Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tories, NDP look secure in Manitoba but Vaughan will go down to wire

While there is little doubt surrounding the outcome of two of the three by-elections on Nov. 29, all eyes will be on Vaughan, the Toronto-area riding where former OPP commissioner and Conservative candidate Julian Fantino will try to steal the seat from the incumbent Liberals.

You can read the rest of my article on the upcoming by-elections on The Globe and Mail website.

I'll update these projections here on the blog as we approach the actual by-election. I based these calculations on two things: uniform swing based on the current regional popular vote projections, and "resistance" to these wider swings. That is, how the 2009 by-election results differed from what a uniform swing should've given.

It was a fascinating exercise for me, as it demonstrated that, without much exception since 2006, the Conservatives have done a good job in keeping up their vote in by-elections. Undoubtedly it helps to be in government. The Liberals and NDP tend to do worse, but at similar levels, while the Greens are horrendous.

I'll have a full report on yesterday's Harris-Decima poll later on today.


  1. Éric:

    Interesting column, but I think you are massively underestimating the "Kevin Lamoureux" factor in Winnipeg North. He was elected four times as an MLA in the area and is well known in Winnipeg.

    The Winnipeg Free Press calls this race a "dogfight" between the NDP and the Liberals.

  2. I'm sure Lamoureux will do well in his portion of the riding that he has represented at the provincial level, but I'm not sure it will be enough. He ran as a Liberal in Winnipeg Centre back in 2000, but he actually performed worse in that election than in 1997.

  3. That wasn't very clear - his performance in the 2000 election in Winnipeg Centre was worse than the Liberal candidate's performance in that riding in 1997. So he didn't really help the party in 2000.

    But if there is going to be a "surprise", I expect it to be here. Lamoureux is the only candidate in all three races that has a chance to radically change my projections.

  4. I agree with political junkie. While Kevin Lamoureux will probably have a tough time winning Winnipeg North, he will do dramatically better than the 9% support that is projected. As a resident of Manitoba, I know that Kevin has tremendous support in that riding (just look at the number of signs!). This is definately a winnable riding for the Liberals and I expect the final vote tally to be close.

  5. Keep in mind that there are 4 or 5 provincial ridings within each federal riding in Manitoba and Lamoureux's provincial seat is partly in Winnipeg North and partly in Kildonan-St. Paul - so he is currently the provincial MLA for about 15% of the people in Winnipeg North - and that's assuming that his ability to get elected provincially would even translate to the federal level.

    BTW: Did anyone else see that Inky Mark has denounced as "undemocratic" the CPC process to handpick his successor in Dauphin and eh will not endorse the guy running.

  6. "Undoubtedly it helps to be in government."

    Thats not usually the case, though, is it? Historically the governing party loses byelections.

  7. I agree you underestimate the local factors in Winnipeg North.
    Lamoureux won 58% of the vote in his provincial seat in 2007, when the Manitoba Liberals were winning 12% of the province-wide vote. Surely that kind of special local appeal will be able to carry over in this byelection where the federal Liberals are much stronger in Winnipeg. His provincial riding is about half of the federal Winnipeg North riding.

    Lamoureux's 2000 run in Winnipeg Centre was in a riding he didn't represent provincially - but even then he did well for a Lib candidate in a province where the Liberal vote sagged a bit. The 1997 result was higher because the Liberal candidate in that election was the incumbent. By 2000, Pat Martin was the incumbent, and still Lamoureux made it a race. It hasn't been a race there since.

    We'll see how the local factor works in Vaughan for Fantino. Tories haven't done too well in opposition riding byelections in Ontario since 2006 - remember London North Centre?

  8. Oh good!

    Juicy Liberal-NDP vote splits in Winnipeg North sounds like the CPC candidate can come up the middle.

    A three way race will be very interesting.

