Thursday, October 27, 2011

What 338 seats mean - the Conservatives are the new natural governing party

Adding 30 new seats is a very large increase for Canada.   This is almost a 10% increase in the House of Commons, the second largest percentage increase in MPs in Canadian history.   The biggest increase was in the run up to the 1872 election, but half of the 20 new seats then came from the addition of BC and Manitoba to Canada as provinces.   This is the largest increase in total new seats in Canadian history.

To give you an idea of how big this increase is, the 30 new seats are two more seats than the representation from Saskatchewan and Manitoba.   It is 2 fewer than the representation for the four Atlantic provinces.   How ever you slice it, this is a dramatic and large increase in the House of Commons.

With the addition of 27 seats to BC, Alberta and Ontario, those three provinces now hold 64% of the seats in the country.   This is up from 55% at the moment.   What this means is that the three provinces that have been chronically underrepresented for decades now have a hold on enough seats to be the primary battleground of any elections.

With 338 seats the number needed for a majority is now 170.   The total number of seats in the three underrepresented provinces is 197 seats.    A landslide in the provinces that are growing and are the economic engine of Canada is enough to win a majority  

The new seats are also most likely to be in areas that voted Conservative in the last election.   The 40 ridings with the largest populations are all in BC (5), Alberta (10) and Ontario (25).   These seats split as follows:

  • Conservatives - 36 - 4 marginal
  • NDP - 2
  • Liberals - 2 - 2 marginal

I added the marginal ones to show that really the Conservatives do have a strong lock on these seats at this time.

So if apply this split to the 27 new seats in BC, Alberta and Ontario, what I get is:

  • Conservatives - 24
  • NDP - 2
  • Liberals - 1
Quebec I am assuming that the 2011 pattern would have meant three more NDP seats as the largest Quebec seats were all won by the NDP by large margins.

With 338 seats and a 2011 election, the result would have looked something like this:
  • Conservatives - 190 - 20 more than needed for a majority
  • NDP - 108
  • Liberals - 35
  • Others - 5
With the new seats the Conservatives go from a majority of 11 seats to one of 20 seats.  The Conservatives get to 145 seats in BC, Alberta and Ontario alone.

If we look back at the last ten or so federal elections, the 12 seats in BC and Alberta are mostly likely to be 10 Conservatives and 2 opposition.  In Ontario, given where the seats are, the past record, other than 93,97 and 2000 when the PCs and Reform/CA split allowed the Liberals to win more seats, Ontario typically has elected more conservatives than Liberals in the areas where the seats will be added.   The natural split would seem to be 10 Conservative and 5 not.

So of the 30 total new seats, the Conservatives will gain about 20 new safe seats.

As it stands, the Conservatives have about 100 safe seats in the country, 55 short of a majority.  With the new seats this rises to 120 safe seats and only 50 more are needed for a majority.

The addition of the new seats will continue the shift in Canada of the natural governing party from the Liberals to the Conservatives.   At this point it is highly unlikely that the Conservatives will lose their majority in 2015. 

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