Friday, July 24, 2009

The Path To Power

Just for fun, a superficial "playing with numbers" scenario.

Current seat totals=Cons 143 Libs 77 NDP 37 Bloc 49

Atlantic Canada 2008:

Libs 17
Cons 10

The Liberals held 22 seats in 2004, 20 in 2006. There are potential takebacks in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and one in PEI. For arguments sake, let's say the Libs pickup three seats from the Cons, NDP remain the same because they do appear to have some strength:

Libs 20
Cons 7

Cons 140 Lib 80 NDP 37 Bloc 49

Quebec 2008:

Bloc 49
Libs 14
Cons 10

Current Liberal support is akin to 2004 totals, which translated to 21 seats. A optimistic scenario might look like:

Bloc 45
Libs 24
Cons 4

Cons 134 Libs 90 NDP 37 Bloc 45

Ontario 2008:

Cons 51
Libs 38
NDP 17

In 2006, the NDP actually scored a higher percentage than in 2008, yet where only able to garner 12 seats (2004 same support as 2008, yet only 7 seats). This speaks to a real weakness in the Liberal vote, which by all accounts is no longer present. Obviously the key battleground for the Liberals, something in the order of a 7% gap, which is entirely doable, would come up with:

Libs 58
Cons 36
NDP 12

Cons 119 Libs 110 NDP 32 Bloc 45

Manitoba 2008:

Cons 9
Libs 1

In 2006 and 2004 the Liberals had 3 seats. Some evidence that the Liberals have the capacity to pickup a couple of seats, noteably a recent poll that shows the party doing well in Winnipeg. Let's allow the Liberals to return to previous pedestrian form:

Cons 8
Libs 3

Cons 118 Libs 112 NDP 31 Bloc 45

As for Alberta and Saskatchewan, let's say the Liberals manage to pickup one seat, the NDP hang on to there lone seat in Edmonton.

Cons 117 Libs 113 NDP 31 Bloc 45

British Columbia 2008:

Cons 22
Libs 5

The Liberals had 9 seats in 2006, 8 in 2004. There is some reason for optimism that we could get back into that terrority, although anything more might be a stretch:

Cons 20
Libs 8

Cons 115 Libs 116 NDP 30 Bloc 45

For arguments sake, the northern seats remain the same.

This is obviously a generalization of the highest order, but it does speak to how much it takes for the Liberals to eke out the most miniscule of victories, from our current lowly seat total. The only way we see a more stable minority situation is if the Liberals really romp in Ontario, a double digit advantage, which is on the outside of realistic. That said, I don't believe anything in the above breakdown constitutes "crazy talk".


DL said...

Those are not unreasonable predictions/scenarios. The main things that could be different IMHO is that I wouldn't be at all surprised if the NDP went up 1 or 2 in Nova Scotia (from the Tories). I think the Tories may do worse than 4 seats in Quebec and may be more like 1 or 2 seats. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt for Ontario for now. I don't see the NDP losing any of their 4 Manitoba seats - but the Liberals could easily regain 2 from the Tories. There are about two Tory seats in Saskatchewan that would be "low-hanging fruit" for the NDP - and the Liberals could conceivably win back that far northern seat. In BC, I think the Tories may lose a lot more than just 2 seats. Most polls have their support way, way down from the 44% they got last time.

Steve V said...

I could see them doing worse in Quebec for sure, but I also gave the Libs a high end number. BC might well decide who forms government. I think I'm fair to the NDP in Ontario, because the Liberals will almost certainly be stronger the next election.

Anthony said...

Mulcair is def not holding on with all the Liberal strength in Montreal

It would take a miracle.

his no.1 campaign strategy last time was to campaign against Dion, both in the by-election and the general

A reader said...

If Iggy continues his back-down on EI, you'll be lucky to keep what you have in the Atlantic provinces, as the NDP will come hunting for you.

Today's ultimatum by Poilievre was eminently predictable ... as will be your guy's capitulation at the end of this entire tragi-comical process.

Steve V said...


While I try to put up something balanced, you respond like a juvenile hack. Shocking. I could have easily reduced the NDP to single digit seats in Ontario, and the numbers support it.


I agree, but he's still formidable. I expect the Libs to pour resources into defeating Mulclair, and given that it was still razor close last time, I won't be surprised in the least if we beat him.

What do you think about my Lib number, optimistic?

DL said...

