Saturday, September 27, 2008

Seat projections for Sept 27 2008

There have been some shifts in the election lately.


Quebec
The biggest has been the rise in the Bloc fortunes in Quebec. They have moved from the low 30s to around 40% in the province. This rise brings them back into the 50 seat range because the federalist vote is much more divided.

The issue will be what happens to the seats in the Liberal heartland of Montreal and Ottawa-Hull? I do not see the Conservatives doing well in these areas and I am not sure NDP support will rise enough to win seats. The Bloc may pick up some surprising seats in these areas.

In the more Francophone Quebec, the race really is a two party race - Conservatives versus the Bloc. I believe the Conservatives will be able to hold seats in this area and may pick up a coupld of seats.

Atlantic Canada
I will say I am surprised at the how well the Conservatives are doing in the Atlantic provinces. The rumours of their demise are a bit early. I am assuming they will do badly in Newfoundland and their support is elsewhere in Atlantic Canada. I can see them gaining seats in the other three provinces. Could they break in on the red island? I think so and a sweep is more likely than Jack Layton as leader of the Official Opposition.

Given the rise of the Conservative fortunes in the region, I give the edge to MacKay over May.

BC
Nothing much is changing here other than the Liberals know they are in very serious trouble. A shut out in BC is possible for them. Retaining more than a handful of their seats is simply not on the cards.

The question in BC is if the NDP can hold all their seats or not.

Ontario
This election is playing out in Ontario. This is where Harper needs the seats to get the majority. It also the place where Dion has to retain his seats to stay ahead of the Bloc, or maybe ahead of the NDP.

What I can make out of the polling is that every riding where the Liberals did not win by more than 10 percentage points is now clearly lost to them - 13 to the Conservatives and 6 to the NDP. There are about ten more ridings that were once considered safe that are more likely Conservative than Liberal this time.


Party

BC

AB

SK

MN

ON

QC

NB

NS

PEI

NF

Nth

CAN

CPC

28

28

13

10

59

13

6

5

1

2

2

167

LPC

1



2

29

8

3

3

3

4

1

54

NDP

7


1

2

18

3

1

2


1


35

Bloc






50






50

Ind






1


1




2


Whatever the result in the election, there is a new reality dawning in Canada. The 2006-08 Harper government was the first one in Canadian history that had a majority of their caucus form the west. The next Harper government will be close to having a majority from the West again.

When the new seats are added in Canada, 12 of the 22 will be from BC and Alberta. These provinces have 20.8% of the seats in Canada now but will have 23% by the next election. They will have more seats than Quebec. Western Canada will have almost as many seats as Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

When Mulroney won in 1984, the west only had as many seats as Quebec. For generations Canada's national elections have been about which party can win both Ontario and Quebec. With the rise in seats in BC and Alberta, future elections will require winning in these provinces.

This change is very bad news for the Liberals in the long term. The Liberals are not a strong party west of Ontario. The natural opposition to the Conservatives in the west is the NDP.

Before 1984 the Liberal party went into most national elections with a safe 50-70 seats in Quebec, more or less half way to a majority. Now we have the Conservatives going into federal elections with a safe 70 seats in the West and after the new seats are added this will rise to 75-80.

The 12 seats in BC and Alberta are balanced by 10 seats in Ontario. The Ontario seats will be slightly more prone to be Conservative than any other party as many of them will be in the 905 area.

If we look further into the future, by 2020 BC, Alberta and Ontario will gain more seats. If it is the same number as now, this takes us to 352 MPs of which 88 will be from BC and Alberta, a full quarter of the MPs. BC alone will have around 48 MPs. Even with all these new MPs, BC, Alberta and Ontario will still be underrepresented.

By 2030, BC and Alberta are estimated to have a total population of between 9 000 000 and 10 500 000. If we are anywhere close to the larger number, the underrepresentation will mean the two provinces are down by about 10 to 13 seats.
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