Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Liberals poised for gains, but not government, in make-or-break battle

Depending on the outcome, Michael Ignatieff’s first kick at the electoral can could be his last. Though the Liberal Party is arguably better equipped and positioned to fight the next election than it was under Stéphane Dion, it will take a significant shift in public opinion to bump the Grits out of the opposition benches and into government.

The rest of the article, my fourth in a five-part series, can be read on The Globe and Mail website.

As I've done for the other parties, here is the full list of ridings and their classification. I've put them in order from most to least (i.e., most secure, least vulnerable).

FORTRESS RIDINGS (19)

Labrador
Humber - St. Barbe - Baie Verte
Bonavista - Gander - Grand Falls - Windsor
Saint-Laurent - Cartierville
York West
Saint-Léonard - Saint-Michel
Random - Burin - St. George's
Scarborough - Rouge River
Toronto Centre
Sydney - Victoria
Notre-Dame-de-Grâce - Lachine
Mount Royal
Scarborough - Agincourt
Markham - Unionville
St. Paul's
Cape Breton - Canso
Cardigan
Bourassa
Westmount - Ville-Marie

SECURE RIDINGS (47)

Halifax West
York South - Weston
Pierrefonds - Dollard
Scarborough - Guildwood
Wascana
Ottawa - Vanier
Scarborough Centre
Etobicoke North
Dartmouth - Cole Harbour
Vancouver Centre
Mississauga East - Cooksville
Pickering - Scarborough East
Charlottetown
Kings - Hants
Don Valley East
Davenport
Vancouver Quadra
Beauséjour
Ottawa South
Willowdale
Mississauga - Brampton South
Newton - North Delta
Winnipeg South Centre
Madawaska - Restigouche
St. John's South - Mount Pearl
Scarborough Southwest
Nipissing - Timiskaming
Etobicoke Centre
Richmond Hill
Etobicoke - Lakeshore
Beaches - East York
Laval - Les Iles
LaSalle - Émard
Mississauga - Streetsville
Honoré-Mercier
Hull - Aylmer
Parkdale - High Park
Avalon
Bramalea - Gore - Malton
Ajax - Pickering
London North Centre
Don Valey West
York Centre
Eglinton - Lawrence
Mississauga South
Malpeque
Guelph

VULNERABLE RIDINGS (11)

Brossard - La Prairie
Papineau
Brampton West
Brampton - Springdale
Moncton - Riverview - Dieppe
Winnipeg North
Kingston and the Islands
Vancouver South
Esquimalt - Juan de Fuca
Yukon
Lac-Saint-Louis

TARGETED RIDINGS (23)

Saanich - Gulf Islands
North Vancouver
Kitchener - Waterloo
Vancouver Kingsway
Mississauga - Erindale
Oak Ridges - Markham
Kitchener Centre
Egmont
Saint John
Sudbury
Welland
Trinity - Spadina
Saint Boniface
London West
Vaughan
Thunder Bay - Rainy River
Ahuntsic
Haute-Gaspésie - La Mitis - Matane - Matapédia
Brome - Missisquoi
Jeanne-Le Ber
Gatineau
Burnaby - Douglas
Outremont

POTENTIAL RIDINGS (54)

West Nova
Halifax
Miramichi
Ottawa - Orléans
Thunder Bay - Superior North
Winnipeg South
Nunavut
Haldimand - Norfolk
Brant
Kenora
Desnethé - Missinippi - Churchill River
Ottawa West - Nepean
Pontiac
Thornhill
West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky
Oakville
Fleetwood - Port Kells
Glengarry - Prescott - Russell
Algoma - Manitoulin - Kapuskasing
Richmond
Essex
Hamilton East - Stoney Creek
Ottawa Centre
Halton
Huron - Bruce
Fredericton
Churchill
Newmarket - Aurora
Edmonton Centre
Toronto - Danforth
South Shore - St. Margaret's
Saint-Lambert
Alfred-Pellan
Laval
Burlington
Peterborough
St. Catharines
Nickel Belt
Louis-Hébert
Central Nova
Gaspésie - Iles-de-la-Madeleine
Chatham-Kent - Essex
Ancaster - Dundas - Flamborough - Westdale
Niagara Falls
Portneuf - Jacques-Cartier
Northumberland - Quinte West
Simcoe North
Compton - Stanstead
Vaudreuil-Soulanges
Laurentides - Labelle
Marc-Aurèle-Fortin
Abitibi - Baie-James - Nunavik - Eeyou
Shefford
Drummond

24 comments:

  1. I'm really surprised you have both St. John's South and Avalon as secure, especially St. John's. While I'd like to see Siobhan Coady stick around she has her work cut out for her, Scott Andrews probably to a lesser extent to. The Conservatives have some big names now intersected in running, including Loyola Sillivan in St. John's South. I've heard people refer to this as one of the safest conservative risings outside Alberta, while Hatper is still hated here Sullivan has a good chance of winning. And if Fabian Manning stays in the Senate and let's John Ottenheimer run in Avalon it will be up for grabs.

