Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Breaking down the seat numbers

The current federal projection puts both the Liberals and Conservatives in range of winning a plurality of seats, but neither appears capable to assemble the numbers for a majority government at this point. Let's take a closer look at this.

First, though, I invite you to check out my article today for the CBC. I've delved more deeply into the numbers for British Columbia, an interesting three-way race with multiple sub-regional contests, and Alberta, where some surprises could be in store for 2015.

Despite being behind in the vote projection by 1.3 points, the Conservatives are currently being awarded 136 seats. That puts them 34 seats short of an outright majority (169 seats is the threshold for 50%, but unless a sitting government wants to have the Speaker be from one of the opposition parties, 170 seats are needed).

Conservative ranges
If we look more broadly at the likely ranges, the Conservatives have between 117 and 155 seats. That still puts them 15 short of a majority government, a big gap to overcome. The polls would need to be off by a fair bit, and a lot of the close races would have to fall in their favour, for a majority government to be won at this stage of the game.

The chart on the left breaks down the Conservative ranges over the last three weeks. I've removed the Liberals and NDP ranges for clarity. Below I've done the same for the Liberal and NDP numbers.

If we extend things even further to the maximum ranges, the Conservatives are in play in 189 seats. That gives them a cushion of 19 for a majority government, but would require the polls to be significantly off the mark. The maximum projection, for instance, is based on national support of just over 41%.

The Conservatives' hopes of a majority government really come down to Ontario and British Columbia. Even in the best of circumstances, where the party takes 41% of the vote, their seat total would only be increased by 16 outside of these two provinces. That isn't enough. Instead, it is British Columbia, where they could boost their haul by nine seats, and particularly Ontario, where they could take 24 more seats, where a majority government will be won or lost.

However, that is not the situation the party currently finds itself in, well short of a majority and neck-and-neck with the Liberals in the seat ranges. Even if the party does manage to end up at the high end of their current range, or 155 seats, the Liberals and New Democrats would likely end up with a majority between them. Would a Conservative minority government really last very long?

Liberal ranges
The Liberals, currently at 126, are well short of a majority and are even short of the Conservatives for a plurality. But their likely range puts them between 107 and 144 seats, and so capable of placing first in the seat count. A majority government does not appear in the cards at the moment - the maximum for the party is 165, five short of the mark.

For the Liberals, whether they end up on the high end of the range depends almost entirely on Ontario and Quebec. They are currently close to their maximum in British Columbia, Alberta, the Prairies, and Atlantic Canada. Even if the party ends up at the maximum range of their likely support, they can only pick-up six extra seats in these regions.

These regions are actually more in danger of being disappointing. If things go badly, they could finish with 18 fewer seats in these regions than they are currently slated to take.

Ontario is the big prize, though, with the current range being between 45 and 63 seats. That accounts for roughly half of their national range.

There is slightly less potential for a breakthrough in Quebec, but it is nevertheless important as the party currently sits at between 20 and 30 seats there. The maximum goes up to 35. What this means is that if the Liberals are slightly under-performing in Ontario and Quebec, they cannot make up those losses with better performances in the rest of the country. Their election chances live and die in Ontario and Quebec.

For the New Democrats, placing first or second is currently not envisioned. Their overall take is slated at 72 seats at the moment. While that is down 31 seats from what they managed in 2011, it would still rank as their second-best performance in party history. But their sights are set higher than that.

NDP ranges
The ranges suggest the party is unlikely to return to pre-2011 levels, with between 54 and 87 seats. The lower end of the scale, however, would lead to more gains for the Bloc Québécois. This has the potential to complicate the arithmetic in a minority legislature. With the Bloc at a half-dozen seats or less, the NDP and Liberals can form a majority on their own. Once the party starts creeping closer to 10 seats, that becomes less likely. And the only route for a stronger Bloc is through the NDP.

The maximum ranges for the party do suggest it could end up with as few as 30 seats, but that assumes a major collapse, particularly in Quebec. Their higher range of 109 seats is more interesting, as it would likely lead them to finishing second in the seat count. Though the NDP's highest range is higher than the lowest range for the Liberals and Conservatives, it is not conceivable that all three can occur at the same time. If the NDP is as high as 26%, for instance, the Liberals are likely down quite a bit - which means the Conservatives win more seats. At this stage, an outright NDP victory does not seem plausible.

Quebec really is where everything will be decided for the NDP. Stronger performances outside of the province would only add six seats to the current projection of 72. A strong performance in Quebec could add nine seats alone (or 16 if things go very well). A poor performance in Quebec could drop the party by nine seats. A really bad performance could drop them by 22.

