Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Though on rock-solid ground, Tories face fearsome odds for majority

If an election is called this spring, Stephen Harper will enter the campaign as front runner. His party’s coffers are flush with cash, he has a five-to-seven point lead over his chief rival and is opposed by a Liberal Party that has so far proven unable to capitalize on what should have been a difficult eight months for the Prime Minister. But his much coveted majority government remains beyond easy reach.

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

Before getting to the list of Conservative ridings, here is a little graphic presentation of the five party analyses I've done. Each different shade of the party colours represents one of the classifications of seats, as noted on the graph.When we look at how many ridings in which the two main parties are at play, we see where the battle lines will be drawn. In British Columbia, the Conservatives are in it in 35 ridings, compared to 12 for the Liberals. In Ontario, the Tories are in play in 88 ridings, compared to 73 for the Liberals. And in Quebec, the Liberals are in play in 34 ridings, compared to 31 for the Tories. The Bloc, of course, is at play in 64.

Here is the list of the Conservative ridings, ranked from most to least for each category.


Vegreville - Wainwright
Wild Rose
Red Deer
Calgary Southeast
Souris - Moose Mountain
Medicine Hat
Calgary Southwest
Westlock - St. Paul
Peace River
Yorkton - Melville
Portage - Lisgar
Prince George - Peace River
Edmonton - Spruce Grove
Fort McMurray - Athabasca
Calgary - Nose Hill
Calgary East
Chilliwack - Fraser Canyon
Cypress Hills - Grasslands
New Brunswick Southwest
Leeds - Grenville
Renfrew - Nipissing - Pembroke
Kootenay - Columbia
Tobique - Mactaquac
Okanahan - Coquihalla
Selkirk - Interlake
Stormont - Dundas - South Glengarry
Fundy Royal
York - Simcoe
Edmonton - St. Albert
Battlefords - Lloydminster
Edmonton - Leduc
Calgary Centre-North
Haliburton - Kawartha Lakes - Brock
Carleton - Mississippi Mills
Wellington - Halton Hills
Saskatoon - Wanuskewin
Okanagan - Shuswap
Kelowna - Lake Country
Lanark - Frontenac - Lennox and Addington
Dufferin - Caledon
Dauphin - Swan River - Marquette
Brandon - Souris
Port Moody - Westwood - Port Coquitlam
Edmonton - Mill Woods - Beaumont
Nepean - Carleton
Cariboo - Prince George
Prince Albert
Sarnia - Lambton
South Surrey - White Rock - Cloverdale
Saskatoon - Humboldt
Calgary Centre
Niagara West - Glanbrook
Delta - Richmond East
Lambton - Kent - Middlesex
Calgary West
Regina - Lumsden - Lake Centre
Whitby - Oshawa
Parry Sound - Muskoka
Elgin - Middlesex - London
Charleswood - St. James - Assiniboia
Kitchener - Conestoga
Perth - Wellington
Prince Edward - Hastings
Calgary Northeast
Lotbinière - Chutes-de-la-Chaudière


Cumberland - Colchester - Musquodoboit Valley
Kildonan - St. Paul
Regina - Qu'Appelle
Bruce - Grey - Owen Sound
Simcoe North
Pitt Meadows - Maple Ridge - Mission
Edmonton East
Northumberland - Quinte West
Central Nova
Niagara Falls
Ancaster - Dundas - Flamborough - Westdale
Chatham-Kent - Essex
Lévis - Bellechasse
Nanaimo - Alberni
Mégantic - L'Érable
St. Catharines
South Shore - St. Margaret's
Kamloops - Thompson - Cariboo
Jonquière - Alma
Edmonton Centre
Newmarket - Aurora
Fleetwood - Port Kells
Huron - Bruce
West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky
Glengarry - Prescott - Russell
Charlesbourg - Haute-Saint-Charles
Ottawa West - Nepean
Haldimand - Norfolk
Desnethé - Missinippi - Churchill River
West Nova
Vancouver Island North
Edmonton - Sherwood Park
Ottawa - Orléans
Winnipeg South


Saanich - Gulf Islands
North Vancouver
Kitchener - Waterloo
Oak Ridges - Markham
Mississauga - Erindale
Kitchener Centre
Roberval - Lac-Saint-Jean
Beauport - Limoilou
Saint Boniface
London West
Saskatoon - Rosetown - Biggar
Saint John
Surrey North


Sault Ste. Marie
Burnaby - Douglas
Edmonton - Strathcona
Moncton - Riverview - Dieppe
Western Arctic
Brampton West
Brampton - Springdale
Kingston and the Islands
Vancouver South
Esquimalt - Juan de Fuca
Simcoe - Grey


