Tuesday, June 8, 2010

May Best Case Scenarios

A new feature of the site, if it can be called a feature, is that at the beginning of each month I look at the best case scenarios for each party. You can look at April's post here.

What I've done is taken each party's best projection result in each region (West, Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada), and taken these best results to get a national, best case projection based on polls from last month.

For example, if the Conservatives had their best result in the West in an Angus-Reid poll, their best result in Ontario in a Nanos poll, their best result in Quebec in a Léger poll, and their best result in Atlantic Canada in an EKOS poll, I've taken each of these bests and combined them.

In other words, these projections are the best possible result each party could've gotten had an election taken place in the month of May.

We'll start with the New Democrats.
While 41 seats (and 20.3% of the vote) would be an excellent result for the NDP, this is actually quite a dip from April. Then, their best case scenario was 50 seats. The major benefactor from this NDP dip has been the Conservatives, who would win 125 seats in this scenario rather than 109.

This scenario sees the NDP with 30% support in British Columbia, 13% in Alberta, 20% in the Prairies, 20% in Ontario, 18% in Quebec, and 25% in Atlantic Canada. And, as mentioned, national support of 20.3%.

Despite this drop, this would give the NDP and Liberals 133 seats and gains of four and 15 seats, respectively, compared to a loss of 20 seats for the Conservatives. Coalition of the losers?

Next, the Liberals, who had a gain in seats but a worsening of situation.The Liberals win 116 seats in this best case scenario, three better than in April. But the Conservatives win 13 more seats for 118 in all. This gives them a slight edge over the Liberals.

The 25 seats won by the NDP (down from 35 in April) makes this a trickier situation, but nevertheless 116 seats is a step up.

This best-case-scenario gives the Liberals 32% in British Columbia, 25% in the Prairies and Alberta, 42% in Ontario, 26% in Quebec, and 46% in Atlantic Canada. Their national haul would be 33.8%.

They are still well away from forming a comfortable minority government, which is bad news for the party. Even if all their cards fall right, they still won't win more seats than the Tories.

The good news for them, though, is that the Conservatives have moved away from majority territory.The best case scenario for the Conservatives in May was 148 seats, down 11 from last month's majority result of 159. The NDP benefits most from this, going from 23 seats in the Conservatives' April best-case-scenario to 33.

This result comes from 43% in British Columbia, 61% in Alberta, 48% in the Prairies, 39% in Ontario, 24% in Quebec, and 39% in Atlantic Canada. Their national support would be 38.4% in such a scenario.

One thing this shows is that May was, actually, a bad month for everyone. The numbers worked their magic to steal seats from the Tories, despite having a decent month in terms of polling support. But, of course, a great result in a province is only great if a party's opponents do badly as well. Results need to be looked at as whole, not individually.

The Liberals actually gain a few more seats in this calculation, but the Tories gain more and the Liberals are bumped into second place. And the NDP go down from a historic best to a modest improvement over 2008.

The only positive is from an opposition perspective: the Tories do not look set to win a majority, or even have a chance at one.


  1. Eric another mention in the first comment on the article. You are on fire!


  2. These projections appear to tell us that May's polls simply had less variance than April's polls. Everyone's best-case scenario is closer to the median scenario.

    Is support for all parties hardening? That would truly be bad news for everyone.

  3. Warren Kinsella:


  4. Re: Ira

    I would assume that ossification of party stature would be good for the sitting government. They are nominally in control after all.

  5. Coalition polling! Could a majority be in favour?


  6. Re: kevinsutton

    If support hardened at levels favourable to the government, yes, but that's not happening. Simply being first isn't good enough. They've fallen back from their 2008 result - that's certainly not good news - and the hardening of opposition support suggests that CPC growth is less likely.

    Similarly, hardening of CCP support suggests they're not beatable (as the Liberal best-case scenario shows).

  7. Re: Coalition

    I still think Michael Ignatieff, in particular, has more in common with the Conservatives than he does with the NDP. The Liberals, as a party, might be more like the NDP (I honestly can't tell, given their complete lack of a policy platform), but their leader would be more comfortable, I think, in Tory blue than socialist orange.

  8. With all due respect, screw Warren Kinsella; he hardly speaks for the OLO anymore.

    I've always stated that the idea of a coalition among Canadians isn't a negative idea - but under the circumstances of the 2008 election results, it very much was, Conservative spin or not. It seemed like a coup, it relied significantly on the official and signed support of a separatist party, not to mention the leadership problem. it was just a no-go from the start.

