Saturday, October 3, 2009

By-election analysis

With 4 by-elections now seemingly coming up, now seems as good a time as any to take a look at each riding.

New Westminster – Coquitlam

Located on the edge of greater Vancouver, the riding is a traditionally a swing riding between the NDP and the PC's/Reform/Alliance/Conservatives, (the Liberals haven't won in the area that makes up the riding since the 1968 Trudeau victory) although the Liberals have occasionally made it a 3 way race when the vote has split since then, finishing close thirds in 1993, 1997 and 2004. The Liberal vote collapsed last election, going from 23.5% and 11,931 votes in 2006 to 11.3% and 5,615 votes in 2008. The riding has been often been a person battle between Dawn Black from the NDP and Paul Forseth from the Conservatives, facing each other in 2006, 1997, and 1993. On paper, this is the Liberals best chance of winning one of the 4 by-elections, although that isn't saying much, a more realistic goal would be lifting the Liberal vote from the lows of the 2008 results into the mid-20% range that the party usually turns in when it is perfoming normally. From all I have heard, Fin Donnelly was a good choice for NDP candidate, as the riding is often split between the more NDP friendly New Westminster and the more Tory Coquitlam, and Donnelly was a fairly popular Coquitlam councilor, so in addition to the normal NW NDP vote that helped Dawn Black, he can probably have a personal vote in Coquitlam. The Liberals should, as I said, focus on simply trying to reach say, 25% to show they are back on their feet in the ridings, and should in particular try to work on getting Green voters to go Liberal.

(I didn't do it deliberately, but this result would basically mirror the 2006 result)

Cumberland – Colchester – Musquodoboit Valley

The NDP has high hopes for this rural Nova Scotia riding, vacated by former Tory Bill Casey. They are still hoping to ride the wave created by the provincial party's victory in the most recent provincial election, in which the NS NDP won 3 of the 5 provincial ridings in CCMV, and if the combined total of all those ridings were combined, it would produce an NDP victory. I think though, that the Tories should hold this one. Conservative candidate Scott Armstrong was a middle-man between Casey and the federal Conservatives, and is respected by both Casey loyalists and Tory diehards, so he should be able to pull out most of the old Tory vote for himself. The riding has a very long Tory history, with Casey's election as an independent, and the 1993 PC wipeout (in which Casey lost the seat) being the only times the riding has voted anything but Conservative since 1957 (and even prior to that, the seat leaned Conservative, going all the way back to Father of Confederation Charles Tupper). I expect a Tory victory with the NDP a strong second, and the Liberals making up some of the ground they lost in 2008.


Montmagny – L'Islet – Kamouraska – Rivière-du-Loup

Held by the BQ since 1993, the Conservatives had hoped that the Mario Dumont effect would deliver this seat to them as part of the Quebec breakthrough that would yield a Tory majority, which ended up falling flat (although the riding was ultimately one of the few in Quebec in which the Conservatives did better in 2008 than in 2006). Prior to 1993, the seat had flipped a couple times between the Liberals and the PC's (and featured the Rhino Party finishing in third ahead of the NDP in 1984). The Tories had hoped to lure Dumont into federal politics and take a run at this seat, but Dumont declined, and the 15% showing of the ADQ in the Riviere-du-Loup by-election that followed Dumont stepping down can't bode well for the Conservatives (in fairness, many Quebec Conservatives were supporting the Quebec Liberal Party candidate in the by-election). The BQ should hold onto the seat, and the real battle will be for second place. If the Liberals can muscle ahead of the Tories, that would show the party is taking root in francophone, rural Quebec, while a Tory hold of second place would allow them to ride the narrative of a Liberal falling in Quebec. I think ultimately the Liberals will finish slightly ahead of the Conservatives.



Probably the easiest seat to analyze, this is a safe BQ East Montreal riding. Real Menard never won less than 45% of the vote, and with the BQ lining up probable star candidate Daniel Paillé (although he must win a contested nomination first), this should be a fairly easy BQ hold. The Liberals won a respectable share of the vote last time around, and the NDP is hoping to maintain the relatively strong performance they had last time around, running 2008 candidate Jean-Claude Rocheleau. I've heard no word on potential Liberal or Conservative candidates.

BQ: 47%
Liberal: 25%
NDP: 15%
Conservative: 9%
Green: 4%


Anonymous said...

Only so you don't think anyone's paying attention ;), I read your analysis and it makes a lot of sense.

I imagine most readers just don't have much to add (nor did I). But I wanted you to know your thoughts on the matter were appreciated. Thanks.

DL said...

I agree with the gist of the analysis, but I think you're being too optimistic about the Liberals in the two Quebec ridings. In MIKR, the Tories are running a well-known local mayor and the NDP apparently is also running a well known local notable (that person will have zero chance of winning but is likely to get a higher % of the vote than the paper candidate they ran in '08). So far there is still no Liberal candidate. I expect a third place Liberal showing there.

In Hochelaga, the BQ is forcing some rightwing business tycoon on the riding which is a very leftwing working class part of the east end of Montreal. The NDP candidate is the head of the union that represents the oil refinery workers in that area and he he never stopped campaigning after the '08 election. He may pick up support from disgruntled BQ supporters. There is no Liberal candidate yet and apparently no one of any significance is being touted. I think the NDP and Liberals will trade places from your projection.

Moriarty said...

I don't agree with Joseph. I think your analysis of CCMV is rather simplistic. We've heard a hundred times "this riding has strong Tory roots" and several variations on that same theme before.

It's not a good basis for a prediction.

I find it odd that you admit to the NDP numbers telling a different story, yet somehow revert to superstition when it comes to making the call.

The NDP has some good records in CCMV and will be able to use those records to target the campaign.

They've never had this before.

The NDP also has a mobilized and excited volunteer and donor base.

They've never had that before.

The NDP has 3 of 5 of the provinical ridings.

They're never had this before.


On the "Tory country" myth:

This will work to hurt the Tories and will play a role in giving the NDP the seat, just as it did in the provincial campaigns.

You see, NS Tories suffer from the illusion that they don't need to canvass or do any campaigning other than photo ops and press releases.

There is such a culture of entitlement among NS Tories that they expect to win, and they run their (non) campaigns accordingly.

This is not going to change.

It's too well entrenched in the Tory ranks that old-school campaigning is something "the other guy" does.

And Armstrong, as a former campaign manager, is too steeped in this school of thought to change. As well, his status as an "organizer" will cause stress in his campaign and result in poor decisions that will lead to a loss.

In addition, your arbitrary prediction that the Liberals will make up ground I disagree with.

Perhaps if Parsons had won the nomination that would be the case. Burrows' win means that people who were on board for Tracy because she's Tracy will have left. Tracy was a popular candidate and there'll be some rifts to smooth over which means the campaign will suffer as a result.

Now that's an analysis.

NDP: 42%
CPC: 38%
LPC: 12%
GPC: 4%
CHP: 4%