Guessing games

Yesterday I asked everyone to come out and vote, but just the day before the ever-insightful John Ibbitson opined, in the Globe and Mail, that “With the general election less than two weeks away, and with the Liberals and Conservatives still tied in the polls, turnout could decide the result.” Your vote does matter!

He did a ‘back of the envelope’ analysis of a handful of riding in the critical 905 area code ~ the suburban OTTbelt of communities that surround Toronto and found that “In every riding, the number of people who voted Conservative in 2015 was about the same as in 2011. In a few cases it even increased slightly. Yet still the Conservatives lost. Why? … [well, he says] … There were two reasons. First, the NDP vote in every riding declined between 2011 and 2015, sometimes by as much as half. It’s reasonable to assume that NDP deserters migrated to the Liberals … [and] … More important, the total number of votes cast in each riding in 2015 increased, and these new voters were Liberals. In Burlington, the Liberal vote more than doubled. In Whitby it quadrupled … [thus we can conclude] … Bottom line: In 2015, the Conservative vote held, but was overwhelmed by new voters and NDP defectors voting Liberal … [but] … What does that mean for those ridings in 2019? Since the Conservative vote has been stable for two elections, and since there has been no Tory surge in the polls, we can reasonably predict that the Conservatives will get the same level of support this time out … [and, therefore] … Whether those ridings turn Conservative or remain Liberal will depend on whether the voters who came out to vote for Mr. Trudeau in 2015 come out again.

There are varying opinions by academics and analysts about whether or not the millions (yes, millions) of (mostly) young voters who came out for the first time in decades in 2015 ~ to the Trudeau campaign’s credit, I hasten to add ~ and who shifted (strategic voting) from the NDP to the Liberals, will come out again and/or will vote strategically, again, to deny the Conservatives a victory.

My personal sense guess, based on the polls, the major party leader’s campaign performances thus far, and on the fact that a few Liberals have told me that they are considering spoiling their ballots in order to not vote for Justin Trudeau, is that:

  1. The Conservative vote will hold or, more likely increase slightly ~ 32-38% of the popular vote and 100 to 170 seats;
  2. The NDP vote will hold or improve, slightly ~ 19-23% and 40-45 seats;
  3. The BQ, Greens and Independents will return 25± seats overall; and
  4. The Liberal vote will decline ~ 30-35% and 120-155 seats.

As I have said before, about a week ago, I think that Justin Trudeau might be able to hang on* with, say 130 to 135 seats of his own and the guaranteed support (almost a coalition) of Jagmeet Singh’s NDP with 40 to 45 seats, even allowing for one or two defections from each of those two parties. Whether Canadians would accept an ex-post-facto Liberal-NDP coalition if the Conservatives won the most seats (say 145± against the Liberals’ 132± remains to be seen. Progressive Canadians might think it’s a great thing; many others might think it is anathema to their idea of principled politics and will severely punish both the Liberals and the NDP in the next election: think Diefenbaker 1958 in and Mulroney in 1984 when Canadians massively punished the long-governing Liberals for sins real or imagined.


95d471a0-3ec8-11e9-b0a6-d9395dec29a0_JDX-1x1_WEB* Constitutionally, Justin Trudeau is not required to resign just because his party finished second. He gets to visit the Governor-General immediately after the election; he has a constitutional right to tell her that he intends to meet the House and he is confident (having already struck a deal with the NDP) that he can secure the House’s confidence; she has no choice but to allow that no matter how much Mr Scheer and some pundits will protest. The issue is not who has the most seats: it is who can command the confidence of Parliament.

Published by Ted Campbell

Old, retired Canadian soldier, Conservative ~ socially moderate, but a fiscal hawk. A husband, father and grandfather. Published material is posted under the "Fair Dealing" provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act for the purposes of research, private study and education.

3 thoughts on “Guessing games

  1. The ‘confidence of parliament’ may enable a political party to to form a Government. However the real issue is earning the ‘confidence of the nation’. Currently there are a multitude of divisive issues on the minds of Canadians. Is Quebec the only region in Canada where there is an underlying sentiment that they no longer control their own destiny? Is there a perception developing in the West that the country is increasingly governed by / dictated too from the ‘Windsor to Quebec City corridor’?

    Can we elect a candidate who will be a strong / confident Prime Minister to overcome these differences in priorities spread across this vast land? Are there too many statements issued from Ottawa these days where politicians claim to know what is best for this vast nation, despite how it may negatively impact the local population? Does the personal position of the Prime Minister, on an issue of national importance, automatically reflect the thinking of Canadians from all regions? Are Canadian Federal elections becoming more of a popularity contest, or a competition to see which political party can promise the most generous platform (regardless of national debt)?

    Important questions to be considered as we, the Canadian voter, choose the path forward. I am not sure there is a candidate out there that is able to address all the issues to the satisfaction of Canadians from all regions of the country. Even so I would encourage all Canadians to give some thought in to the issues at hand and by all means get out to vote.

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