    If the situation presented itself, Canadians probably wouldn't mind the idea of a coalition. But that doesn't mean we, the Liberals, need to bring ourselves down to such a level; coalition if necessary, but not necessarily coalition, right. We'll aim to win ourselves, and see what mandate Canadians give our respective parties. Thats the way it'll work, and thats the way it should stay.

    As for Iggy being more Conservative than NDP; he's neither. He's comfortable in Liberal red. Not Conservative blue, or "socialist" orange. I know you guys want him badly, but it ain't happening. :)

  9. Ira I happen to agree with you. The guy I would like to see as PM though is John Manley. What do you think of that, Ira and Volkov?

    Volkov I agree that the LPOC should run to win but they aren't denying the possibility of a coalition anymore either. Kinsella is IMO conceding that the Conservatives win the most seats. That's not a good place to start a campaign from. He may have some problems with Iggy as he was originally supposed to run the "War Room" in the next campaign and then quit after Iggy fired at Ian Davey et al.

  10. If he's neatly in the middle, then isn't he then equally likely to find common ground with the Conservatives as with the NDP?

    Unless the Liberals, as a party, truly do believe that Stephen Harper is evil (as Allan Gregg says they do), there's no reason not to consider such a coalition if it provides Canadians better government.

    And there's no denying that Conservative votes + Liberal votes is a far more comprehensive and balanced representation of Canada than Liberal + NDP would be. Just look at the 2008 electoral results map - Liberals + Conservatives doesn't miss any signficant demographic outside of francephone Quebeckers (who vote Bloc, so the Liberal + NDP combo doesn't represent them either). Whereas, a Liberal + NDP combo misses out on most rural ridings across the country, plus the Albertan cities.

    The only coalition that makes sense from the point of view of serving Canadians as they'd like to be served is a Liberal-Conservative coalition.

  11. A coalition should be ok if suggested by the results of an election. The party should therefore not rule it out.

    But some people seem to be getting some hair-brained idea of a coalition oriented campaign which makes little sense if you're still running multiple candidates. (A simple no-compete has problems of it's own)

  12. During the campaign, Layton and Ignatieff just have to say that if the Conservatives are unable to form a viable government (we just assume the one with the most seats wins, but this was clearly not the attitude in Britain), that they would be willing to work together rather than send Canada to another election.

    That's it. They then stipulate that they're in it to win, that their two parties would only be compatible if the country demanded it, etc. etc.

    A line like "Harper's attitude of 'my way or the highway' just doesn't fly in a mature, modern democracy" would do the trick.

  13. Earl,

    Manley is a good guy from what I know, but as PM, I dunno enough about him to really make a decision. I stick by my assertion that Ignatieff would make an amazing PM if given the chance. He has the smarts, the ability and the ideas to do so. But, meh.

    And like I said, Kinsella can suck one for all I care. The man is a strategic brilliance that deserves kudos all around, but I don't follow his logic on coalitions. The LPC is, like you said, leaving the door open, but Kinsella is trying to take it off the hinges.

  14. Though Harper could immediately point to his record to show where he's compromised to accommodate his minority position. The stimulus spending, for example.

  15. Éric,

    I'm more on Volkov's wavelength. We have to do the job ourselves. To do a deal of whatever nature prior to the vote only telegraphs expected electoral weakness -- not to mention pre-outcome capitulation.

    Our job is to inspire confidence and to show direction. The platform is coming along nicely. The leader is finally starting to feel comfortable in the job.

    Much work remains to be done. No one will win this for us.

    We will live or die based on our own performance.

  16. Eric

    A line like "Harper's attitude of 'my way or the highway' just doesn't fly in a mature, modern democracy" would do the trick.

    absolutely agree

  17. It might also be instructive to see "worst case" scenarios. With Iggy at the helm, the likelihood that the Liberals in particular will hold onto all 77 of their seats is pretty slim, don't you think?

  18. Senior Libs, NDP talk merger, not coalition:


  19. Earl: Senior Libs, NDP talk merger, not coalition

    That weirds me out. It makes as much sense as combining the currently governing CPC with the original CPC.

    Coalitions are an excellent idea when the votes have been counted. Mergers of such disparate parties as the Grits and Dippers don't. It's important to keep their different viewpoints alive. They each have something valuable to contribute to our country, extreme partisans of all stripes notwithstanding.