Elmwood - Transcona
Thunder Bay - Superior North
Nanaimo - Cowichan
Mississauga South
Vancouver Kingsway
Eglinton - Lawrence
Don Valley West
York Centre
London North Centre
London - Fanshawe
Ajax - Pickering
Hamilton Mountain
Bramalea - Gore - Malton
Chicoutimi - Le Fjord
British Columbia Southern Interior
Mississauga - Streetsville
Ottawa Centre
New Westminster - Coquitlam
Skeena - Bulkley Valley
Madawaska - Restigouche
Thunder Bay - Rainy River
Abitibi - Baie-James - Nunavik - Eeyou
Etobicoke Centre
Richmond Hill
Etobicoke - Lakeshore
Hamilton East - Stoney Creek
Newton - North Delta
Nipissing - Timiskaming
Scarborough Southwest
Burnaby - New Westminster
Dartmouth - Cole Harbour
Kings - Hants
Winnipeg South Centre
Mississauga - Brampton South
Vancouver Quadra
Brossard - La Prairie
Vancouver Centre
Ottawa South
Halifax West
Don Valley East
Pickering - Scarborough East
Laval - Les Iles
Mississauga East - Cooksville
Brome - Missisquoi
Etobicoke North
Scarborough Centre
Pierrefonds - Dollard
Richmond - Arthabaska
Ottawa - Vanier
Gaspésie - Iles-de-la-Madeleine
Scarborough - Guildwood
Haute-Gaspésie - La Mitis - Matane - Matapédia
Saint-Maurice - Champlain
Montmorency - Charlevoix - Haute-Côte-Nord


  1. That chart is very informative. Liberal support is soft, but Conservative growth potential is limited.

  2. ajax -pickering is not targeted? only a potential? Holland carried it by 6.6% last and it is one of 73 potential seats.

    I am not saying that Ajax-Pickering is a guaranteed CPC gain but it will not be a major upset.

    Now if Goodale is defeated in Wascana (another seat from the potential category) that would be news worthy.

    Victoria as a potential CPC seat ???? No chance in heck!! That is a Public service /union town. If Victoria falls NDP is done as a party.

    As well the CPC is not going to take any seats in NL?

    If Danny comes out and says so they might sweep NL :). If he stays out they will likely win their traditional 3 seats.

  3. It would be interesting to see what one of these charts would look like just before the 2008/2006/2004 elections.

  4. I’m not sure that I’d call Lotbiniere-Chutes de la Chaudiere a “fortress”. It elected a BQ MP as recently as 2004 and if the Tories really do crater in Quebec - easy come easy go.

    There are also a number of Tory riding you list as “secure” that I think are very much up for grabs for a variety of reasons. These include Oshawa, Palliser, South Shore St. Margarets, Kamloops, North Vancouver Island are all very high on the NDP target list and there are a whole slew of seats in that category that could easily go Liberal if in fact Ontario has moved from the 6% Tory lead last time to being dead even or even a slight Liberal lead - John Baird seats in Ottawa West would be a good example of this.

  5. Looking at some huge CPC vote swing ridings between '04 and '06 is useful:

    +50% in Beauce, +48% in Jonquière – Alma, +38.4% in Mégantic – L'Érable.

    In '06 the CPC lost a lot of ridings that were a lot closer in '04 than Beauce was, which they won.

    Elections are really unpredictable and charts of this nature are of limited value.

    Alice at pundits guide had some interesting trivia:

    *Ridings are almost NEVER close for 2 elections in a row

    *Half of ridings that change hands weren't even close last time around

    So don't be surprised if the CPC losses a fortress riding.

    And don't be surrpised if they win seats that aren't even on this list.

  6. "If Danny comes out and says so they might sweep NL :). If he stays out they will likely win their traditional 3 seats."

    Why would Danny say anything?

    As well a sweep for them in NL would be nearly impossible, NL has some of the safest Liberal seats in the country. I think there are still seats that have been Liberal since confederation, if they haven't they've only gone PC once or twice.

    The CPC might be able to win seats if they get good candidates but it won't be an easy run for any CPC candidate with Harper as their leader because people here do not like him.

  7. Ira - that's the easiest, simplest, and best summary of the chart.

    Conservatives have room for growth, but they're still severely limited in that growth against three opposition parties that, while weak, are holding enough water to present a challenge to them. Meanwhile the Liberals also have a lot of room for growth, but are failing to capitalize on it to any major extent, so long as the Conservatives remain in their stubborn 35% range.

    What do we get? Political stalemate for everyone. Yay!...

  8. Shadow, you'll note all those examples are from Quebec. The Conservatives went from non-existent to a player in the province. It was a transformation of the political landscape.

    There's no real possibility of something like that happening again for the Tories, since there isn't anywhere for it to happen.

  9. I say that if Shadow or BC VoR can use huge, local-factor influenced swings from Vaughan or QC as viable proof of how the Conservatives will get upwards of 200 seats, I say that its only fair to start using Winnipeg North and 1993 as our basis for the Liberals.