  9. Winnipeg North will most likely remain in the NDP camp. Nevertheless here are some warning signs:

    1. Not that long ago, relatively speaking, in the 2004 election the NDP won the seat by a 48% to 37% margin against the Liberals;

    2. During the 2008 election, the NDP garnered 24% of the vote in Manitoba v. 19% for the Liberals;

    3. A recent Manitoba Probe Research poll with a 1,000 sample size shows the NDP at 18% (-6%) and the Liberals at 25% (+6%).

    4. More importantly, that same Probe Research poll shows the Liberals at 32% in Winnipeg v. 21% for the NDP;

    5. Kevin Lamoureux has a relatively high profile in the region;

    6. Provincially popular Gary Doer has left the scene and provincial NDP support is waning after three terms, which may impact federal fortunes;

    OTOH, Kevin Chief seems to have attracted a large crowd to his nomination meeting and Winnipeg North is a bedrock NDP constituency both historically and in terms of demographics.

  10. Shadow,

    Julie Javier isn't going to come up the middle. It will simply not happen. You know it, I know it, Javier knows it. It will not be a three-way race, it may end up not even being a two-way race. The last time the Conservatives came close to winning in that riding was 1984, with a 13-point margin between them and the winning NDP. That was also the last time they were competitive.

    In fact, if you go over the results of Winnipeg North, the Conservatives and Liberals split the vote more often than the NDP and Liberals did. Is that your idea of "coming up the middle" - the NDP?

    Give it up. The NDP have the riding pretty much locked. Javier is the candidate because the Conservatives wanted to bite into Lamoureaux's support and try and embarrass the Liberals. No one, except apparently you, has illusions of Javier winning. You could be excused of having illusions about Lamoureaux winning, but only if you give him something around a 1% chance. Anything more and you're pretty much nuts.

  11. "His (Lamoureux) provincial riding is about half of the federal Winnipeg North riding."

    No, its about one sixth of it actually.

  12. Okay I overestimated saying Inkster provincial riding is 50% of Winnipeg North. Did some research. It appears to be about one third of the geography, and approx. 25% of the total population.

    Here's the provincial riding map. None of Inkster is in Kildonan-St-Paul. It's all in Winnipeg North.

    According to Elections Canada, Winnipeg North's total population is 79,000. According to wikipedia, Inkster had a total population of about 19,000 in 1996.

    So we can assume that Inkster is now about 25% of Winnipeg North's population. So while Lamoureux can be said to be quite popular in his part of Winnipeg North, it remains to be seen how much pull he'll have in the rest of Winnipeg North.

  13. Volkov I am telling you right now that the CPC/NDP will place first or second in that race.

    Liberals will be third.

  14. I don't know if the Liberals here got the memo but don't set the bar high in Winnipeg North. Liberals are going to lose but claiming you can win it, putting money behind then losing it will be crushing to your party. Run a hard race and if there is a surprise then you claim huge victories but even if you second you win. However you set the bar high and you lose the west is gone.

    Welcome to politics.

  15. Shadow,

    I'd ask you to place a bet on that, but alas.

  16. I'm from Winnipeg, although I don't live in the riding. The Liberals are not at 9% in Winnipeg North. Whatever model you use puts too much emphasis on the 2008 results when the Liberals ran a weak candidate. I usually like the analysis on this site, but you need to take into account local factors such as candidate organization and name recognition.

    Lamoureux will have a larger positive benefit on his party's standing in the by-election than Fantino will have on his. I'm not saying Lamoureux will win, but it is guarenteed that he will at least run a strong second, Javier will be a distant third. Driving the riding the other day, Lamoureux is winning the sign war by what looks like to be 6 or 7-1 over Chief, and according to reports he had many more people at his campaign launch than Layton and Chief had at their kickoff on Saturday. Javier is never available (purposefully I assume) for comment in the media, the local media all think this is a real NDP/Liberal race.

    My prediction, NDP 50%, LPC 35%, CPC 15%

    Those numbers will be much closer to reality on November 29th than the sloppy numbers you provided for the Globe. Although they are confident of a win, the NDP locally take the Lamoureux threat very seriously. You put too much stock in past results, especially for a by-election that might produce 25-30% turnout.


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