    [Insert discourse here on how proportional representation can bring these views to Parliament.]

  20. A merger? Now that's an idea I like.

    It's honest, it's open, and it's political suicide for the Liberals. Any merged party would be dominated by the New Democrats on issues of policy because they actually have some. All this would do is hand the Liberal organisation to Jack Layton on a silver platter.

    I like Jack. I think he's a good politician and even a trustworty one.

  21. Earl:
    Senior Libs, NDP talk merger, not coalition:


    That would be a big mistake IMO

  22. The nature of the FPTP system requires that people create as large a political coalition as is possible without being incoherent.

    I wonder if either of those parties has considered the feasibility of merging with the Green party --though I suppose there a touch too much N.o.t.A. in that group.

  23. From the Govt's own reports:

    The federal debt, which stood at $481.5 billion at the end of fiscal 2005-06,

    So at the end of the Martin Govt debt = $481.5 billion

    After four years of Tory mismanagement it now stands at $833.8 billion

    So much for the Harper "expertise" let alone Flaherty's blatant incompetence !

  24. kevinsutton: I wonder if either of [the Liberals and NDP] has considered the feasibility of merging with the Green party...

    Why would the Greens ever consider such a merger? A Tory-Dipper marriage is more likely.

    The other parties look at the Greens and think "voting block". The Greens look at the other parties and think "principles". Ain't happening.

  25. Lib-NDP merger? Great for Greens.

    In 9 provinces you'd have a choice of Conservative, Liberal Democrats, or Green (or extremely minor party).

    Note how the GPC grew from sub 1% to over 4% in the election after the PC/CA merger. Merge L/D and you'll see a bigger shift I'd bet, as voters who want a 'none of the above' vote Green. Greater media attention would occur as well (less than the NDP gets now, but more than the GPC gets today).

    The talk is getting stronger because they know if a merger pre-election is to occur it has to happen in the summer with a leadership race by mid-September otherwise the CPC will call an election by any means necessary in an effort to kill the merged party and gain a majority. A very tight timeline, but possible if they really want to do it.

  26. kevinsutton,

    I know a few Dippers who have said they wouldn't mind a merger with the Greens, even over a merger with the Liberals. "Green Democrats" or something.

    And why would the Greens want to do such a thing, John? Well, because in politics, power is everything, and the NDP have a lot more power than you do, and will continue to have more power for many years to come. A merger with the NDP would give the Greens an infinitely more powerful vehicle than what they've got right now.

  27. Actually, in merging you have to feel confident you can be the one in control or it is really a takeover.

    Look at the old PC party and how any 'Red Tories' who used to have control are now out of the party or on the fringe. Heck, the old Progressive party that merged with the old Conservative party has now been written out entirely.

    Green's merging with anyone would be suicide for the GPC unless the GPC can win a few seats and have as many members as the party they merge with.

    As to the rumours - does anyone recall how the last PC leader promised not to do talks in order to get elected then jumped into talks? What a politician says today is not what they will do tomorrow.

  28. And now for some Harper bashing:

    Recall Harper's comment in the UK that "losers don't form coalitions", implying that the UK coalition is legitimate only because the Conservatives who won the most seats are in it.

    Therefore, it would seem Harper does not consider the Government of Israel to be legitimate, since the Kadima party won the most seats in the last election and yet is not part of the ruling coalition, or "coalition of losers" as Harper would say.

    Why does Harper consider the Government of Israel to be not legitimate? It would seem he has the same views as Helen Thomas, who also thinks the Government of Israel is not legitimate.

  29. Volkov: A merger with the NDP would give the Greens an infinitely more powerful vehicle than what they've got right now.

    Power to do as you're told is not power.

    Greens don't need to give away everything for an illusory short-term rush. Look at the Green growth in every election since the party was formed. In politics as elsewhere, Greens look to the long term.

    It wouldn't pay off for the Dippers either. If the Green Party were to merge with the NDP (and that's harder than you think), most of the vote would go back to the Tories and Grits from whence it came. Dippers aren't green.

    Why not arrange a merger between these parties? It makes as much sense.

  30. I think the merger talk is just a trial balloon to get people thinking about the differences between the Liberals and NDP. It will identify policies suitable for appropriating (a.k.a stealing) by the Liberals, similar to the way Chretien and Martin took the wind out of Reform's sails by eliminating the fiscal deficit.

