Friday, December 17, 2010

Is a Tory majority even possible?

After months of stagnation, Conservative gains in some polls released over the last few weeks have again raised the possibility of a Tory majority. But an analysis of the ridings the Conservatives might target to attain or surpass the elusive 155-seat mark needed shows just how difficult it will be for Stephen Harper to reach his goal.

The rest of the article can be read on The Globe and Mail website.

I've written a couple of articles lately showing how dire things are for the Liberals and Michael Ignatieff. I thought it would be a good idea to look at the other side of the coin.

I get a kick (actually, I just get depressed at what it says about people) that in those earlier articles I was called a Conservative hack and part of The Globe and Mail's mission to keep Stephen Harper in power. This article has been up for less than an hour, and already the comments are filled with people saying I'm a Liberal and part of the MSM liberal agenda. I guess they didn't read my earlier pieces.

It happens here, too, though thankfully not directed at me too often. Polls good for the Conservatives are lampooned by some commenters, and polls good for the Liberals are rejected by others. They always tend to be the same people.

What is at the root of the driving need to comment on these sorts of things with nothing but partisan spin, especially when it isn't the person's job? There's an unhealthy obsession in some parts with the "bias" or "agenda" of a media outlet or polling firm. Opposing arguments are ignored or discarded based solely on who is making them. I'm sure it has always been like this, but in the internet age it has never been so public or so rampant.

I will have a post on yesterday's EKOS poll later this afternoon. There should be a projection update on Monday both here and on The Globe and Mail website as well.


  1. Maybe you should rephrase that question Eric ?

    "Is any majority for anybody possible"??

  2. I think your article would have been more complete if you included a discussion on the gun registry.

    For example the riding of Yukon, people are just so disgusted at Larry Bagnell.

    Many of these registry flip floppers will likely suffer losses equal to the losses of Newfoundland CPC candidates after the ABC campaign.

  3. Won't be an issue. Heard it here first.

  4. Just wait until they accuse you of wanting to destroy Canada, that's going to be interesting.

  5. Eric

    I am obviously CPC biased but hope that I am adding to the discussion and not attacking you or anyone in particular.

    BUT I think that here are 15 CPC gains that would not be considered huge upsets (not as big as Vaughan) if they occurred. They almost all have frittered away HUGE Liberal leads since 2006 and squeaked in 2008. If there is any consideration to momentum or shifting voter strategies or demographics these have to be considered hard to hold for the Librals. The CPC machine definitely will be aimed at them

    1) Larry Bagnall, 13.1%, the whole of the Yukon is against him on the LGR . He almost admitted defeat on the day of vote
    2) Wayne Easter 4.9% total changed on Long gun registry
    3) Siksay 1.7% as an incumbent and gone
    4) Martin .1% as incumbent and gone in reform area
    5) Holland 6.6% 2008 17% running against star candidate Chris Alexander
    6) Dosanjh 0% 20 votes. 2006 21% - Stronger Green Vote
    7) Fry 9.4% 2006 15% - bleed support to Green who will may win or let 2nd place CPC sneak in
    8) Joyce Murray Quadra 8.7% 2006 20%
    9) Ruby Dhalla, 1.7% , 2006 17% no longer centre of Liberal party private members bill not supported by party, nanny scandal
    10) Andrew kania Brampton west .4% 2006 13.5 %
    11) Volpe – 4.7% 2006 – 22% (Ford Effect)
    12) Dryden York centre – 5.5%, 2006 – 22% (Ford effect) Dryden has all but said he is useless as a MP... has lost interest
    13) Brian Murphy Moncton 3.3%- seat is Bernard Lords if he wants it
    14) Scott Andrews Avalon NL 10.1% - 2006 cpc won by 13% - No ABC and possible CPC help from Mr. Williams
    15) Rob Oliphant 5.5% 2006 20% ... Ford effect

  6. "Won't be an issue. Heard it here first."

    Didn't realize you were so in touch with Yukon voters.

    Indeed, heard it hear first. Probably heard it hear last.

