally successful. He was both correct in his gloom and vindicated in his hopes for history. I somehow doubt the Republicans who voted against Justice Sonia Sotomayor today will be somehow vindicated in their decisions. It is not that Hispanic-Americans are so politically shallow that they would take the Republican rejection of Sotomayor as reason to not vote Republican. It is that this vote for many Hispanics will only confirm what they've been thinking ever since George W. Bush's immigration amnesty died under Republican pressure: the Republican Party has no interest in courting Hispanic voters. The vote today is not all that important in the lives of most Americans. The replacing of one left-leaning justice with another will not fundamentally change the nature of the Supreme Court. The symbolism of 31 Republican senators saying that the first Latina nominee for Supreme Court was somehow unqualified to serve is much more significant. LBJ could take solace in the fact that he was doing the right thing, the political consequences be damned. What are the Republicans taking solace in today?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What's In A Name?

A NDP by any other name would be as socialist. I don't think the awkward nature of the name make it harder for the NDP to garner votes. If they are going to change I think the Social Democratic Party would make a lot more sense than the Democratic Party. Regardless of what they do, I think I'll call them the party formerly known as the NDP.

Future Battlegrounds: Prairie Edition

Continuing my look at future battlegrounds, today I look at the ridings which will be most hotly contested in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I lump Alberta into this category because I don't feel like doing a post entirely on Edmonton-Strathcona. This is once again based on the same projection I'm using for my seat projection below. Same format as last time: riding name followed by margin followed by parties within 10 points in order of projected finish. Here we go:


Edmonton -- Strathcona 5.72 CPC-NDP


Saskatoon -- Rosetown -- Biggar 4.57 CPC-NDP


Winnipeg South 1.16 LPC-CPC
Saint Boniface 1.21 LPC-CPC
Churchill 4.16 LPC-CPC
Elmwood -- Transcona 4.76 NDP-CPC
Winnipeg South Centre 4.82 LPC-CPC

What should be clear from this is just how close the Tories are to holding on to their seats in Manitoba. Also 7/56 (12.5%) competitive ridings is a fairly low percentage for the region. Although with only 1/28 in Alberta that is to be expected. For Alberta Libs wondering if there is hope in say Edmonton -- Centre, the projected Tory margin of victory in Anne McLellan old riding is 16.61 percentage points. It is the closest race outside of Edmonton -- Strathcona in the province.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Seat Projection Expansion

The seat projection for the end of July is below. Since the results (and the polling) is ridiculously static, I thought I'd take a look how strong each party's hold is on the seats that they lead in. For this purpose I'm defining any riding with a lead between 0.01 and 10 points as a "Lean"; any riding between 10.01 and 15 points as "Favoured"; and any riding with a lead of over 15 points as "Safe". I only put the lean category out to 10 points because we are in the summer, outside of the writ period. As we get closer the lean category will drop to 5 and the favoured category will go from 5.01 to 10. For now I've put the ridings within 5 points in parentheses beside each lean total. Without further ado the ratings:

Conservatives (117):
Lean: 25 (11 within 5 points)
Favoured: 13
Safe: 79

Liberals (114):
Lean: 35 (25 within 5 points)
Favoured: 19
Safe: 60

Bloc (48):
Lean: 11 (7 within 5 points)
Favoured: 8
Safe: 29

NDP (29):
Lean: 13 (5 within 5 points)
Favoured: 4
Safe: 12

This means there are 128 ridings that could conceivable change between now and election day including 48 that are projected to be within 5 points. Remember that these totals include ridings that would be considered pick-ups from the 2008 result.

We Are Officially Going Nowhere

A new month, a new seat projection, almost the same result.

Tories pick up 1 seat nationally.

CPC 117
LPC 114
BQ 48
NDP 29

Province by Province:

BC: CPC 19; NDP 10; LPC 7
AB: CPC 28
SK: CPC 13; LPC 1
MB: CPC 7; LPC 4; NDP 3
North: CPC 1; LPC 1; NDP 1
ON: LPC 58; CPC 37; NDP 11
QC: BQ 48; LPC 21; CPC 6
NB: LPC 6; CPC 3; NDP 1
NS: LPC 6; CPC 3; NDP 2
NL: LPC 6; NDP 1

Like last time revisions in the Tories' favour in both Nunavut and Cumberland -- Colchester -- Musquodobolt Valley (why can't be a short riding name). Otherwise it is based on current polling as per threehundredeight and the results of the last three elections. I will post the races to watch in other provinces soon.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Future Battlegrounds: British Columbia

I said about a month ago that I would do semi-regular seat projections. Well, since then the polling on which my seat projections are based has been flatter than Stephen Harper's affect. As a result, my projections are basically unchanged from virtual deadheat. So, while I finish an actual update during some down time this weekend, I thought I'd take a look at some key ridings to focus on in the upcoming election. If you want historical competitiveness, CalgaryGrit recently did a nice piece analyzing the historically most competitive elections over the last three cycles. That isn't necessarily going to be reflected here. For instance, hypothetically, if there was a riding in Québec where the Tories were neck and neck in previous elections, my projections would not include it as a likely future battleground based on week Tory polling in the province. For starters, I thought I'd look at where the fur is likely to fly in British Columbia.

BC is always viewed as a tight three way race. This is both true and false. It's true that all three parties have bases of support in the province, its false that there are a ton of ridings where more than two parties are competitive. I'm defining competitive this far away from an actual election as any party within ten percentage points of the leader in the riding. The only riding where more than one party is within 10 points in BC is Burnaby-Douglas. My projection has the NDP incumbent (Bill Siksay) leading the Tories by 7.55 points and the Grits by 8.68 points. However, Burnaby-Douglas is not the only competitive or the most competitive riding in BC. What follows is a list with the riding name, the margin between first and second (in percentage points) and the competitive parties with the leader first (incumbents in bold).

Saanich -- Gulf Islands 0.01 CPC - LPC*
Vancouver Island North 1.29 NDP - CPC
North Vancouver 1.84 LPC - CPC
Vancouver Kingsway 2.47 LPC - NDP
West Vancouver -- Sunshine Coast -- Sea-t0-Sky Country 2.85 CPC - LPC
Richmond 4.45 CPC - LPC
Fleetwood -- Port Kells 5.6 CPC - LPC
Kamloops - Thompson - Caribou 6.62 CPC - NDP
New Westminster - Coquitlam 7.01 NDP -CPC (Vacant)
Burnaby -- Douglas 7.55 NDP - CPC - LPC
Surrey North 8.13 NDP - CPC
Nanaimo - Alberni 8.44 CPC - NDP

What is immediately clear is that the Tories have a lot of vulnerable incumbents in BC if history is any judge. Nine of these twelve ridings are held by the Tories. The Surrey North numbers still have some lingering Cadman effect in them (even though 2004 doesn't get much weight in my projections) but I think they'd be on the short end of the stick in North Vancouver and Vancouver Island North at very least if elections were held today.

*briefly, this result is skewed due to the NDP candidate troubles here in 2008; the Tories should be fine if the NDP siphons off Liberal votes

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