  10. bill c-10 is in my opinion one of the worst things to happen to canada in a long time.. nevermind the issues of the Feds waliking all over the will of the provinces it is a guarantee that if you have legislation in place where there are mandatory minimum sentences of 6 months for people convicted of growing over ten pot plants it will tear apart Canadian families in a way we've never seen before..
    anyway does anyone know the timeline on this bill? are the opposition parties gonna support it? mainly your article is depressing because the prospects of the con's not staying in power seem really slim..
    it's a wildcard though.. I personally would like to see the election held this year.. it's gonna be up to mr. layton ..anyone have any ideas on anything the cpc could do to get the ndp to support the budget? and does mr harper probably want the election himself? after all if he wins big on this platform he will certainly have carte Blanche do do anything he wants..

  11. a 6.6% swing in Ajax-Pickering is not a huge stretch..... not like the 16 % swing in Vaughn. or the 40% swing in Winnipeg North.

    My comment on this post just shows how hard it is for Eric's model to work to the fine details. While it likely has some good concepts their are things which I think are

    I am saying that Goodale is a fortress in Wascana and Victoria will be NDP for the next 12 years.

    If the NDP want to take back winnipeg north Judy W-L-L can decide that it is better being an MP than a defeated mayor candidate and we have another 40% swing..

    Belaquiva can't come back in Vaughn as he has a job.

  12. This analysis was not based solely on margins of victory, BCVoR.

  13. Eric there are tons of regions where a political transformation could take place.

    NDP could catch fire in Quebec. Or maybe BC over the HST issue.

    CPC could become players in the GTA like never before.

    Maybe Liberals find themselves sweeping Manitoba.

    Who knows. Once an election starts sometimes these things take on a life of their own.

    50% of ridings that switch weren't close the last time around. The next election won't be any different.

    Charts of this nature (and i know you don't just use margin of victory) have a high degree of error.

  14. Alright, I'll take into account the alien invasion factor in my next set of projections, just in case.

  15. Alien invasion factor ?

    Well no, we don't have a long established history of alien invasions during elections.

    On the other hand we DO have a long established history of a random handful of ridings experiencing unexpected large vote swings.

  16. Isn't Pontiac a vulnerable riding for the Conservatives? Lawrence Cannon only got 32% of the vote in 2008. That is VERY low for an incumbent Cabinet minister.

  17. I'm not sure that I agree with labelling Halifax as a potential Conservative pickup. For the last many elections it has been a contest between the NDP and the Liberals, with the Conservatives falling far short. The NDP holds all but one of the provincial seats that make up the riding, and has done for years. The other is held by the Liberals.

    I lived in the riding from 2007-2010, and Megan Leslie has been an active and visible constituency MP. The Conservatives weren't even able to nominate a credible candidate last time out, and the Liberal candidate for the next election is relatively strong.

    Every factor I can think of puts Halifax well beyond the CPC's reach.

  18. so harpers dumb on crime bill won't pass and Quebec city and the provincial gov't of Quebec have just reached an arena deal that leaves the cpc out in the cold.. josee vernier is uninvited to the media event etc. ...this is excellent news as it jeopordizes harpers seats in Quebec.. at least on feb 9th the liberals were in control of the soindbites and if momentum can be measured in news cycles that was a bad day for the cpc..

  19. To all those who say 'anything can happen'. Well, yeah it can. Wildrose could decide to run federally and cost the CPC Alberta. The Liberals could decide to be an effective, smartly run party (OK, alien invasion seems more likely).

    However, the point of the data is to try to figure out what is most likely to happen and then debate which of those is likely to shift, or if there is a riding that should shift from one category to another due to factor A, B, or C. Saying that 'big changes happened before' is not helpful. Saying that a star candidate is running in a certain riding, or that Newfoundland has a few ridings that could shift more than one would expect is useful.

    To my mind ridings like Guelph are the big ones - ridings where all 4 parties can see a path to victory and whichever way it goes will say a lot about who will win overall.

    If Guelph stays Liberal we can expect the HOC to stay pretty much as is and if it goes strongly Liberal they could be shifting into power.

    If it goes NDP it will be a very split house with the NDP having lots of power.

    If it goes Green we are seeing a sea-change and an extremely split HOC.

    Finally, if it goes CPC then a CPC majority is possible/probable.

    If I ran the CPC I'd be pushing for an election that hits during or just after spring exams so university towns like Guelph will see a dip in voting by students (traditionally left wing). If I'm the NDP I'd push for an election in the fall, when students are most energized. If I'm the Liberals I'd probably push for it just before the exams so students are around but the furthest left wing ones won't be voting as they'll be focused on exams (school is their life generally). Greens have no seats, thus no choice on when it happens.

  20. I love the presentation Eric, the various shades. Really nice.


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