Ontario is also important for the NDP, but more in terms of avoiding a serious drop in seats. They are considered to be in play in just 18 ridings there at the moment, but could drop to eight with even a slight under-performance. Ontario is more about salvaging things for the NDP than making gains.

That about sums up the lay of the land at this point, with the likely ranges serving as a good guide to where things could potentially go in the coming months if no major shifts take place. The maximum ranges tell us what could happen if those major shifts take place. If that happens, of course, the numbers will be re-calculated to see where things could go from that new vantage point. It will be an interesting year.


  1. One critical factor appears to be missing in the seat projection model. In 2011, Elizabeth May was excluded from the debates. Media promptly started covering three parties (four in Quebec), and voters obediently went into the polling booth with that mindset. May will not be excluded this time around, and that will change the Green profile completely. Pre-election raw polling numbers will not be comparable between 2011 and 2015.

    How do you properly model that? Beats me. However, it’s clearly a factor that should be recognized. Otherwise, on October 20th you’ll be reporting on the entirely unexpected results on Vancouver Island.

    1. Polling should reflect any boost that the Greens receive by being in the debate, the modeling of which would be no different than the ups and downs experienced by any other party.

    2. Absolutely true, after the debates. However, seat projections now based on polling data *at a comparable time before the 2011 election* may be misleading. In 2011, there was a Green drop in the polling booth. That won't necessarily happen again.

    3. 'Necessarily' being the main thing. You're making a lot of assumptions that may not come true, A) that May will be in the debate and B) that her performance will help her party.

  2. Here's my take on current polling (and this is anecdotal, speculative and data-free, so I am aware it's not exactly "scientific"):

    When asked (as I have about 3 or 4 times in the last year) to participate in a phone poll, most people's responses are based on their overall feeling about parties, and the last few weeks of news, coupled with the knowledge that the election is still a ways away. Meaning, that where voters seem to be reluctant to commit now, as the election approaches, they will begin shifting. Those hedging their bets on Lib/NDP will move to one or the other; those flirting with Green will consider whether they want to support the party if it means splitting the progressive vote; those currently "okay" with the CPC based on the shootings in Ottawa, planned tax relief, whatever, may decide when the writ is dropped that a change might be needed. Or, conversely, those flirting with a change might suddenly decide that it's not worth risking whatever it is we have.

    In other words, I think it most likely that the campaign will reveal something about the parties that current polling cannot capture, and voters will be motivated to commit themselves in a way they aren't now. Parties need, in other words, only be in the ball park now, so they can step to the plate during the campaign. At that point, I suspect votes will begin to coalesce more obviously around the status quo (Con majority) or change (Lib/NDP majority/minority). I don't really see how a Con minority is at all likely, because the conditions needed to give rise to it would include softening of their support, and that will only happen in a scenario where it switches to the other parties in a more significant way. I accept these polls, but I don't think they will look much like the actual story on election night.

    1. Agreed completely. When the election is called we'll see all kinds of issues emerge and the question will be which captures the public the most. Will it be 'time for a change' thus giving Trudeau a big push, will it be 'a pox on both houses' giving the NDP & Greens a bonus, or will it be 'tough economy, need to keep steady hand on the wheel' thus Conservatives (regardless of what the CPC actually is like, that is how the general public would view it most likely).

      I suspect the Conservatives are debating which will work better... a spring election where the first week or two will be all about them calling it early, thus compressing the 'real issue' time to about 2 weeks, or a fall election after they have sent out cheques to targeted voters and the fallout from spring issues will have calmed down and their big war chest has maximum time to do its thing. Guess we will learn around the end of February as that is as late as they could call it and avoid the spring budget (with a deficit), the Duffy trial, etc. If we reach March and no call I expect we are looking at the fall then.

    2. What will have a bigger impact on the Federal election.

      1) the Duffy trial .... If Duffy is healthy enough to go to trial.

      2) The Wynne/Trudeau Ontario Budget

      3) the Ontario public service strike (or Wynne caving into their ongoing outrageous pay/benefit packages)

      4) the federal budget that will either be balanced or small deficit.

      5) the cheques to the middle class with children

      I think the Liberals would much rather have an early election as 3 of these are going to leave them in a worse position than they are today and the small federal deficit will make their specific infrastructure promises (inspired and demanded by Wynne) unfunded and unbelievable without huge borrowing (deficit)

    3. I'm sorry, for your #2, which budget is that? Which Trudeau are you refering to that is in Ontarian provincial politics?

    4. Trudeau has campaigned with and closely allied himself with Premier Wynne.

      Wynne has come to the end of Ontario's fiscal options.... The bond agencies are no longer just warning.... they are raising the interest Ontario has to pay to borrow money.

