Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Minority Governments

There is a prospect that Canada will elect minority governments in three elections this year - in provincial votes in Ontario and Quebec, and a federal election.

Jean Charest appears anxious to get to the polls as soon as possible to exploit modest improvements in his poll standing and the troubles of André Boisclair. However, applying my forecast model to both the Léger poll and the CROP survey produces minority PQ victories with the ADQ holding the balance of power, and confidence in Charest's government remains limited.

In Ontario, the polls are somewhat more favourable for the McGuinty government. This poll by SES had the Liberals up by eight points, a lead that would produce a Liberal majority, while another by Ipsos-Reid reported a 34 to 33 popular vote lead for the Liberals that would actually produce a Conservative minority government. The Liberal government does seem certain now to face some type of setback in tomorrow's by-elections. A vote of non-confidence in the government would provide more evidence that it will have a tough time winning a second majority.

And all the polls at this point suggest that a federal election would produce another minority government. For example, this Léger poll would produce a Conservative minority of 130 seats with 119 for the Liberals 11 for the NDP and 47 for the BQ. Harper no doubt is interested in winning a majority, but may find it hard to resist the opportunity of going after a new leader still learning the ropes, heading a party short of money and needing time to organize. The money on the attacks would have been completely wasted if the election is not for another year.

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