    Even without a star candidate I think Sipbhan is vulnerable. .

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  2. Just whistling past the graveyard . . . With a popularity rating of 16% Iggy is going nowhere.

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  3. I would like to correct my previous comment. Iggy is going nowhere unless it be back to Cambridge (USA or UK, take your pick).

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  4. Dio,

    Sounds very similar to an Opposition leader from 2003-2004 who everyone thought should just pack up and go back "home" to Calgary. Hm.....

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  5. What I'm really looking forward to seeing is the Conservative's being analyzed in this way. For some reason, I don't think they'll have a hilarious amount more of "potential" seats than the Liberals do - certainly over 155-160, but I think they start to run up against a wall once past that.

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  6. Eric, in the article you state that that two Liberals deciding not to run puts them on the cusp of vulnerability. I'm not clear on whether the decision of the incumbent to sit the next campaign out by itself makes the riding vulnerable, or whether this factor is combined with past election results. There are other Liberals, Shawn Murphy for example, who've decided not to run again.

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  7. Blake from Edmonton02 February, 2011 12:06

    Hey Dio, one thing you should note is that while 16% approval isn't good, you can't compare apples to apples here. Layton, Harper and Duceppe have all had at least 4 campaigns to show themselves to the public, Iggy is making due with limited summer coverage. Of course if you are asked to pick who you like more you go with the guy you have a history with.

    Also, I can tell you first hand that there is a lot of Harper opposition in Edmonton lately. We could see some big shifts out here if he doesn't get his act together.

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  8. Anonymous,

    Other factors were taken into account beyond whether an incumbent has decided to sit out the next election. Looking at the profile of the ridings, I consider Kingston and the Islands and Esquimalt - Juan de Fuca to be vulnerable because of the departures of Milliken and Martin.

    Charlottetown and Mississauga East - Cooksville, on the other hand, I feel will stay within the Liberal fold despite the departure of their MPs.

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  9. While I'm not a big fan of Iggy's, I'm not sure how much the Iggy factor plays in the current Liberal malais. The Liberal leader has done a good job lately of painting the Grits as a kinder, gentler centerish party (certainly not left) as opposed to the hard hearted Tories. And that's about all he can do for the moment. The rest is up to the electorate and the CPC. As I've said before, voters are beginning to tire of the Tories and it's showing in their relatively lacklustre polling. When we've had enough, and it could be as soon as fall of 2012, we'll elect a Liberal government, most likely a majority, even with Iggy at the helm. However, I think Harper will pull the plug before that, possibly this fall.
    Cheers

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  10. Blake: Hey Dio, one thing you should note is that while 16% approval isn't good, you can't compare apples to apples here. Layton, Harper and Duceppe have all had at least 4 campaigns to show themselves to the public, Iggy is making due with limited summer coverage. Of course if you are asked to pick who you like more you go with the guy you have a history with."

    That's all very true, typically first time leaders do have a tough go of things because, as you say, voters don't have history with them. Iggy's problem is that voters won't have a history with him until AFTER the next election. Dio's point, which I think is right, is that Iggy is liability in there here and now. And it isn't clear whether his party will give him a second chance.

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  11. Volkov: "Sounds very similar to an Opposition leader from 2003-2004 who everyone thought should just pack up and go back "home" to Calgary."

    Indeed it does, how did that opposition leader do in his first election? Hmm, not a great indicator for Iggy.

    Moreover, there's an important difference between those two situations. Harper controlled his party to such a degree that he would live to fight again another day. With Iggy, it isn't so clear. Iggy doesn't have the luxury of time that Harper had.

    There's another, but time-related, difference too. In 2004, Harper was 45 years old. In May of this year Iggy will turn 64. If Iggy loses the next election, will he have the stamina, or the inclination, to stick around for another 2 or 3 years for a chance to be a PM into his 70s?

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  12. Carl,

    I know Iggy's old but don't you know 64 is the new 45? xD

    But of course, I can't help but agree. If he doesn't have a good showing this election, then I doubt he'll stick around in the leadership capacity, though I don't think he would just "leave for Harvard" as those idiotic ads claim.

    That being said, remember that in 2004 Harper as going up against a dynasty, and he still increased his party's seat count and stature. That's what right now most Liberals are looking for. I don't think the majority of us are confident about winning government, but we want to get out of the rut we were put in and at least become competitive again. That's Iggy's number one job right now, and he seems to more or less be on track for that, though who really knows until we hit a campaign.