Mulcair won by about 2,700 votes last time. While it was no landslide, it was not "razor close" either. "Razor close" is someone like Ujjal Dosanjh winning by 20 votes. Its hard to say what'll happen there next time. Its a very environmentalist riding and Dion's green shift etc... may have actually attracted some people there. Now that Iggy has jettisoned all that and become a cheerleader for the tar sands could be a turn off to a lot of people in Outremont. The Liberal vote % there was about the same in 2008 as it was in the '04 and '06 elections, Mulcair won by scooping up the sizable BQ vote and fusing it with the 15% that was NDP to begin with. If the Liberals really want to beat Mulcair that badly, they should help the BQ find a really formidable candidate who can raise the BQ vote up at the NDP's expense!

Steve V said...

You're right, razor close might be overstating. Very winnable for the Liberals would not be, but like I say it's a challenge.

CuriosityCat said...

Let's do the real math: Libs 116 plus NDP 30 makes 146.

There you have your replacement government.

Steve V said...

I don't see the value of that scenario, unless you have a majority position. Might as well just govern, and seek consensus issue to issue, because you'll always need two partners.

CuriosityCat said...

The party with the most seats forms the government, unless a coalition (governed by an agreement between 2 or more parties) commands more seats, in which case the Governor General will call upon the coalition to form the replacement government once the minority government falls in the vote of confidence.

Your own estimates show the Liberals needing an awful lot of luck to get a one seat advantage over the Tories.

Better to face reality and do a deal now with the Dippers to run a coalition government.

Otherwise the Tories will be back in power and either the Dippers or the Bloc but most likely the Liberals will support a new Harper minority government.

Anonymous said...

Quebec is predominantly Catholic. As Dion and Chretien can attest Catholics almost always vote Liberal.
So, that vote is nicely tied up. Then the Liberals were generous in their immigration policies to Quebec - they always get the east Indian and Muslim votes.
Then you have the arts community - they always vote for the party that promises them lots of grants without strings attached - again that is the Liberal vote sewn up in Quebec.
They don't read the news in the rest of Canada so Quebec can be treated differently and made different promises than the ROC.
Plus, PowerCorp and the Desmarais (Jean Chretien's daughter is married to one) own the major Quebec media (LaPress, etc.)
They can save money on advertising because the Quebec media will be in their pocket big time.
I think Quebec is a done deal don't you?

Steve V said...

"As Dion and Chretien can attest Catholics almost always vote Liberal."

Umm, your math is horrible. A quick wikipedia might help.


I'm not sure Canadians will accept a coalition, unless you have a majority scenario. Afterall, what's the point of a formal union, when you can't govern with out the seperatists or the wingnuts anyways? I know it's your pet hope, but it must be the right combination. In some ways, the Martin government was a pseudo coalition, so I'm not going to get hung up on arrangements.

Steve V said...

Just to add, 22% of Catholics voted Liberal in 2008, so Dion can't really attest to anything :)

Steve V said...

And, if you want to go back further, 50% of Catholics voted for the Bloc in 2000, just to speak to the Chretien angle.

A reader said...

Shocking. I could have easily reduced the NDP to single digit seats in Ontario, and the numbers support it.

Ah, the Liberal pundit giveth and the Liberal pundit taketh away. If only it were so simple as to wish us away, eh!

Anonymous said...

Outside of Ontario and Quebec you are slightly optimistic. In Quebec, it is going to be a huge challenge for the Liberals to win 24 seats ... but it is possible. As for Ontario, Conservative numbers have no where to go but up ... up from current polling numbers that is. Once the economy starts to bounce back you'll see their numbers bounce ahead and they'll win the same. Bottom line is that based on what Ignatieff has been able to perform thus far it is almost certain there will be another Conservative minority government. If he makes a major mistake during the election, which is always a possibility with this guy, then you could see the Conservatives edge close to a majority ... but I just don't see the Conservatives actually winning a majority now that they have written off Quebec.

Steve V said...

Reader, I'm amazed at how fast you've become such a colossal intellectual bore. Seriously.

"it is almost certain there will be another Conservative minority government."

I can't see how anybody can say that with such equivocation. I really don't, it's going to be up for grabs during the campaign, it just is.

As for the Con numbers improving in Ontario, they're actually not that bad right now. The Lib vote is really at more normal levels, nothing spectacular. The numbers look even better however, when you factor in the possible wane with vote splitting.

I don't see any scenario where the Cons get close to a majority, as a matter of fact it's more likely they lose some seats. 2008 was a historical anomaly for the Liberal Party, acknowledging lingering problems, we'll sure as shit get more than 26% of the vote. I don't even entertain a replay to be honest, and that isn't arrogance I assure you.

Koby said...

The EI issue has hurt the Liberals. They are down 5% since they backed down.

