Friday, October 8, 2010

September Best and Worst Case Scenarios

It's that time of the month again - time to check in on the best (and now worst) case scenarios that could have taken place during the previous month. Here's the standard explanation of this exercise:

These best and worst case scenarios calculate each party's best and worst projection results last month in each region (West, Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada).

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 would take each of these bests and combined them.

In other words, these projections are the best and worst possible results each party could've gotten had an election taken place last month, based on the available polling data.

We'll start with the New Democrats, who had a pretty bad month. But their best case scenario isn't so bad, with 42 seats and 20.2% of the vote. Their worst case scenario, however, is horrible, with only 14 seats and 12.5% support.Their BCS (best case scenario) puts them in a terrific position to form a governing coalition with the Liberals, as their combined seat total outnumbers that of the Conservatives. The NDP cobbles together this result with 18 seats in the West, 17 in Ontario, two in Quebec, and five in Atlantic Canada.

Their WCS (worst case scenario) still puts them in a position to work with the Liberals, but unlikely in any formal coalition. With only 14 seats, Jack Layton would lead his party back into the abyss of the 1990s, with only six seats in the West and eight in Ontario, with no seats in either Quebec or Atlantic Canada.

The NDP, probably more than either the Liberals or the Conservatives, would head into an election with a lot of risk. On the one hand, the party has the potential to marginally increase the size of its caucus. On the other hand, the party could be reduced to almost 1/3 of its current size, and be relegated to fringe party status. With only 14 seats, the NDP would even risk losing its standing as an official party if a few seats are picked off in by-elections.

Now, the Liberals. They've had a good month, and their BCS reflects that. The silver lining seems to be that even with their WCS, they can't do worse than they did in 2008.With 34.2% of the vote, the Liberals' BCS is a minority government with 129 seats, compared to 109 for the Conservatives. This would give them the kind of minority that Paul Martin had in 2004 and Stephen Harper had in 2006. They win 21 seats in the West and North, 62 in Ontario, 21 in Quebec, and 25 in Atlantic Canada in this BCS.

In their WCS, the Liberals are reduced to 25.5% support and are kept at 77 seats, while the Conservatives are boosted to 153 seats and a near majority. Arguably, a Conservative majority would be a worse scenario than this, but I'm looking at the situation merely in terms of seats. The Liberals would win 11 in the West and North, 35 in Ontario, 14 in Quebec, and 17 in Atlantic Canada in this WCS.

But, as I said, this shows that the only thing the Liberals risk by heading to an election is a Conservative majority. That might be very scary for them, but the Liberals seem to have hit their floor. They do have the potential to form a minority, something we couldn't say about them only a few months ago.

Now for the Conservatives. Like the NDP, they would head into an election with a lot of risk. They could form a slim majority, or they could be relegated to the opposition benches.With 40.2% support, the Conservative BCS from September is 158 seats and a majority government. The Liberals would increase their caucus to 85 seats. The Conservatives would win 74 seats in the West and North, 60 in Ontario, 12 in Quebec, and 12 in Atlantic Canada. But this is a majority of only three - so it would be on a knife's edge. However, a Conservative majority government might have an easier time picking up seats in by-elections.

The Conservative WCS puts them at 29.0% support and 100 seats, or a repeat of the 2004 election. The Conservatives would form the Official Opposition, with 59 seats in the West and North, 32 in Ontario, two in Quebec, and seven in Atlantic Canada.

Interestingly, both the Conservatives and Liberals seem to have a ceiling/floor that is separated by about 55 seats. This indicates that most of the seats that would be won or lost by either party would be because of one-on-one contests between the Liberals and Conservatives. Part of the strategy for either party seems to involve crushing the NDP, as in both the Liberal and Conservative BCS the NDP is reduced to about 20 seats. In the Conservative BCS, those NDP seats propel the party to a majority. In the Liberal scenario, significant gains also have to come at the expense of the Conservatives.

In other words, the Conservatives need to employ an arguably easier strategy of keeping the Liberals where they are and stealing from the NDP, while the Liberals have the trickier task of coaxing votes out of both the NDP and Conservatives.

26 comments:

  1. Ironic -- Liberal worst case scenario would have them in the same spot as is now with a CPC minority and the coalition in control of the committees.

    The CPC best case scenario would have them with a majority.

    I would put forth the opinion that the Liberal's worst case scenario would be a CPC majority.

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  2. I always say that the reason the Liberals have declined in recent years is more so because of the NDP then the Conservatives.

    The NDP has been the party that has done the best in recent years(excluding Greens). From the 2000 election to the 2008 election NDP support increased by 10%, the Liberals declined by 14% and the Conservatives stayed the same.

    It's not a matter of uniting the left but a matter of getting rid of half it. If the Liberals can gain back some NDP support, especially in Quebec, they could get a lot closer to a majority.

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  3. Will there be any impact on the federal scene by the disastrous endorsement of dirty power for Toronto by the McGuinty Liberals?

