Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sometimes Local Knowledge Really Matters - Looking At Esquimalt Juan de Fuca

New houses behind Costco
I have noticed that at various websites predicting the election outcome the big picture has some local errors, Esquimalt Juan de Fuca is such a riding.

Among others, Democratic Space (my error, Greg has it as narrow Conservative/Liberal race leaning Conservative) has the Liberals winning, as does threehundredeight.com.  It is hard to adjust for local factors in 308 races and in most cases the ridings follow long term trends, but in this case the recent elections do not reflect the trends in this riding. Riding by Riding has Esquimalt Juan de Fuca going to the Liberals as does Too Close Too Call.

Keith Martin is the outgoing MP and was elected as Liberal in the last three elections, before that he we elected three times for Reform/CA.   His margin of victory as a Liberal has been smaller and smaller in each election till it was only 67 out of 58,631 votes in 2008.

Gorge Inlet on the Esquimalt side
The votes in 2004, 06 and 08 were not votes for the Liberals, but a vote for Keith Martin, the maverick MP.  There is no history of any serious Liberal support in this riding in the past.

In 1988 the riding voted 50% NDP and in 2000 it voted 50% Canadian Alliance.   It seems to be fairly strongly split left and right as a riding.

This time around we have Troy DeSousa running for the Conservatives, this is his third try at it and he has been campaigning non stop since being defeated by 67 votes last time.  At this point everyone has heard his name.  He has his team, he has his money, he is going full bore

Randall Garrison is back for a third try for the NDP.    The NDP has been ready for the race for ages

Bear Mountain development
The Liberals meanwhile chose a fairly unknown councilor from Langford, Lillian Szpak.  They also chose her very late in the process.   She also has to deal with the fact that the Liberal riding association was really the Keith Martin fan club and nothing else.   Keith Martin may have been a personable maverick-lite MP but he was a very weak political organizer.  There is not much there to work with.

Even though the Liberals won this riding in 2008, they will come a very distant third in the race, their traditional home.   The choice will become vote for Harper or stop Harper, and stop Harper means Randall Garrison and no one else.

I expect the result to be very close between Garrison and DeSousa on election night with Troy DeSousa winning for the Conservatives.   This would change if there is some dramatic change on the national scene in this election.
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