Anyway, the Liberals only chance of winning a workable minority runs through Quebec and even that is going to be very hard to do. The Liberal vote in Quebec is not very efficient, the Liberal ground presence is not strong in many parts of the province and Quebec is not a two party province the way it was in 2000 and 2004. Support for the Green party, the NDP and the Conservatives has grown since 2004, much of it at the expense of the Liberals.

If the Liberals consistently poll in the high thirties in Quebec, provided the numbers are not terrible elsewhere, they might want to consider going.

As for Steve's scenario, I can certainly see something akin to this playing out. However, I do not see the Liberals picking up a seat in Sask or Alberta and his Ontario numbers might be a little high.

Anonymous said...

What I actually wrote:

"If [Ignatieff] makes a major mistake during the election, which is always a possibility with this guy, then you could see the Conservatives edge close to a majority ... but I just don't see the Conservatives actually winning a majority now that they have written off Quebec."

You're too defensive and partisan Steve. Ignatieff is famous for sticking his foot in his mouth. My analysis was assuming he didn't do that, which is a big assumption. However, I did make the comment above about that possibility. And even with that I said that the Conservatives won't win a majority.

As for it being almost certain that Conservatives will win another minority, just look at the polls for the last many, many months. Liberals and Conservatives are tied, over and over. As we pull out of this recession Conservative numbers are heading north. Unless Ignatieff's changes his strategy, which his people have specifically said they will not, then yes it is almost certain there will be another Conservative minority.

DL said...

There may be another election result where the Conservatives have a plurality - but another Conservative minority government will not happen. Unless the Tories get a majority, the opposition parties will vote down the very first throne speech and then form a coalition government.

Anyone but Harper said...

I'm firmly of the opinion that any scenario that leaves the Conservatives with anything but a majority will be a loss for them. The other parties will simply not allow them to continue governing when there is a credible alternative, and although Iggy won't put together anything resembling a formal coalition, if on election night all three opposition leaders declare that they do not have confidence in Harper as PM, the gig is up, and welcome to a *stable* Liberal minority government where sh*t can actually get done. If the first 2 years is just fixing all the crap that the Cons f*cked up, there is lots of room for the three sane parties to work together, even without a formal agreement.

Anonymous said...

If the Conservatives win a plurality of the seats then by definition they will win a minority government ... unless they turn down that opportunity. As for a coalition defeating them, I think it really boils down to the BQ. The NDP will be tripping all over themselves at the chance of actually forming government. The BQ, however, will never be part of the government and will have other considerations. Basically, they will analyze what would happen to them if the Conservatives were defeated and there was another election instead of a coalition. If they think they would loose seats they will support a coalition. If they think they could do better, or even perhaps stay the same, then they'll have no interest in helping anyone ... including Canada.

Anonymous said...

Not totally unreasonable, although I highly doubt either party will have an insurmountable lead when the writ is dropped whenever that is.

Atlantic Canada - Polls aren't looking good for the Tories, but considering how diverse the areas are, it is tough to get an exact seat breakdown as voting parties are far from monolithic in this region

Quebec - The Liberals are almost certain to gain seats and the Tories almost certain to lose them that being said a complete Tory shutout looks less likely. In case of the Liberals matching the 34% the Liberals got in 2004 is an uphill battle, but we could still win more seats as the BQ had a 15 point lead, whereas now it is single digits.

Ontario - The Liberals will likely gain seats and Tories likely lose, but it is still possible the Tories could gain and Liberals lose. I think the suburban, smaller cities, and mid sized cities are the Liberals best hopes as knocking off an incumbent in Rural Ontario is pretty tough never mind most ridings the Tories won by pretty large margins and in many if not most cases, they got over 50% of the popular vote. Still I think 60 Liberal seats is doable, while 50 seats is definitely realistic.

Manitoba/Saskatchewan - Could pick up a couple in Winnipeg and maybe the Northern Saskatchewan riding, but in the case of Saskatchewan the lack of any purely urban riding and the fact all include large rural chunks pretty much guarantees the Tories will dominate here.

Alberta - Long-term the Liberals shouldn't write this off, but this time around, 1 seat would be a great result for Alberta. The Tories could also sweep the province again since the NDP has fallen further thus the Tories could regain Edmonton-Strathcona.

British Columbia - Tough to predict, but for whatever reason the Tories always seem to do better on election day than the polls suggest. Part of that could be many older British Columbians still hold gripes over Liberal policies 30 years ago and this group tends to turnout in larger numbers than the younger population who are fine with the Liberals.