  7. It won't be a national campaign issue.

  8. hey eric - I liked your article.. I think the answer to the question of why is it the same people who always seem to post hyper partisan spin comments on your blog or at the g and m site is that there are a lot of people with too much time on their hands... they must be retired...

  9. Eric, you had to have realized that the second you stepped into the world of Canadian politics, you'd either be a Liberal or Conservative hack to others. People just can't seem to get over such boxes they like to place on others.

  10. "It won't be a national campaign issue."


    But all federal elections are a mixture of pan national issues, regional issues, local issues, and riding specific issues.

    Julian Fantino promised a new hospital when he got elected in Vaughan.

    That's not a "national issue" but it still helped him win.

    Using signs, letters to the editor, flyers, door knocking, campaign speeches, recorded or live phone calls, public debates, etc etc the CPC will be able to introduce the LGR issue into any riding where doing so will be helpful.

    Its going to matter in a lot of ridings, including ones that weren't even close last time.

  11. "15) Rob Oliphant 5.5% 2006 20% ... Ford effect"

    Don Valley West was the 7th best of Toronto's 22 ridings for Smitherman

  12. "15) Rob Oliphant 5.5% 2006 20% ... Ford effect"

    Don Valley West was the 7th best of Toronto's 22 ridings for Smitherman

    Thanks for the feedback Brendan.

    Oliphant took the riding with a 20% margin from Godfrey and won it last time by 5.5%. Godfrey had started the riding with 32% and then 31% and then in 2006 down to 20%.

    Oliphant's highest exposure as a opposition MP is his willingness to prove he is not a crook - (unlike Ms. Sgro) willing to show his expenses. He has been given the mop up job as immigration critic that is owned by Jason Kenny. He is not a star candidate in a riding is strongly trending CPC. If he was defeated it would not be a considered a massive upset.

    I would venture to guess that that Smitherman did not do as well in this riding as did Mayor Miller. There would be people in this riding who voted for Ford as Mayor as their first foray in voting for the right since they supported Mike Harris and the common sense revolution in 1999.

  13. If you look at the results of the Toronto Mayor's race, there doesn't seem to be a direct relation between level of Conservative support & support for Ford. There were ridings where Ford was 35% or higher than the Conservatives were (York West, York South Weston, Etobicoke North, Etobicoke Centre) & ridings where he was only around 5% higher (St Paul's, Toronto Centre-Rosedale, Don Valley West, Eglinton Lawrence)

  14. Here's the link:

  15. 16) Speaker of the house's seat in Kingston that Milliken only won by 6.6%.. no incumbent

    17) 18) 19) by election wins in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Vaughan where seats were taken from the Bloc, Independent and Liberals respectively.

    That would be 19 seats added to the 143 the CPC won election night 2008. 162 .... even losing 5 seats in Quebec leaves the CPC with 157 ... a majority with 2 to spare

  16. Re" the so-called "Ford Effect", my particular ward 'went Ford', but federally no Conservative (PC, Reform, CA, CPC) candidate has gotten even 11% of the vote since 1988. At the same time as voting in Ford, the competition for councillor was between (a) a Pantalone faithful and (b) someone to his left. I'm not sure the 'Ford effect' will help the CPC that much in Toronto, really. Torontonians were equally annoyed by Miller, by McGuinty and by Harper - a spectrum-wide disaffection with the incumbents.

  17. Mr. Nanos must have checked over my list of possible CPC wins in GTA. In an article that was in the Hill Times he identified the at play ridings in the GTA.

    To his credit he added Mississauga South, held by 17-year Liberal veteran Paul Szabo who won last time with 4.5% margin. This was before Mr.Szabo played such a prominent role in the Mulroney-Schrieber fiasco. I really can't see his prominent role in this made for TV drama would have won him any votes.

    so 20) Szabo Mississauga South.

    I would really like to see where the Liberals would gain their 12-20 seats that Eric says the polls indicate they will get. So far I can see the Bloc getting 5 CPC seats in Quebec. The Green having a shot for one seat in BC and Eric's insistence that there must be a competitive seat or 2 in Alberta.

    What seats are the Liberals targeting and what would the rationale be behind their thinking that these seats would be in play?