    And if he can do that, well, I'd say all bets are off on whether or not he'd stay for another election. I personally lean to the idea that, yeah, he would, age be damned. Didn't stop Lester Pearson. I mean, he stepped down from a very prestigious position to enter into the Canadian political fray - I don't see him backing down from it unless he totally tanks the party. Then he'll just be tossed.

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  13. Ajax - Pickering a secure Liberal riding?

    Might be if the Liberals would have convinced the CPC future cabinet minister (Foreign Affairs) Chris Alexander to run for them instead of as a CPC.

    Holland held onto the rising by 6.6% last election. If the star Candidate shift (15%) seen in Vaughn holds Mr. Alexander will win that riding by about 10%.

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  14. Eglinton - Lawrence is a secure riding ?

    Did you miss high profile Liberal Rocco Rossi endorsing the CPC candidate in that riding ?

    He's running there provincially for the PCs now.


    Its a HUGE target for the CPC. Same with Missisauga East-Cookville.

    They must know something you don't.

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  15. Carl: Good point on Iggy. I think he has done enough good lately that if he suprises, it is on the upside. If he can get even close to 100 seats I think that he will have the ability to stay on. I agree that his age is a bit of a, he might not have enother campaign in him.

    I do think that once you get him in a few debates he will show some promise though. Keep in mind that he had a talk show in Britain for 10 years- a very tough, debate style show.

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  16. BC VoR,

    Flawless logic. Absolutely flawless. Notice the "LAWL" in the middle there.

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  17. In 2000, the Liberals won Lac-Saint-Louis by 40,000 votes. Now it's listed as "vulnerable". Yikes.

    Of course, it was Clifford Lincoln who ran up those huge vote totals in Lac-St-Louis. Lincoln was a well-known former provincial cabinet minister who resigned as minister on a matter of principled disagreement over government policy. Even retired and in his 80's, he is still lobbying for better government services for his riding. The current Liberal MP is Francis Scarpaleggia, who is your typical anonymous backbencher.

    Harper has been excellent at bringing well-known faces into his team. Some aren't particularly qualified for lawmaking(eg., TV presenters, sports personalities) but they get voters to pay some attention.

    Iggy's team has to try really hard to get one or two better-known personalities to run for him, in order to give reporters someone to talk to. They're not going to ask for a soundbite from Francis Scarpaleggia.

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  18. everyone seems to forget about the results in the Winnipeg north bi-election...when the liberals blow everyone's expectations of modest gains through the roof there are gonna be a few regular posters on this blog that are gonna be in a pretty bad mood...the point is that overall, harper is taking the country in a direction that 2/3d's of the electorate deplores.. the only party behaving in an uncompromising fashion is the cpc... the same bunch that destroyed our public finances and is attempting to turn us into a nanny state for the extremists of the religious right in the u.s.a. ..all you'll have left when iggy gets a minority is a drunken don cherry slurring his words about left wing kooks..

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  19. I can't wait to see the Rocco Rossi disaster unfold. The PC star candidate is months away from being the head Federal Liberal fundraiser and was the man who suggested Iggy to the Liberals. This has carpetbagger written all over it. Brought a smile to my face today. Apparently some rats get back on sinking ships.

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  20. Volkov:
    "That being said, remember that in 2004 Harper as going up against a dynasty, and he still increased his party's seat count and stature."

    Yes, but let's be honest, the Tories did better in 2004 because the PCs and reform merged, not because Stephen Harper did anything special. It was a structural change that put the Tories over the top, not the leader.

    As for Iggy making the Liberals competitive, I think that's the Liberal's problem, they're counting on leader to be a saviour who will make them competitive. But the Liberal's problem isn't their leader (although, that doesn't help), but that they simply are not competitive in wide swaths of the country (Francophone Quebec and Canada between Missisauga and Vancouver) and haven't been for at least two decades. Winning a few more seats around Toronto or in the Maritimes isn't going to change that.

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  21. Blake: "I do think that once you get him in a few debates he will show some promise though. Keep in mind that he had a talk show in Britain for 10 years- a very tough, debate style show"

    Yes, but it's a lot easier to debate when you're the host of the show. In any event, Canadian debates are so managed that even a champion debater won't have a "you had a choice, sir" moment.

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  22. Kevin Michael the Vaughan by-election from the same night makes any attempt to show case Winnipeg North as an omen for the coming Ignatieff victory utterly laughable.

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  23. "If the star Candidate shift (15%) seen in Vaughn holds Mr. Alexander will win that riding by about 10%."

    There was no incumbent in Vaughn

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  24. There's no way Alexander beats Holland. He's not the same kind of Star candidate that Fantino is. I would actually be suprise to see Fantino hold his seat. He was suppose to walk away with it and it was suprisingly close.

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