    As pragmatists, the Liberals will take the best of breed ideas and make them their own. The NDP the party of principle on the left finds the Liberal pragmatism to be unseemly. Similarly, the CPC, the party of principle on the right finds the Liberal pragmatism to be unseemly. Both the NDP and CPC would rather do the wrong thing if it seemed the more "principled" thing to do. Though under Harper the CPC is temporarily setting its principles aside until it can gain a majority.
    In a majority situation, the CPC or NDP will follow their principles (a.k.a. ideology) while the Liberals in a majority tend to remain pragmatists.

  31. Pragmatism is only a good thing if you agree with their ultimate objective. I maintain that the Liberals' ultimate objective is simply to hold power indefinitely, and they'll do whatever best achieves that goal (this is the pragmatism you describe).

    Unfortunately, some good policies are politically dangerous.

  32. liberal = Leaving the nonsensical Helen Thomas comparison aside (I happen to agree with her that the pre-Israel residents of the region have cause to be upset at having been displaced by the mass immigration of Jews that has taken place since WW2), you just answered your own question. If Harper thinks coalitions of the losers are illegitimate, then he would thing the Israeli government illegitimate because it is a coalition of the losers.

    Nice try at an associative fallacy, though.

  33. Ya, down a huge amount Peter.... .3%

    Hey, would you like to take a course in debt?

    You can't compare Net debt a few years ago, and gross debt today.... and still seem credible on anything.

    Quick course:
    Gross debt less financial assests gives you Net Debt. Less Capital Assets gives you the Federal Debt (accumulated deficit). People usually talk about Net debt or Accumulated federal deficit (federal debt).

    From the 2006 report: March 31(before Harpers first budget)

    Gross Debt: 702 Billion
    Financial Assets: 165 B
    Net Debt: 540 B
    Capital assets: 55 B
    Federal Debt: 481.5 B

    This was the numbers at the end of Martins government. (I could use the 2005 report, but it these numbers are lower and more favorable to Martin)

    From the 2009 Report Mar 31:

    Gross Debt: 824 Billion
    Financial Assets: 299 B
    Net Debt: 525 B
    Capital assets: 61 B
    Federal Debt: 463.5 B

    Still lower than Martins last numbers, but doesn't include much of the stimulus spending.

    The number you gave was 833 B....

    that's only 10B,... and might be current, but it is in fact low for the 2010 year end. The budget says 54 B deficit this year which would take our Federal Debt from 463 B (20 B less than Martin) to 517 B (35B above), but by all accounts we are doing better than that. 7 B better by preliminary reports reported in the globe and mail. That would take us to 510 B of Federal debt.

    Not to mention that Canada's debt/gdp ratio is the lowest in the G7, and we are expected to lead them in growth this year and next.

    I am not sure if you are outright lying to support your ideals or just spinning so hard it looks like it. But please try to be somewhat accurate in your assertions so that people can have actual facts and not just a load of crap to make decisions on.

  34. Heck Barcs using the stuff you quoted it still sucks.

    So why try and maneuver yourself out of this.

    2006 $702

    2009 $824.

    Now as to my point it still holds. Harper has done a lousy job compared to martin. Right off the top he throws away 2% of Gst = $24 which could have lowered the debt well before the recession struck. Sorry all your fancy math can't hide the fact that he does a lousy job.

    But instead he lets the Gross debt go up.

  35. Barcs

    Go look at the chart here. That's where I got the numbers,.


  36. ...12 month old wiki data...nice...

    Here is some real data, audited debt management and fiscal reference tables.



    Why do you insist on using a false number? (Gross debt) When I go to my banker to ask for money the 150k I owe right now is important only when figuring out what I can repay,... and less so that current debt (what is payable over a yearly time period). He will look at my finances and say "You have some debt here. But you have some cash over there, and a bunch of assets over there. So calculating that there is alot of room for your to (safely) borrow.

    If I go under, the assets I have would be sold to pay for my debt, same as the federal government.

    That is why people talk net debt, and accumulated debt. And yes, today it IS 30 B higher than at the end of the martin government.

    But then again, we have been through a recession, and the opposition parties forced a bunch of extra spending on stimulus.

    And through that our real debt is only marginally higher than under Martin. And Debt/GDP ratio (the most important measurement) is almost the same too.

    As for the GST.... Canada overspends..... And the restof it should go. What we really need is deep cuts to solve our spending problem. Doing away with the GST would force that.


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