    "Ontario pulls plug on gas-fired plant"

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ontario-pulls-plug-on-gas-fired-plant/article1747600/


    The Ontario Provincial Liberals are intertwined with the Federal Liberals and have a good chance to bear a lot of responsibility for this atrocious policy.

    I am just waiting for Green Peace and their ilk to boycott the TFF and boycott Toronto and Ontario as a tourist destination for their dirty power stance.

    Talk about Global Warmer deniers!!!!


    Wow .... Just Wow

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  4. What I find really interesting in this month's best and worst case scenarios is that Liberal fortunes appear to have zero effect on the Bloc seat total.

    Seriously? The Liberals can't take any seats from the Bloc even under ideal conditions?

    That's not good for them.

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  5. The best worst scenario of Erics shows that neither party can win a majority until the 30 seats are added with realighnment. The bloc has 50 the tories have about 90 the libs have 75 and the NDP about 25 locked up. So its maybe 70 swing seats mostly in Ont.that will determine the next election.BTW check out a couple of negative articles on Harper in the globe-I think its a bad sign for him.

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  6. This makes sense given what we've seen in the polls.

    The NDP's position has been eroded to the benefit of the Liberals and the Conservatives, both of whose "best case scenarios" are a lot more definitive than they were last month.

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  7. Eric, you said in your analysis:

    "Their WCS (worst case scenario) still puts them in a position to work with the Liberals, but unlikely in any formal coalition. With only 14 seats, Jack Layton would lead his party back into the abyss of the 1990s"

    I'm curious as to why you think in this NDP worse case scenario the NDP would be unlikely to be able to form a formal coalition with the Liberals. In this scenario, the Conservatives have one more seat than the Liberals but the combined Liberal-NDP seat total is higher than the Conservatives. Thus why would it be difficult for the Liberals to form a formal coalition with the NDP when this coalition would have a plurality of seats in the House?

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  8. Brendan,

    With such a close seat result, the Liberals would have as much of a legitimacy in forming government alone as the Conservatives would have.

    While they could go to the NDP for support, it is unlikely they would ask the NDP to form a formal coalition. The NDP would have only 14 seats, the Liberals 119. They wouldn't really need a formal agreement with the NDP, who at 14 seats and less than 13% wouldn't really "deserve" a position in government.

    And the inclusion of the NDP wouldn't really make things much easier, as such a coalition would still need the support of the Bloc. The most likely outcome is that the Liberals would form a minority government after the Conservatives are quickly defeated in a confidence motion, and the Liberals govern from month-to-month as a minority as the Conservatives have done since 2006.

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  9. "If the Liberals can gain back some NDP support, especially in Quebec, they could get a lot closer to a majority."

    Except that most of the NDP vote in Quebec is from former BQ supporters and very little of it is from ex-Liberals. The Liberals should be cheering on the NDP in Quebec since the more it takes votes from the BQ the more it helps Liberals slip up the middle.

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  10. DL,

    Agreed. It's Bloc voters that put Thomas Mulcair over the top.

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  11. Last night Harper had 500+ people for a speech in NDP stronghold in Edmonton.

    That would be much larger than the largest crowd that Mr. Ignatieff was able to draw on his summer tour.

    Think in terms of election workers and campaign funds.

    The idea of these two leaders in an election Campaign brings the Conservative Best scenario and Liberal worst scenario into far greater focus.

    The CPC will have a greater jump in pre-writ polling to election night than is normally the case.

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  12. "That would be much larger than the largest crowd that Mr. Ignatieff was able to draw on his summer tour."

    Harper's the Prime Minister so people are showing up for that reason alone, if he were the opposition leader I doubt he'd get that many. Plus the fact that he is in Edmonton it's a Conservative city, obviusly party loyalists who were invited would show up.

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  13. Red Tory Liberal:

    I like your thinking:

    "Harper's the Prime Minister so people are showing up for that reason alone, if he were the opposition leader I doubt he'd get that many.

    It is not a great leap of logic to fix your premise:

    Harper's the Prime Minister so people are going to vote for him for that reason alone, if he were the opposition leader I doubt he'd get that many votes.

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  14. No opinions or feedback on the McGuinty endorsement of Dirty Power for the GTA?

    It is like there is a media black out on this huge issue.

    It is okay to be a Global Warming Denier if if live in the GTA? or not a denier but let's leave it up to Alberta to fix the problems for my grandchildren.

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  15. sorry but calling any part of edmonton an ndp stronghold is a laughable bunch of garbage... this is just Harper preaching to the converted and shoring up support in the only riding he lost in Alberta last go round... you can spin it both ways right now... Harper has been getting quite a lot of coverage of his mean streak and pathological hatred of anyone who happens to see society and the nations best interests as different than him... he's down in the polls from last election's results and the liberals are up and harper has given us plenty of reasons lately as to why he can't be trusted with a majority...