      Wynne has asked/told Harper to use Canada's great credit rating to borrow more money at a better rate for Ontario.

      Can you picture any scenario where the Wynne Budget does not cause pain, hardship and have broken promises. The folks in Ontario will be wondering how they ever voted Liberal.

  3. I would not assume that May will be allowed in the leaders debate. If she is allowed in despite only having two seats - why not also clutter the English (and French) language debates with the participation of Beaulieu and Fortin (they represent parties that also have 2 seats)...and the networks do NOT want a six way debate that includes three minor fringe players. They will have at least one Harper/Mulcair/Trudeau debate

    1. The historic method has been to have anyone with a seat in the HOC to join in the debate on TV. Wikipedia (I know, not the ideal source) says that historically 5% nationally in polls plus a seat has been required. Greens easily meet both criteria while the two Quebec only parties do not have 5% nationally (depending on the poll). That is how Reform got into the 1993 debates with just 1 seat and Greens in 2008.

      Really, we need clear written rules on this so there isn't a debate about the debate each election cycle. Make it a clear set of rules and set up at least 2 debates in English and 2 in French. If a party refuses to participate then have their spending limit cut in half - a strong way to force the contenders to show up.

    2. Yes, that's a good point. After Elizabeth May finally won a seat in 2011, Peter Mansbridge announced on CBC on Election Night that this would mean she would be in the 2015 debates.

      But will the t.v. networks really go through with that? As you say, the BQ still has 2 seats in Parliament, and now there's the new F&D party which also has 2 seats (including its leader). So the networks are in a pickle. Do they allow 6 leaders in? (There were 5 back in the days between 1993-2000 before 'Unite the Right', but 6 might be pushing it.)

    3. One would think the parties in the debate should have at least official party statues or baring that a 10% national polling average.

      Seams a bit silly at this point to give the Greens, BQ or the FD any seat at the table.

    4. Well, democracy can be a bit messy. I say if a party has candidates running in a majority of ridings they should be allowed into the debate. Yes, we might end up with 'too many' but check out debates for leadership of parties ... those often can have 10+ and it lets voters hear from those they can vote for. Maybe it doesn't make for as exciting TV as hearing the Libs & CPC say the other is the devil, but it is far better for democracy.

    5. Neither the government nor the networks have an interest in pursuing that objective, John.

      I also question whether "democracy" should be an objective of ours. I'd much rather have good government that might not be democratic than democratic government that might not be good.

    6. Well, the gov't would like to ban all parties other than themselves I'm sure :)

      I find it scary that anyone posting here would be saying that democracy shouldn't be an objective. As Winston Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of government other than all the others. If you don't have a true democracy then you can have very, very bad government. Look at some of the 'majority' actions by parties with under 40% of the vote, both Liberal & Conservative, and you see all kinds of abuses of power.

      We need an impartial non-partisan group setting the rules for elections and dealing with disputes. Sadly, there is no chance of that happening with a majority government in place.

    7. Not all opinions are equal or valid for a national debate, and there needs to be provable evidence showing that a party in the debates is of interested to a larger segment of the populace.

      It is true the Greens can muster 338 candidates with little effort and the BQ runs a full slate in a large province, however they have little support outside regional areas or have no solid national support.

      Heck the Christian Heritage party and the Marxist–Leninist party (who each field 50+ candidates) and could field more is they wanted, but I don't really see them having the general support support or a meaningful message that should be on a national stage.

    8. John_Northey, I entirely agree.

      Interestingly, Churchill was no lover of democracy himself. One of the reasons he lost so badly in the first post-war election. But he did do good speechifying...

    9. Yeah I am in agreement here as well, I'd rather have more (better) democracy at the risk of bad government every so often. I like the way Americans view their political system a bit better than we do, which is their revolution continues and their goal is to achieve a better union. Of course interpretation of what that looks like depends on political persuasion but at least it sounds poetic.

    10. That is nonsense Chirumenga.

      Churchill was a strong advocate of democracy which is why he served in Parliament for 50 years! People read far too much into a single quotation often taken out of context. His; "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time". is not a criticism of democracy or his dislike of democracy but, a clear tribute and support of the institution. If Churchill didn't favour democracy why was Atlee a member of the War Cabinet?

      Churchill lost in 1945 because Atlee promised social programs and the people agreed. They soon realised their mistake and Labour lost the subsequent election.

    11. John Northley,

      1. We have an impartial group adjudicating election disputes-Elections Canada.

      2. We have an independent and impartial group regulating the debates-the TV consortium.

      If you know of "abuses of power" you should state them so justice can be done, insinuating illegality but not having the intestinal fortitude to level an accusation merely demonstrates your "accusations" are baseless.

