Monday, September 14, 2015

Ridings to watch: Oakville and Oakville North–Burlington

Throughout the campaign, I will be profiling some of the ridings to watch. Today's selections: the neighbouring Ontario ridings of Oakville and Oakville North–Burlington.

Major Candidates (Oakville)

Conservative Party: Terence Young (incumbent)
Liberal Party: John Oliver
New Democratic Party: Che Marville
Green Party: TBD

Major Candidates (Oakville North–Burlington)

Conservative Party: Effie Triantafilopoulos
Liberal Party: Pam Damoff
New Democratic Party: Janice Best
Green Party: Adnan Shahbaz

Oakville and Oakville North–Burlington have followed a parallel history in recent years. Both of these were easy Liberal victories in the three elections held between 1997 and 2004. But in 2006, these two ridings tightened up considerably. The Liberals managed to hold off the Conservatives in Oakville, but were beaten in Halton (the predecessor riding of Oakville North–Burlington) by the Tories' Garth Turner, who would eventually cross the floor to the Liberals anyway. In 2008, Terence Young in Oakville and Lisa Raitt in Halton won by fair margins, and increased them in 2011.

Young won Oakville with 52% of the vote, beating out the Liberals' Max Khan, who took 31%. The New Democrats' James Ede captured 14% of the vote, which was a recent high for them. Young won almost every single poll in the riding, the boundaries of which have not changed for this election.

Oakville North–Burlington, however, is an entirely new riding carved out of the southeastern portion of Halton. Raitt won that portion of the riding handily, losing only one poll and taking 54% of the vote, with the Liberals' Connie Laurin-Bowie at 27% and the NDP's Patricia Heroux at 16%.

So the two Oakville ridings showed very similar levels of support in 2011: the Conservatives just over 50%, the Liberals at around 30%, and the New Democrats at around 15%. That would suggest capturing both ridings would be a tall order for the Liberals, and a virtually impossible one for the NDP.

The Conservatives' task has been made a little more difficult as Raitt has opted to run in the new riding of Milton, which comes from the bulk of Halton. In her place, the Tories are running Effie Triantafilopoulos, who has served as Chief of Staff of a few ministers on Parliament Hill, in Oakville North–Burlington. Young, a Conservative backbencher who started his elected political career as a Progressive Conservative MPP from 1995 to 1999, is running again for the party in Oakville.

His main challenger will be the Liberals' John Oliver (no, not that one), a former President and CEO of the Halton Healthcare Service and an assistant deputy minister in the provincial health ministry. In Oakville North–Burlington, the Liberals are running city councilor Pam Damoff.

Running for the New Democrats in that riding is Janice Best, director of the COPE union, while health consultant Che Marville is running for the party in Oakville.

The Greens have not yet named a candidate for Oakville, while Adnan Shahbaz, an instructional coach in the local school board, is running for the party in Oakville North–Burlington.

Proj. as of Sept 13 - Ridings highlighted in light blue
Along with Burlington, which is a much safer riding for the Conservatives, the projection currently identifies these two ridings as the last Conservative seats separating Liberal-dominated Mississauga from the NDP's fortress in Hamilton.

But they are very close. Oakville is currently projected to go Conservative by less than a point, with Young projected at between 39.1% and 45.3% support to Oliver's 36.6% to 43.5%. The NDP's Marville, at 12.7% to 14.3%, and the Greens, at 3.6% to 4.3%, are not considered to be important players in the race.

That is also the case in Oakville North–Burlington, where the NDP's Best is projected to take between 15.4% and 17.3%, while the Greens' Shahbaz would take between 3.3% and 3.9%.

The race is instead between Triantafilopoulos (38.5% to 44.5%) and Damoff (34.9% to 41.5%). The tight race makes these two Oakville ridings two of the closest neighbouring contests in the country.

That is, as long as current trends hold in Ontario. The projection current gives the Liberals 35% and the Tories 34.3% support, with the NDP at 25.5%. When the Liberals were polling more strongly in the province just days ago (they were at 40.6% on Sept. 9), these were two ridings that would be at the top of the list of those liable to swing over to them. But that Liberal mini-surge was made primarily on the backs of the New Democrats, who appear to be recovering somewhat (from a low of 22.3% at the time of that Liberal high). If that continues, ridings like these become much more difficult for the Liberals to win.

This would seem to be the key to these two ridings. When the Liberals used to win these ridings in the late 90s and early 2000s, the New Democrats took under 10% of the vote. But a vote split can't really be blamed for the Conservatives' 2011 victories here, as they captured a majority of the vote in both of these ridings.

Marginal seats like these, if the race continues to be three-headed, could end up deciding who places first, second, and third in the national seat count. Oakville and Oakville North–Burlington are two ridings to keep an eye on.

24 comments:

  1. I wonder if Burlington is as much of a safe Conservative riding as you project. Liberal signs on the streets significantly outnumber Conservative, and the Liberal candidate is running a very strong ground game. The riding flipped Conservative to Liberal in the recent provincial election, and my sense from what I'm seeing on the ground is that there's a chance of a repeat at the federal level.