    I would like more than a list of close seats.... I for instance do not think that Mr. Ignatieff's seat is in play even though raw numbers would indicate it.

  18. Kitchener—Waterloo, ON (Con) 0.03%
    Egmont, PE (Con) 0.30%
    Mississauga—Erindale, ON (Con) 0.71%
    Oak Ridges—Markham, ON (Con) 0.72%
    Kitchener Centre, ON (Con) 0.75%
    Ahuntsic, QC (BQ) 0.89%

    6 battleground seats that were within 1% that the liberals will be fighting to get back.

    That wouldn't take much of a swing in any of them.

  19. I also think that with a upward swing to 20% on the prairies and in Alberta that a couple seats might come up for battleground status in Calgary and in Regina. 5 and 15% swings are not small.

    DMC in Saskatchewan's north maybe.

    Vancouver Kingsway was a tight 3 way race....

    Sannich-Gulf Islands? Lunn won by only 1500 votes.

    Winnipeg south....

    There are lots of options.. close races from the last election that could flip.

  20. Thanks Barcs

    You would think with the liberals poise to pick up 19 seats there would be some more obvious ones:

    Kitchener—Waterloo, ON (Con) 0.03% should a be a toss up but slipping from Liberal 27% Margin in 2000 to CPC. Why would this trend be reversed?

    Egmont, PE (Con) 0.30% CPC has cabinet minister Shea who is incumbent

    Mississauga—Erindale, ON (Con) 0.71% should be a toss up but Carolyn Parrish won here in 2004 by 22%. The trend is all towards CPC.

    Oak Ridges—Markham, ON (Con) 0.72% toss up - another one that CPC support has been growing since 2000. ethic vote switching to CPC

    Kitchener Centre, ON (Con) 0.75% 50-50 chance , seat taken from long time Liberal Karen Redman last election who won riding by 26% in 2000 and has trended down each election since. Trend says 15% CPC win in 2011

    Ahuntsic, QC (BQ) 0.89% Goes against the trend of the Bloc getting stronger in QC

    DMC in Saskatchewan's north maybe.

    I don't know who DMC is but star liberal Candidate Orchard was soundly thrashed there last election

    Vancouver Kingsway was a tight 3 way race....

    With the CPC making up the most ground. The Liberals would have a chance with David Emerson running but he is a CPC fund raiser now. NDP are not getting weaker in BC.

    Sannich-Gulf Islands? Lunn won by only 1500 votes.

    If the Liberals run a strong candidate Lunn wins otherwise it goes to Elizabeth May.

    Winnipeg south....

    Last time out the Liberals ran John Loewen who was a much bigger star candidate than Kevin Lamoureux who just won Winnipeg north. Loewen lost by over 12% to Rod Bruinooge who narrowly upset Liberal cabinet Reg Alcock in 2006. In 2004 Alcock won with a margin of 17%. Nothing is impossible but a Liberal win in South Winnipeg would be a major upset.

    There has to be more solid examples of where Liberals will be favorites in ridings that CPC are incumbent.

    The only way most of these ridings go back Liberal is if Ignatieff can deliver a couple of thousand more votes per riding than Dion.

  21. What is at the root of the driving need to comment on these sorts of things with nothing but partisan spin, especially when it isn't the person's job?

    People repeat what they see and hear. If most of the exposure that someone has to politics is through listening to angry talk shows, then their opinions and comments will sound a lot like those angry talk shows.

    I'm sure it has always been like this, but in the internet age it has never been so public or so rampant.

    Despite appearances, mass media is acutally helping to dispel hyperpartisanship. Compare the political influence of the clergy ("Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge") between the pre-mass media age and today. Early newspapers were highly partisan but over time market forces have pushed them to be more "balanced" in order to appeal to more readers. TV, radio and the internet have given people access to a much greater variety of facts and opinions, resulting in a much more sophisticated electorate than has ever existed.

    I am not at all worried about the drop in voting rates. Voting is the ultimate hyperpartisan act: choosing one political party to rule you for four years to the exlusion of all others.


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