    12. 1) Elections Canada doesn't control the debates. They should, and if they did then there would be clear guidelines and no debate about the debates.

      2) The TV consortium is hardly independent - it is a commercial entity which is trying to find ways to maximize entertainment value out of the debate plus has a strong incentive to keep those most likely to win happy (see TV advertising that the Conservatives have shot to all time records).

      As to 'abuses of power' lets see...
      Liberal: Sponsorship scandal - need more be said?
      Conservatives: robocalls - a judge said more should be charged when he convicted the only person charged; in and out (shifting cash to ridings just to collect more taxpayer cash for themselves); the assorted senate issues (which also hit the Liberals)

      I'm sure I could go on for awhile there, but you get the idea. I'd be quite surprised if 99% of those reading comments here hadn't heard of those scandals/abuses of power.

    13. Bede,

      Actually Labour was reelected with a 6 seat majority in the 1950 U.K election and their share of the vote declined by only around 1.5%. Labour actually increased its total popular vote as this election had the highest turnout in U.K history.

      Atlee called a snap election in 1951 in hopes of winning a larger majority and lost this election despite winning 49% of the vote, a 2.5% increase over the 1950 share of the vote and 1% more than the Conservatives.

      So, It seems that very few people if any actually "realized their mistake".

    14. John Northey,

      Your original comment was: "We need an impartial non-partisan group setting the rules for elections and dealing with disputes". We do it is Elections Canada and if need be the Courts.

      The TV consortium is independent, it is a college of private and public broadcasters with no known links to any political parties. Do individual components hold private or personal interests? Of course they do but, that does not take away their independence. Everybody holds interests and preferences unique to their character. To wish for an altruistic deity to run TV debates is impossible and rather foolish. What is wrong with having the debates entertaining? Doesn't the consortium have a duty to make the debates "accessible" to the general public?

      You could pass an Act of Parliament regulating and enacting with legal force and one supposes appropriate penalties; who, why, when, where and how debates are broadcast. One has to contemplate whether such actions serve democracy.

      The sponsorship scandal was not directly related to elections but, fundraising, I take your point. People were charged and convicted justice was done. What more do you want? It demonstrates our system is imperfect but, it works! Ditto for Robocalls. Michael Sona was convicted and sentenced. The learned trial judge may have said "more should be charged" although I think his statement was more nuanced but, once again, the system worked well. A complaint was made, it was found to have substance, was investigated and a determination of potential criminality was made, the CPS investigated and eventually laid charges, Mr. Sona was convicted and sentenced-the system works! Thank God! We don't need an altruistic deity we have the rule of law.

      It is all very well and good to intone more people were involved and further charges are warranted but, habeas corpus is also a fundamental right. Prosecutors obviously felt other charges couldn't be proven. That is the way the system works; well, not perfectly.

      At the end of the day if some party leaders don't want to debate Ms. May isn't it their right to do so? It is all very well and good to hide behind the facade of democracy but, imposing the will of the state to regulate a debate is an authoritarian act if it forces political leaders to act in a certain way such as; forced debate attendance. Broadcasters are already required to abide by the law and essentially donate air time for political education purposes. What more do you want?

    15. Clearly we won't convince each other Bede Dunelm. I'll just do one more response.

      For debates and all other election matters we need Elections Canada to be the pure arbitrator of them. Due to the critical nature of the TV debate (and there is no question it is important) it needs to be mandated and controlled by Elections Canada. As to 'donating air time' if only the big 3 get that air time then it is donating to only the richest parties which is much like a tax cut only for those in the upper 1% - a few benefit but only those who really don't need it. A couple decades ago we'd see a few debates and we should have those again - more focused and accessible. Due to the nature of Canada we really should have an English & French debate on Quebec issues (where the 2 Quebec parties would participate) and another English & French debate that is general (skip the single province parties). Make simple, clear rules on when a party gets to participate. Make it a rule of 'right to broadcast' that the networks in Canada must carry the debates (Global, CBC, CTV) and provide time after for other minor parties to have a short speech so all Canadians get some exposure to all parties.

      While the internet is making this less critical than it was 30 years ago, it is still critical to have public debates between the parties that people can and do vote for. Like it or not the Greens are contenders in multiple ridings and have 2 MPs thus voters in those ridings should be able to see the Green party leader vs the others. Heck, they have as many MP's as the PC's had post 1993 and more than the Reform party did pre-1993.

      As to the right not to debate... I do not see that as a right any major political party should have in a democracy. We, the voters, deserve to see each leader put on the spot and answer questions about their platform and their results (or lack thereof). Generally skipping debates helps frontrunners in an election as often the debate just gets cancelled in that case (thus why we are down to just 1 English and 1 French debate) and they just go on their merry way saying whatever they wish about it (the consortium wouldn't accommodate their party or whatever). Canadians deserve better.

