Monday, July 15, 2013

Why the five Ontario by-elections matter

I think the five Ontario by-elections that will be held on August 1st are interesting because there are so many at once and because they are all Liberal seats.   The by-elections are really a very strong expression of public opinion on the sitting government

Riding                Liberal  PC    NDP   Green  Others
Scarborough-Guildwood 15,607  9,137  6,194   413   543
Etobicoke-Lakeshore   22,169 12,705  6,713 1,164   697
Ottawa South          21,842 14,945  5,988 1,442   490
Windsor-Tecumseh      15,946  7,751 12,228   830   476   
London West           22,610 14,603 10,757 1,194   361 
TOTAL  206,806        98,174 59,141 41,881 5,043 2,567
Percentage            47.47% 28.60% 20.25% 2.44% 1.24%

Overall the Liberals preformed better in these five ridings than overall in the 2011 general election, which I know is not surprising since they hold all five seats.   Other than Scarborough-Guildwood which is new, the other four seats have been in Liberal hands for the last three elections or more.   If the Liberals expect to retain government in the next election, these are the sort of seats they have to retain.  In 2011 election the closest of these five seats was Windsor-Tecumseh but even there the Liberals had a 10 percentage point lead on the NDP.

If the Liberals can not feel safe with these seats, they will have to be playing defense on a lot more turf than they can afford to put effort into.  If they lose even one seat, I think you will see either an early election call or the opposition bring down the government.

Nationally a strong showing by the NDP by winning one or two seats would boost the party on the federal level.   It also says the Liberal brand is not doing as well as the federal party would have hoped.   The NDP and Liberals are clearly in a battle and every small win or triumph is needed.  Neither party is comfortably the government in waiting in Ottawa.

I think the federal Conservatives will be happy of the Ontario PCs can pick off two of the ridings, London West and Etobicoke-Lakeshore.   This would confirm that right wing support has not evaporated.
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