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    1. Most Tory supporters are too afraid to put signs on their lawns (myself included) for fear of backlash from neighbours. Last thing I want is for someone to egg my house or cut my brake lines on the car.

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    2. Stephen. In 2008 a lot of homes with Liberal signs had their brake lines cut in toronto, guelph and niagra. Not sure why Conservatives are scared. Other than Harpers campaign of fear.

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    3. Stephen. In 2008 a lot of homes with Liberal signs had their brake lines cut in toronto, guelph and niagra. Not sure why Conservatives are scared. Other than Harper's campaign of fear.

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    4. I'm in Conservative Butt territory, and like to take scenic walks. The vast majority are Conservative signs. Politically motivated crimes don't seem to be a legitimate concern in Canada.

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    5. Stephen King, you are hilarious, given the fact that it was Liberal supporters who have had their brake lines cut in an around the GTA, in fact that's the reason why I will never listen to AM640 again, because the morning show host–a Ford Nation type–suggested that it was an "inside job" and liberals were cutting their own brake lines to gain sympathy or support… sheer fantasy! I hope I haven't given you any ideas.

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    6. Stephen King, you are hilarious, given the fact that it was Liberal supporters who have had their brake lines cut in an around the GTA, in fact that's the reason why I will never listen to AM640 again, because the morning show host–a Ford Nation type–suggested that it was an "inside job" and liberals were cutting their own brake lines to gain sympathy or support… sheer fantasy! I hope I haven't given you any ideas.

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    7. Stephen McDermott, and yet it's Conservative campaigns that have lost thousands of dollars in lost and damaged signs in these two ridings. I can't speak to 2011, but I can speak to what I witness in my home riding(s) and what I have seen is a lot of these tactics utilized by left supporters thus far and none (if at most one or two isolated occurrences) by those supporting the right.

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    8. aj009, your biased anecdotal information means absolutely nothing to me.

      I even had a feeling that someone like you would respond to my post by blaming "the left," they always do. Everything is the left's fault with conservatives these days, they're always using the words "leftist" or "leftism" but you never hear the words "rightist" or "rightism" from the other side. That tells me that conservatives use language to identify and attack their political opponents, whereas liberals use language to discuss ideas and have little time for divisive scapegoat terms that do nothing but fracture society.

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    9. Was driving home and I saw some lady had her 2 kids kicking down a conservative party sign in broad daylight. I'm sure she thought she was doing a great public service by goading them into committing election act crimes. Of course if the police ever show up she will claim they did this as a "spontaneous expression of their political spirit". I've observed a general decrease in civility in general with this election.

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  2. I agree with this comment re: Burlington. I have witnessed the same support and the Liberal candidate has been meeting voters for over 12 months with positive feedback.

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  3. Far be it for me to be overly pedantic, but you need to find and replace "Oakville–North Burlington" with "Oakville North–Burlington" throughout this article. The 'ndash' is in the wrong place.

    Thanks for all the great work you do, Eric!

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  4. Can I childishly note that *wouldn't it be awesome if John Olver was elected.* Because two people with the same name must be the same person!

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  5. My parents in law live in Oakville and they say lifelong Conservative voters in their neighbourhood are voting Liberal because of cuts in mail delivery.

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    1. Any party with a right mind would cut mal service. 90% of it nowadays is just bulk junk mail. You need to pay $12+ to have any confidence that your mail will arrive.

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    2. This is up there with the "I Vote CBC" signs. I mean ... honestly what threatened crappy CBC crap has motivated them to become hard core Lib or NDP voters ? Is Gohmeshi radio show a fundamental part of the Canadian identity ? Is it Hinterland Who's Who ? Degrassi Season 45 Seniors Center ?

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  6. This is a case where the ABC vote could play a huge factor. Thank you for this site.

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  7. Great article, small spelling error

    His main challenger will be the Liberals' John Oliver (no, note that one),

    I think you mean not instead of note.

    Though given how much you have been writing and analyzing over the past 7 weeks, understandable.

    Only 6 more weeks to go.

    Keep up the great work

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  8. I live in Oakville, and I find myself wondering why Pam Damoff is running for the Liberals in Oakville North, when the ward she represents on Town Council is deep in Oakville riding and south of the QEW. It could be because she and Max Khan were colleagues on Town Council and Mr. Khan was set to be the Liberal candidate again in Oakville North until he passed away suddenly. Maybe that was motivation to "take up the torch" in his place? Just speculating, though.

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  9. I think we all need to back off, take a deep breath and relax. At this point it is virtually impossible to call this election given the polls we are seeing!!

    Maybe tonight's economy debate will change things??? I'm not really sure.

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  10. I understand that you must take the data as you get it. However, because Nanos publishes so frequently, the aggregate number is perhaps more reflective of Nanos than might be desirable. The Globe and Mail's projection program allows the user to customize inputs into the projection model and de-select certain pollsters from the aggregate. It's an interesting feature that allows a different perspective than all Nanos, all the time.

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    1. Nanos is weighted such that only every third poll is counted.

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  11. I wonder if Burlington is as much of a safe Conservative riding as you project.

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