Thursday, May 11, 2006

Kennedy and High Park

Gerard Kennedy is about to resign his provincial seat. He has been getting pressured by the provincial opposition, who according to this report in the Toronto Star think they might be able to win a by-election. This would be more likely true of the NDP than the Conservatives.

In this context, it is worth looking at the Liberal performance in the three by-elections (in Toronto-Danforth, Nepean-Carleton and Whitby-Ajax) held March 30. They were all made necessary by departures of three MPPs who contested federal constituencies in the recent federal election.

Although they lost all three, the Liberal performance was in marked contrast to their performance in three earlier contests. They did much, much better this time. Don’t forget that these were all ridings the Liberals lost in 2003.

However, a variation on my forecasting model can generate a province-wide estimate from a single by-election. Averaging the three March 30 by-elections we find the Liberals would have had an estimated 50.4%, the Conservatives 30.8% and the NDP 16.6% if they were translated into a province-wide outcome. For the three earlier by-elections, the comparable numbers are Liberal – 31.2%, Conservatives – 29.4%, and the NDP – 35.4%.

Now all these numbers need to be taken with a large grain of salt, but I do think the recent by-elections reflect the fact that the McGuinty is doing better politically these days, so one should not automatically assume that the Liberals will lose the Parkdale-High Park by-election that will have to be called later this year after Kennedy’s departure for the federal Liberal leadership trail.

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