Friday, July 9, 2010

June Best Case Scenarios

Time for June's "Best Case Scenarios". Not a huge change from May's best case scenarios, though the Conservatives are now on the brink of a majority. How do I come to these numbers?

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 June.

The New Democrats have been hovering around the 40-50 level since I've started doing these in March. That month, their best case scenario was 43 seats. That increased to 50 in April, went down to 41 in May, and is now at 44.They get 44 seats with 18.7% of the Canadian vote. This puts them only seven seats behind the Bloc Québécois for third party status, and with the Liberals gives them 143 seats, while the Conservatives are held to 114 seats.

Their best vote haul comes in British Columbia, with 30%. Next is Atlantic Canada, with 26%, the Prairies and Ontario with 18%, Quebec with 15%, and Alberta with 13%. Their biggest regional bloc is in the West, where they have 20 MPs.

The Liberals have also been rising and falling within 10 seats over the last four months, but this month's best case scenario is their worst so far. From 121 in March they sank to 113 in April, and then rose slightly to 116. But this month their best case scenario is only 111 seats, one fewer than the Conservatives.The Liberals take 30.4% of the vote, but cannot form government on their own. Even working with the NDP is not a slam-dunk, as the two parties would have 144 seats (145 if they included the Greens). Obviously, a Conservative government would be nearly unworkable, but it would be difficult to call this result a real success for the Liberals.

Their regional results are 29% in British Columbia, 18% in Alberta, 23% in the Prairies, 38% in Ontario, 25% in Quebec, and 40% in Atlantic Canada. Their biggest bloc comes in Ontario, where they elect 55 MPs. Their 20 MPs in the West, 16 in Quebec, and 20 in Atlantic Canada give them good regional distribution.

Perhaps indicating that polling has not changed much over the last four months, the Conservatives, too, have been varying only within 10 seats in their best vcase scenarios. Their best result was in April, when they took 159 seats and their only majority result. They had 148 in March and May, and have now moved back into near-majority territory with 154 seats. So, a split right down the middle of the House of Commons.These 154 seats come with 39.3% of the vote, which would be their best result ever. This would be as good as a majority for them, though it would require some careful management of numbers in Parliament. Most of these seats come from the NDP, who are reduced by 10 MPs.

Their regional results for this are 46% in British Columbia, 60% in Alberta, 48% in the Prairies, 43% in Ontario, 19% in Quebec, and 44% in Atlantic Canada. Their biggest block of MPs are in the West, where they have 75. They also have 59 in Ontario, 8 in Quebec, and 12 in Atlantic Canada.

This shows how problematic it is for the Conservatives to ignore Quebec, as some have suggested. Even if all goes well for them, they are still looking at a minority.

13 comments:

  1. Eric,

    I agree with you that ignoring Quebec means that the best the Tories can do is form a minority (or a very slim majority). But it's not clear that there's much to be gained by trying win over Quebec either. The Tories tried that prior to 2008 (with the nation resolution and catering to the Quebecois fantasy of a "fiscal imbalance"), at for their trouble they got jilted as voters turned back to the Bloc.

    The reality is that the Bloc is likely to continue to snap-up 40-50 Quebec seats for a while to come. And why wouldn't Quebec voters vote for the Bloc - it's a party that is only concerned about Quebec's interest, without the bother of having to reach a consensus with the conflicting interests of other parts of the country. Heck, if I could vote for a party that only cared about Ontario's interest, I might do so too. There's no way any of the federalist parties can compete with that (at least without undercutting their position in English Canada). They just can't promise what the Bloc can promise.

    But so long as that's the case, that's 40-50 seats off the table for all the federalist parties. Furthermore, so long as the Bloc continues to pursue sovereignty, those 40-50 seats are lost to any party seeking for form a government.

    So if you're the Tories trying to pick up an extra 10-15 seats to try to form a majority, it makes a heck of a lot more sense to try to pick up those seats in English Canada than to try to do so in Quebec. The same is true for the Liberals, at least in the short-run, in trying to form a government, they've a lot more to gain by trying to win seats in Ontario (which seats are held provincially by the their Ontario cousins) or out west, than trying to pick up 4 or 5 more seats on the outskirts of montreal.

    I've said it before, but by voting for the Bloc, Quebec's voters have marginalized their province in federal politics.

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  2. --- I've said it before, but by voting for the Bloc, Quebec's voters have marginalized their province in federal politics.

    Some could easily argue that being part of the government hasn't helped either. Quebec was at the table in Mulroney's government - 63 out of 75 seats, over 50% of the vote - and it got them nothing. That's why the Bloc split off.

    The argument is that Quebecers are marginalized within the federal parties. We have plenty of examples in this most recent session of Conservative and Liberal MPs from Quebec voting with the party rather than "with Quebec".

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  3. Wow, under their best case scenarios:

    -The Conservatives, which have been trying to finagle a majority for four years, fail to win one for the third straight time.

    -The Liberals, which were the naturally governing party until 2006, lose their third straight election.

    -The NDP doesn't hold the balance of power, being able to deliver a majority vote only to the Conservatives, with whom they agree on very little.

    And the Bloc wins almost the same number of seats in any scenario.

    There is no incentive for any party to have an election. So we could have this dolittle parliament for a lot longer.