      As to the bottom line, what we need are clear rules for all election activities, from what is allowed for fundraising to debates to writ periods and even when an election can be called. All of those should be up to Elections Canada, not the current government in power. If those rules end up being that the Greens need 12 seats to qualify then so be it (goes against history, but clear rules are needed). If that results in stronger fixed election dates that would be wonderful. It would probably allow better rules on things like robocalls and better enforcement during an election. There were complaints about robocalls throughout the country but only one person in one riding was charged and that is not a good thing - and I don't care what party broke the law, any who did need punishment and punishments should be serious as it should be for exceeding finance limits (as the Conservatives did in at least one riding) - namely loss of the seat immediately and banned from re-running in that riding in the next election (candidate and party). No better way to force compliance.

    16. Why should an unelected, unaccountable government agency decide rules for elections instead of an elected House of Commons? You write about democracy but, place your faith in unelected institutions-there is a certain intellectual inconsistency with your statements.

      All I can say is that you have a very authoritarian ideas toward democracy. If the State coerces political parties to act in certain ways that is a perversion of democracy not a safeguard of democracy. For democracy to work well free will and choice is required. If a party leader doesn't want to participate in a debate that is his personal choice as guaranteed under S. 1 and S. 6 of the Constitution. The electorate will judge his actions. How can you want democracy yet, severely restrict personal choice and freedom?

      I agree there is a public interest for the Greens to appear in the debates but, if another party leader wants to boycott isn't that his right? You expect the State to do everything and voters to do nothing. Leaders must appear at the debates because voters who have had four years of Question Periods are too lazy to pay attention! If the electorate can't be bothered to pay attention during the 4-5 year term of a Parliament then watching the debates will give them a very warped sense of politics.

      The bottom line is we have clear rules for elections, fundraising, writ periods.-The Canada Election Act. We even have a law determining when an election can be called-The Canada Election Act. Unfortunately Trudeau's hack job on the constitution makes it impossible for set election dates to be constitutional.

      I really don't yunderstand what you want. You are asking for laws and regulations that for the most part are already in place. The fact people were charged and convicted in the robocalls and sponsorhip scandals demonstrates the system works. You are essentially complaining about nothing.

    17. "Set election dates" are incompatible with the concept of "votes of confidence". It has nothing to do with anything Trudeau did to the Constitution.

    18. Oy... trying not to respond... just one more...

      Our system is set up right now in such a way that if a majority (with under 40% popular support) happens they can shift financing rules however they wish. Chretien did it, and so has Harper. Some pluses, some minuses but both shuffled it and some would say in ways to punish those they didn't like (Chretien's hurt Martin, Harper's was an attempt to hurt the other parties). That is not the way to run a democracy - any changes should require at least multi-party support but ideally would be determined by a non-partisan group which is what Elections Canada is.

      As to complaints about how the Canada Election Act cannot be set up as a forced every 4 years, the only party to break it (or have the opportunity to break it so far) has been the party who put it in place, the Conservatives. Not impressive when you make a law then break the spirit of it (as the word of it cannot be '4 years no matter what' as you say) once and might do so again. Yes, voters could've punished them but their top alternative (the Liberals) were run poorly at the time (to put it mildly) thus many voters felt stuck with the Conservatives I suspect .. sadly too many won't risk 'wasting their vote' on anyone else, thus totally forgetting how if everyone who didn't vote last time voted for, say, the Rhino party (if they had enough candidates) then the Rhino's would've won a majority easily. And that is the saddest thing... the 'I can't be bothered voting' bloc is bigger than any parties support.

    19. Michael,

      You are correct but, rememberTrudeau's Constitution stipulates unanimity is required to change the Office of the Queen of GG. Before 1982 a simple act of Parliament would suffice to implement set election dates-so in fact it was all Trudeau.

    20. John Northey,

      You simply are having trouble accepting the democratic will of your fellow citizens if it doesn't correspond to your own beliefs. Yes, 40% of Canadians can elect a majority government-welcome to democracy! If you can't accept that well, maybe you should re-evaluate your support for democracy.

      Elections Canada is not a non-partisan group. It is an agency of the Parliament of Canada. If a majority of M.P.s and Senators orders EC to do something it must do it!

      I don't understand your argument-you appear not to have any meaningful complaints-you're a poor loser.

      Set election dates the concept is incompatible with the principle of responsible government and with the Constitution with unanimous support among the Provinces and Parliament. Trudeau gave us an unnameable Constitution along with stagflation, the NEP, wage and price controls, an under performing economy and 40 years of constitutional wrangling.

