Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ontario election, throne speech and possible federal campaign

I don't have much to add to what has been said about the Ontario election. I underestimated the extent of the Liberal victory a little, but my forecasting model worked fine, predicting 69 Liberal seats when you input the actual vote shares.

The only small surprise was the 8% Green share where I had guessed it at 6%, and it was a huge gain from 2003. I strongly suspect the schools issue was at the root of it. It will be interesting to compare to the next federal election. In 2004 and 2oo6 the Green shares were 4.4 and 4.7% respectively. The environment is now permanently a key issue politically - climate change is going to ensure its importance.

The new Ipsos poll gives the Conservatives a 12 point lead over the Liberals 40 to 28. That big a lead should normally be expected to produce a majority. However, my estimate only gives the Conservatives 145 seats based this poll, well short of the 155 they would need for a bare overall majority.

The Conservative vote is exceptionally inefficiently distributed. Just one illustration: the poll has the Conservatives at 63% in Alberta. This would give them about 600,000 more votes than the Liberals in just this one province, far more than they would need to win every seat.

The poll numbers are bad for the Liberals, but are likely to reinforce their determination to avoid an early election. This story in the Star today tells us what to look for:

Apart from a few pro-election hawks, most Liberals are saying they need more time to get the party's act together.

This is why you will be hearing virtually the same words from Liberals in the days leading up to Tuesday's throne speech. They have come up with the "script" and it sounds like this:

"We will take into account all the aspects of the throne speech with only one thing in mind – the interests of Canadians," Dion told reporters in Toronto on Friday.

Doesn't sound like someone who is preparing to hit the hustings.

No comments: