Tuesday, November 29, 2005

And they are off...

A few observations as the campaign commences:

1. Most of the polls since the 2004 election campaign, once run through my number cruncher, have produced minority governments, usually Liberal although today’s quickie overnight Reid poll produces a weak Conservative minority.

2. It is likely the Liberals will close the gap in Quebec, as the election becomes more polarized around federalism and it becomes obvious that the NDP and Conservatives don’t have strong campaigns on the ground in the province. Right now the BQ is looking at 65-68 seats. However, the Liberals closed strongly in 2004 in Quebec under similar circumstances and could get back most if not all of their 21 2004 seats.

3. It is harder for the Conservatives to win a majority than the Liberals. Assuming the Liberals could win 20 seats in Quebec (they took 21 in 2004) they would need to win about 58% of the seats in the rest of Canada whereas the Conservatives must win 66% of those constituencies, in both cases to obtain a bare majority.

4. The Liberals face a Conservative party with two strengths this time and one glaring weakness: they are much better organized (remember, they had just barely established themselves as a party in 2004) and better financed. However, their Leader, Mr. Harper, is a liability. He comes across as sour and angry (whereas Mr. Layton and Mr. Martin generally come across as sunny and optimistic) and what is worse for the Conservatives, he is better known than in 2004. He also strikes me from time to time as having a death wish. Either that or some of the foolish things he says, such as linking the Liberals to organized crime (fyi, the Republicans in the United States might be better candidates for such charges) simply show a political ineptitude I have trouble believing on part of some one as obviously bright as Mr. Harper.

5. The NDP was the hard luck party last time round, losing a dozen or so seats by tiny margins. They appear set to conduct both a better campaign, and with a leader whose communication skills have grown exponentially.

6. Using a weighted average of the three most recent polls and applying the seat forecaster we get the following seat distribution: L – 123, C – 80, NDP – 38, BQ – 67.

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