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  16. They Tories probably send a mini-bus out to sweep up any winos staggering around downtown Edmonton and bring them to the rally so it would look full!

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  17. 500 people isn't that huge.

    I read that the Liberals, NDP, and Conservatives all drew around 1000 people for the massive rallies to introduce their canddiates for the by-election in Winnipeg North.

    I'm not really a fan of counting mobs though. Power comes from the voting booth.

    Conservatives are usually the "silent majority", its only in the US recently with the tea parties that they've started to become more vocal, more organized, and more like left wing radicals in terms of staging mass protests.

    But I think the political left will always have the advantage in turning out people to take to the streets.

    (Not the voting booth though.)

    So that's why I stay away from the counting heads game. It only adds legitimacy to things like the G8/G20 protests.

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  18. BC Voice of Reason,

    "Harper's the Prime Minister so people are going to vote for him for that reason alone, if he were the opposition leader I doubt he'd get that many votes."

    Ha, ha, ha, now that's a good one...right and the moon is made of Conservative blue cheese.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  19. It was a lot better on here when certain posters weren't polluting the discussion with recycled talking points and pro-CPC spin.

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  20. Ron ever hear of the incumbency advantage ?

    One theory holds that it doesn't exist as such, however, top quality people don't step up to challenge incumbents becuase they believe them unbeatable and it becomes a self realizing prophecy.

    If you don't try you can't win right ?

    Turns out in Vaughan, despite all this talk about the CPC being down and out and poised to lose seats the Liberals can't get anyone to run against Fantino.

    http://www.punditsguide.ca/2010/10/fantino-%C2%ABimbattabile%C2%BB-liberals-%C2%ABnon-stimolante%C2%BB-corriere-canadese/

    Oh and in Quebec ?

    CPC got a serious candidate running for them in the by-election, the prefect of the region.

    Tories know how to win Quebec by-elections, witness the massive swings towards the CPC in the 2009 Quebec by-election.

    What do you think a two seat gain for Harper is going to do to all this talk about him not wining a majority ??

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  21. "Harper has been getting quite a lot of coverage of his mean streak and pathological hatred of anyone who happens to see society and the nations best interests as different than him... "

    "plenty of reasons lately as to why he can't be trusted with a majority..."

    "They Tories probably send a mini-bus out to sweep up any winos staggering around downtown Edmonton and bring them to the rally so it would look full!"

    "Harper's the Prime Minister so people are showing up for that reason alone, if he were the opposition leader I doubt he'd get that many. Plus the fact that he is in Edmonton it's a Conservative city, obviusly party loyalists who were invited would show up."



    ........I might agree with you on the pro-tory spin "moderate Albertan"..... But I am not blind to the other side's anti-tory spin and talking points either. A few examples for you, deserving an equal share of your admonishment.

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  22. I suspect Harper would actualluy draw bigger crowds in Alberta were he opposition leader. Albertans tend to see opposition conservatives as the only hope for sanity in Ottawa, whereas they view governing Conservatives with suspicion whenever that government isn't behaving like Augusto Pinochet.

    And I say that as an Albertan who does much the same thing.

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  23. Moderate Albertan,

    "It was a lot better on here when certain posters weren't polluting the discussion with recycled talking points and pro-CPC spin."

    I take your point but I must say that I personally enjoy deflating the exaggerations of my former colleagues -- and I would image they like doing the same to me. It's a fine art deflating spinmeisters and making them look ridiculous. The odds are a little better of Liberals doing it to them than vice-versa!

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  24. Shadow,

    Quite frankly, I think Généreux was a "one-of" where the stars and machines aligned just about right.

    I'm not saying it's impossible but call me skeptical.

    On the other hand, put your focus on how stupid I'll look if you turn out to be right. We'll see.

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  25. Ron its not a "one-of" because it has happened before.

    There's been 6 by-elections (ignoring cancellations) since the CPC came into existence.

    Roberval – Lac-Saint-Jean, Saint-Hyacinthe – Bagot, Montmagny – L'Islet – Kamouraska – Rivière-du-Loup, Repentigny, Outremont, and Hochelaga.

    The CPC ran candidates in all of them but only really tried to win 3.

    (If you look at the financials the 3 they tried to win they reached close to 100% of the spending limit, the other three they spent less.)

    Their track record in the 3 elections they've ran in have been 2 wins and 1 close race.

    In all three cases 100% of the CPC supporters showed up to the polls.

    This is the advantage of having a highly motivated base.

    BQ turnout fell by half of what it was in the previous election.


    Applying this metric to Haute-Gaspésie – La Mitis – Matane – Matapédia and you basically get a BQ-CPC tie with Liberals getting less votes than in the last election.

    A close race for the CPC would certainly fit the pattern we've seen in the past.

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  26. Shadow,

    I gratefully stand corrected. I forgot that Denis Lebel was first elected to the Commons in a 2007 by-election.

    But even given that, you can still call me skeptical!

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