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  4. "Some could easily argue that being part of the government hasn't helped either. Quebec was at the table in Mulroney's government - 63 out of 75 seats, over 50% of the vote - and it got them nothing. That's why the Bloc split off."

    I can think of some of my old reformer friends who would disagree with the suggestion that being part of the government got Quebec nothing under Mulroney. One of the old Reform beefs was that the Tories were responding to Quebec's constitutional complaints, while ignoreing those of the west, and pouring money and contracts into Quebec even when it make no sense to do so (remember the CF-18 contract that went to Quebec rather than Winnipeg - funny how times change, now the Bloc is complaining because Quebec isn't getting its fair share of military contracts, when the new C-130J contract went to companies in Winnipeg and Abbotford rather than Quebec). That's why the Reform Party split off.

    And your point about MP's voting "with the party" is precisely why the federalist parties have little chance of making inroads in Quebec and little incentive to try. Of neccesity, big national parties have to compromise local interests for national consensus. You give a little on some issues get a little on others. The Bloc doesn't have to do that, so they're always going to be better able appeal to Quebec voters (even if they can't translate that appeal into acctual influence). But, for that same reason, the federalist parties have to little to gain by trying to win over Quebec voters, because they will never be able to compete with the Bloc.

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  5. GI,

    I think you're right that no party has any real incentive to force an election right now. And I think they know it.

    For the Tories, they're happy being in power. Sure, they'd like a majority government. But in the meantime, they can get most of their agenda through more or less unimpeded (at least when they try to do so), and in the meantime, minority government or no, they still get to appoint judges, senators, governor generals, and generally use the levers of power to shape Canada. They're making their mark on Canada and they're happy to do it.

    For the Grits, they'd love to get back into power. But, there's no evidence that an election would improve their lot, and there's always a risk the Tories could get a majority (especially if Iggy were to have a rough first election). The grits seem to have committed to playing the long-game, building up their party structures and finances and getting themselves back into a position to form a government on their own account (which is the right course of action). Whether they will actually be able to do that is debatable, but so long as that's the plan, they're not forcing an election.

    As for the NDP and the Bloc, well, who cares, they can't force an election on their own.

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  6. Eric said:

    " We have plenty of examples in this most recent session of Conservative and Liberal MPs from Quebec voting with the party rather than "with Quebec"."

    Eric if all MP's from all provinces took that line of thinking we we'd have an ungovernable mess. MP's vote for the country, not the province they come from.

    The best examples are Alberta and Saskatchewan which are the only two provinces contributing to equalization. Why should they vote with Canada and not selfishly for Alberta and Saskatchewan? If they did they could create all sorts of problems for the rest of the country. This is a Federal Parliament and members are elected to do what is best for the entire nation not their region or province.

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  7. And a majority government is the best-case scenario for Canada.

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  8. I still think a Britain-style coalition with the Bloc is politically feasible. A clear joint policy document outlining the areas of cooperation would defeat many of the cries of "Separatist!" if the hybrid government specifically didn't advance those positions.

    That said, I don't think a majority is impossible while ignoring Quebec. There are plenty of rural seats that are winnable for the CPC, and Vancouver is a possible site of gains. I don't see inroads in Toronto, but I don't think they need Toronto to win a majority.

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  9. Quebec can be safely ignored in the sense that Harper just needs to hold on to what he's got.

    The 15 next closest ridings for the CPC are NOT in Quebec:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/41st_Canadian_federal_election#Target_seats

    Harper shouldn't be trying to find much new support in the province by catering to them police wise.

    Local candidates should simply consolidate their positions and all the CPC $$$ will continue to be used to build infrastructure and maximize what little support there actually is in the province.


    BTW A province that can NOT be ignored is Newfoundland. With ABC out of the way some serious candidates should be recruited and some more fence mending should get underway.

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  10. Ipsos Reid on 10 July:
    Tories (35%) Hold Lead Over Liberals (29%), NDP (15%), Bloc (11%) and Green Party (10%).

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  11. May in trouble:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/834082--gorrie-infighting-over-green-party-leadership-comes-to-a-head

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  12. Ira said: "I still think a Britain-style coalition with the Bloc is politically feasible. A clear joint policy document outlining the areas of cooperation would defeat many of the cries of "Separatist!" if the hybrid government specifically didn't advance those positions."

    I think there's two problems with that. First, what's in it for the Bloc? Why would they want to be part of the government? That would just mean they couldn't play their usual game of complaining about the government (because, hey, they'd be the government) while having to take responsibility when things go wrong. Why would they want that? Plus, could you imagine the sillyness of a bunch of Bloc MP's have to swear their loyalty to the Queen to serve in her government? Awkward!

    Second, I don't know why you think a joint policy document would "defeat" cries of separatist if the Bloc retains sovereignty as part of their party platform. The only way to defeat cries of "Separatist" is to actually drop separatism from their platform. So long as Canadians can go to the Bloc website and read about how they're "Convaincue plus que jamais de la nécessité de la souveraineté", they're politically toxic for any federalist party. No amount of agreements of glossing over can cover that fact.

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  13. Interesting piece by Andrew Potter summarizing an earlier Chantal Hebert article and making what is essentially my point that the existence of the Bloc makes Quebec politicall irrelevant.

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/07/08/still-here/

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