      Why you think an unelected government agency has more right to determine election laws an an elected and democratically House of Commons is bizarre.

  4. Is a poor performance in Quebec by the NDP only likely to drop them by nine seats? I would have thought they were at risk of dropping by more than that even if they have just a moderate decline. The BQ lost 10 seats alone between 1993 & 1997 even though they were still the dominant party at that time. The NDP appears to be 10 points down already from the numbers that Layton got in 2011.

    1. When I said nine seats, I meant down from the current 38 they are slated to take. They are projected to take 27% of the vote and 38 seats - at 25% they drop to 29 and at 24% they drop to 16%, based on the ranges.

    2. Thank-you for clarifying that. Is there a page of the chart that shows the projected numbers of seats for each party per province?

    3. Yes, just click on the big chart at the very top of the page and scroll down.

  5. Tough debate about the debate. If May was included in 2008 with one seat it doesn't make sense to include her now. Forces et Democratie is somewhat annoying, otherwise 5 debaters wouldn't be a problem. Maybe just include them in the French language debate. I think excluding the Bloc might be dangerous for the federalist parties, as the Bloc will probably have a good talking point in saying English Canada is ignoring a large party in Quebec (20% support is quite substantial)

    1. I'd assume you mean it doesn't make sense to not include her now, as the party has 2 seats vs the single seat last time she was included.

      We need very clear rules on things like the TV debates as it makes a major difference in voting patterns if a party is or is not included. I also think they should have all registered parties make a statement either before or after the debate (say, 2 minutes each). Last election there were 18 parties, 4 of which were allowed into debates. So those other 14 would take up 28 minutes of airtime. I think our TV networks could afford that. If you want to cut it down a bit have a requirement on how many seats they must be running for - if it was 10 then we are down to 12 parties (including the big ones). If 20 then just 9, if 50 then we are down to just 6 - the big 5 plus the Marxist–Leninist party (ran in 70 ridings last time).

      I remember years ago CBC used to run a segment around midnight where different parties would get a few minutes and it was priceless to watch the Rhino party. A good political system needs to have room for all views to be heard, even if it is just for 2 minutes every 4 years.

  6. The Liberals always drop support in B.C during the campaign. Likely because people who are parking their votes with them as the 'middle' party get pushed to either the NDP or the Conservatives.

    1. True, although more so in 2008 & 2011, probably because of the weak campaigns of Dion & Ignatieff.

      Prior to that the Liberals had respectable results in BC under Chrétien & Martin. It's possible that with Trudeau's connections to B.C. (his mother's side is from there & he lived and worked there as a teacher) the Liberal numbers may be better in 2015.

    2. Craig
      I don't know about 1993, but in 1997 and 2000 the Liberals went into the campaign with around 40% support in B.C according to the polls and ended up at just under 30% both times.

    3. Craig B say what?

      Martin 2006 28% 9 seats out of 36
      Martin 2004 29% 8 seats out of 36
      Chretien 2000 28% 5 seats out of 34
      Chretien 1997 28% 6 out of 34
      Chretien 1993 28% 6 out of 32

      Trudeau's Dad's last election 1980 20% 0 out of 28

      The reason the Liberals poll so well in non-election periods is they get confused with the Provincial Liberals.... the Liberal/Conservative coalition that was created to defeat the NDP.

    4. BC (no) Voice of Reason

      I doubt that even many casual voters don't know that there is no connection between the provincial Liberal party and the federal Liberal party.

      Do you have even the slightest bit of evidence to back up your oft stated claim

    5. Please do not use personal insults. The "no" inserted into BCVoR's name was gratuitous.

    6. I don't believe that Trudeau having spent a few years in British Columbia will matter to a single person that isn't already a partisan Liberal.

      That said, I also don't believe that the fact that the Pierre Trudeau Liberals won 0 seats in 1980 with 16.0% of the vote (35 years ago) will matter to anybody that isn't already a partisan Conservative (any maybe a handful of New Democrats)

    7. @BCVoR

      The provincial liberals were not even a force until the Martin elections. So much for that theory.

    8. Adam,

      The question you pose to BCVoR doesn't have an answer because you use a double negative-the question doesn't make sense. Do BCers not know the difference between the LPC and BCLP or do they know there is no linkage between the parties?

    9. You're right that it's not worded as well as it could have been, but it is grammatically correct as it is actually at triple negative.

      The Federal Liberals have had no connection to the Provincial Liberals dating back to when Gordon Wilson succeeded former Liberal M.P Art Lee as leader of the provincial party.

      The first thing Gordon Wilson upon becoming leader was to sever all connections between the two.

      Granted most people at the time would not have followed that as the provincial Liberals were then a large fringe party.

