Monday, October 21, 2019

Crystal Ball Gazing: #Elxn43 Predictions

At the outset of the election campaign, I made a prediction – that Canadians would be electing a Conservative majority government on October 21.  There were several things which informed this assessment, but largely it ultimately boiled down to the following:

-That this election would be fought on one primary issue: how much the electorate hates Justin Trudeau.

-That the Conservative Party and it’s 3rd Party advertising allies have a whole bunch of money to spend to convince voters to hate Justin Trudeau

-A lacklustre NDP campaign that would lead to closer results in ridings, electing a few more Conservatives, and ultimately returning fewer New Democrats to the House. They would be almost completely wiped out in Quebec – but the NDP would still do better than pre-campaign polling suggested.

-A stronger Green Party that would lead to closer results in ridings, electing a few more Conservatives – but the Greens would still fail to do nearly as well as pre-campaign polling suggested.

The Party Leaders
After reflecting on what’s really transpired, I’m not sure that enough of these predictions bore fruit – Yes, the Conservatives and allies threw a lot of money around at biggest issue of the campaign: the integrity of Justin Trudeau. But whether it’s as determinative as I had initially thought, I’m far less certain, given that the integrity of Andrew Scheer has also been a big campaign issue (one that I did not predict).

As far as the NDP and the Green Party goes, I think I mostly nailed it.  I am not at all surprised that the NDP has done better than pre-campaign polling, given the strength of their leader (whom I’ve been following for years).  And I am not at all surprised that people have, once again, turned their backs on the Greens as a party with whom votes just can’t be parked with (a serious issue for any Fourth/Fifth party, like the Greens).

What I did not predict was that the Bloc Quebecois would experience a resurgence.  I had thought that the Conservatives would pick up more seats in Quebec than they appear poised to do.  And to an extent, this has been the largest factor in my shift from a prediction of a Conservative majority to a hung parliament wherein the Conservatives end up with the most seats and the largest share of the popular vote.

In part what also informs my prediction are the polls – which have consistently shown the Conservatives and Liberals neck-and-neck.  What I think we’re going to see is which parties get our their vote tonight – and which don’t.  The Conservatives are set to over-perform, while the Liberals and the Greens will underperform.  I actually think the NDP will receive a little bit of a bump as voters make their final decisions at the ballot box.

Watch for the Conservatives to pick up seats in the Atlantic Provinces and in the Greater Toronto Area. And the odd pick-up in other regions will give the Conservatives a slight edge on the Liberals in terms of seats once all the votes are counted.

Further prediction: If Trudeau concedes defeat tonight, the Conservatives will govern – with the support of the Liberal Party, at least for the Throne Speech and budget.  If he does not concede tonight, whether he concedes later or goes to the GG with a plan to govern, the Conservatives will not form government.  So I will be watching very carefully what Trudeau says – or does not say – tonight.

Here are my predictions for the popular vote count. I am not predicting seats – except for the Green Party, because I’m sure Greens who read my blog might have a little more interest in my thoughts on that.

CON – 37%
LIB – 30%
NDP – 19%
BQ – 7%
GRN – 5%
Other – 2%

Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott will both be returned to parliament as Independents.  Maxime Bernier will not be returned to parliament. 

And the Greens, after waiting for the final ballots to be counted in Victoria and Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, which will both be lost in squeakers, will see only two Greens elected – Elizabeth May in Saanich-Gulf Islands, and Paul Manly in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

If the Liberals or Conservatives win a majority, look for Elizabeth May to signal that she will be stepping down from her position as leader of the Green Party at some point (it will be vague).  If it’s a minority situation, I would not expect May to say anything about the Green Party’s leadership.

That’s likely to be the only potential leader-resignation tonight. I get that some are suggesting that if the Liberals win a majority, Scheer may resign – or if the Conservatives win a majority, Trudeau might resign.  I don’t think either is likely to happen tonight.  And no matter what happens, I can’t see NDP leader Jagmeet Singh resign tonight – even if he loses his own seat (which I really can’t see happening).  And Max Bernier will not resign even when he does lose his own seat.

Some final predictions: After a close race in Nickel Belt, Liberal incumbent Marc Serre will defeat New Democrat Stef Paquette.  The race will not be as close in Sudbury, and Liberal incumbent Paul Lefebvre will be returned to Ottawa.  In both ridings, Liberals take top spot, followed by the NDP, followed by the Greens, followed by a (somewhat surprisingly) PPC nipping at the heels of the Green Party.

Now, bring on the results – and let me see how poorly I’ve assessed the situation.

(opinions expressed in this blogpost are my own and should not be considered consistent with the policies and/or positions of the Green Parties of Ontario and Canada)

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