      However, certainly once Gordon Campbell took over the party, there was little doubt that the provincial Liberal Party had morphed into the new Social Credit Party (albeit more urban and more socially liberal).

      Even people who don't follow politics much know that the B.C Liberals are the 'free enterprise' coalition party and are not associated with the federal Liberals, though, of course, a handful of remaining provincial Liberal MLAs are members of the federal Liberals, including, at one time, Christy Clark (though she was always associated with the right wing of the federal Liberal Party).

      The vast majority of new Liberal MLAs were municipal politicians and likely have no ties to either the federal Liberals or the federal Conservatives.

      Sorry but you are just wrong. The provincial Liberals returned to the scene in 1991 and nearly formed government in 1996. So they even predate the Chretien government.

  7. Projections are bunk, the Harper/Con party has been in non-stop campaign mode for 2 months, including attack ads on radio and TV...

    Economy is tanking, Alberta teetering, bad economic news on most fronts, Joe Oliver is looking more and more like a blind mouse looking for cheese.

    When the other parties start reminding the public about Harper`s medicare defunding, military procurement disasters, Canada post, veterans abuse, not to mention all the individual scandalized Conservatives(a list too long to bring up here)..

    Mulcair and the NDP are the wildcard...Does Mulcair attempt to unhinge Harper...or does Mulcair attempt to unhinge Trudeau..?

    I don`t see any Conservative voters flocking to the NDP..

    That leaves Mulcair with few options to gain votes..If Mulcair goes full-bore after Trudeau he might be seen as desperate, thus driving droves of soft NDPers to Trudeau..

    One thing is for sure, Liberal and NDP voters want Harper out...

    I believe the vote will break for Trudeau...Many voters will see their NDP vote as wasted..

    Call it a common-good vote...

    "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"

    1. Well according to most folks like you Harper is the most unpopular PM since R. B. Bennett and the Liberals still can't obtain a sizable lead or the NDP. Liberals and NDPers would be wise to reflect upon themselves in explaining the Conservatives' "unlikely popularity". Perhaps the Liberal"s inability to release meaning policies have struck a cord with the public-a realisation that the Liberal party doesn't have a plan for the economy, for combating radical Islam, for making life more affordable for families, for resupplying the military, for combating radicalisation among Canadian youth, for the environment. Then people begin to realise the Liberal party is the same party of the sponsorship scandal, of internal party bickering, of standing up for the interests of the Liberal party whether or not they correspond to the interests of Canadians.

      Canadians are not going to give Trudeau a blank cheque but, Trudeau continues to show contempt to Canadians by not releasing any policy. All Canadians know about Justin Trudeau points to a man not up to high office. He praises Communist China! His Senate reform plan is less transparent than the current system, he is confused as to any policy in regard to ISIS. The fact all Liberals seem able to do is lob ad hominem attack on Conservatives and try to discredit the NDP speak s volume about the LIberals' desperation. Unable to produce policy and sliding in the polls Liberals have no platform and no plan to win the election. Today Liberals are beginning to realise they have a strong chance of finishing third in seats again and are starting to panic!

      Their one hope is nostalgia. Frankly, it is pathetic-the Liberal party deserves to die because they have given up the will to convince or persuade voters- to campaign on their beliefs. Well, how can one campaign on what they believe in when the party doesn't release any policies? It's a vicious cycle. It's a vicious cycle: Liberals can't believe in anything because the party doesn't produce policy and the Party doesn't produce policy because its members don't believe in anything.

    2. I support the Federal Liberals and the NDP have no hope of winning my riding, but a lot of Canadians vote for the party whose leader they think would make the best prime minister, and though the polls don't (yet) show it, of the 3 contenders I find Thomas Mulcair to be miles ahead of his opponents on this question.

    3. Anyone who was around in the late 80's/early 90's knows Harper isn't close to being the least popular PM ever. Mulroney has that title locked up for a long, long time I suspect.

      As to policies... sadly too many voters don't really care that much about more than a couple. Thus why 'tax on everything' sold in 2008, and things like 'no deficit' sold in 2011 (even though anyone who thought for 10 seconds should've know that was bs). Too often the pretty face with a good brand name sells, and that is what Trudeau & the Liberals are - a known brand name with a pretty face. Add in a couple of hot button topics (marijuana) and avoid landmines and you might be set. Guess we'll see this year.

      Btw, times like this I really understand that 'democracy is the worst outside of the other options' bit. Voters can be influenced by the dumbest things, but better that then having some elite group choosing or just having it be decided by birthright (and yes, I know that sounds funny with Trudeau the 2nd while Bush #3 might take over in the US in 2016).

    4. @bede

      Let's just say that you have clear partisan biases. You admit that clearly. You provide a rationale for those biases, but your rationale is similarly biased. Some objective observers take Trudeau's reluctance to release a detailed platform as both reasonable (things change, why lock in now... ask Joe Oliver) and smart (since the Conservatives have long demonstrated that they will do their utmost to attack whatever is on offer, even if the attack is basically dishonest and a smear). You choose to see it as contemptuous, but plenty of us don't. If it were truly contemptuous, one would have to fit it into a narrative about Trudeau that demonstrated his elitist, arrogant approach. And there is none; at least none rooted in reality.

      I won't engage on the vastness of some other claims you make, other than to say that if Trudeau were foolish enough to take Mr. Harper's frames, as you do, and apply them to himself, he could only lose. The whole point of Trudeau's candidacy has been to demonstrate that he is in essence the anti-Harper: his instincts, his values, his communication style, his overall persona. As such, your attempt to judge him according to Harperite frames can't explain anything.

      "Their one hope is nostalgia"? I am sure that that is your (and Mr. Harper's wish). But it doesn't help to explain the actual behaviour of voters when polled. If you read my earlier comment, I think that it's too early for people to commit. If you are right, and particularly if Mr. Harper runs the kind of fabulous campaign that convinces enough Canadians, the Cons should win a majority. On the other hand, if your way of looking at things is shared only by the true believers, I don't think they'll even manage a minority.

      It may be perverse for me to believe in the Liberals when "Liberals can't believe in anything", but then, you believe in the Conservatives, despite them doing nothing to justify it. The difference is, I understand why some think as you do; you don't seem to have a clue as to why so many don't.

    5. @Grant
      I think you're probably correct, and your take on things is borne out by the results on the Nanos power poll.

  8. My early analysis of the B.C ridings.
    The placement of the party names is based on where they ended up using the redistributed riding results and does not indicate what I think the final result will be.

    The party names given are the ones I think are competitive in the riding.

    1.Vancouver-Quadra, Liberal-Conservative
    2.Vancouver Centre, Liberal-NDP-Conservative
    3.Vancouver South, Conservative-Liberal
    4.Vancouver-Granville, Conservative-Liberal-NDP
    5.Vancouver-Kingsway, NDP-Conservative-Liberal
    6.Vancouver East, NDP

    Metro Vancouver
    1.Burnaby South, NDP-Conservative
    2.Burnaby-North Seymour, Conservative-NDP-Liberal
    3.New Westminster-Burnaby, NDP-Conservative
    4.Port Moody-Coquitlam, Conservative-NDP
    5.Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, Conservative-NDP
    6.West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast, Conservative-Lib
    7.North Vancouver, Conservative-Liberal
    8. Delta, Conservative-Liberal
    9.Richmond Centre, Conservative-Liberal
    10.Steveston-Richmond East, Conservative-Liberal

    1.Surrey Centre, NDP-Conservative-Liberal
    2.Surrey Newton, NDP-Liberal-Conservative
    3.Fleetwood-Port Kells, Conservative-NDP-Liberal
    4.South Surrey-White Rock, Conservative (the Liberals might have had a shot here, but not against Diane Watts)
    5.Cloverdale-Langley City, Conservative

    Fraser Valley South
    1.Chilliwack-Hope, Conservative
    2.Abbotsford, Conservative
    3.Langley-Aldergove, Conservative

    Fraser Valley North
    1.Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, Conservative-NDP
    2.Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, Conservative-NDP

    Vancouver Island South
    1.Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, NDP-Conservative-Green
    2.Saanich-Gulf Islands, Green
    3.Victoria, NDP-Green
    4.Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, Conservative-NDP

    Vancouver Island, Central and North
    1.Courtney-Alberni, Conservative-NDP
    2.Nanaimo-Ladysmith, NDP-Conservative
    3.North Island-Powell River, Conservative-NDP

    Southern Interior
    1.South Okanagan-West Kootenay, Conservative-NDP
    2.Kootenay-Columbia, Conservative-NDP
    3.Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, Conservative
    4.Kelowna-Lake Country, Conservative
    5.North Okanagan-Shuswap, Conservative

    North, Coast and Center
    1.Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, Conservative-NDP
    2.Prince George-Peace River, Conservative
    3.Cariboo-Prince George, Conservative-NDP
    4.Skeena-Bulkley Valley, NDP-Conservative

    Total number of competitive ridings for each party
    Conservative: 39
    NDP: 25
    Liberal: 14
    Green: 3

    Guaranteed Wins
    Conservative: 9
    NDP: 1
    Green: 1

    3 way races
    Conservative-NDP-Lberal: 6
    Conservative-NDP-Green: 1


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