Thursday, January 05, 2006

Conservative Majority Government?

The Truth Hurts: Canadian Political Blog
How on earth could this election ever produce a Conservative majority government? Well, it is not there yet, but the fundamentals are developing - read on (and check the daily forecaster in the left column).

You have read it here before that the Conservatives even have a chance of picking up a seat in Toronto given their increase in support. Well, here is a new update. Based on the latest polling data it is not just a chance but a probability that they will win a seat in Toronto, perhaps even two. They will also be competitive in other Toronto ridings. But wait, there is more. If the polling numbers hold, or improve, the Conservatives will be breaking into Quebec. That's right, the Conservative Party will finish this election with seats in Quebec. At this point they are in third place status for seats, but moving from zero to something in Quebec is a big move. Those two breakthroughs, even as small as they are, would have been very unlikely at the beginning of this campaign. Being shut out of Toronto and Quebec makes forming a majority government all but impossible. But now it looks like the Conservatives will not be shut out. That does not yet add up to a majority. But what if this is just the start of a sea-change? The polling data indicates the Conservatives have not yet peaked. Toronto is unlikely to switch to the Conservatives in a significant way but, Quebecers have been known to do it. If this is only the beginning of a significant breakthrough for the Conservatives in Quebec then they will be within majority range on election day.

But there are problems for the Conservatives. Up to this point in the campaign the attacks from most of the parties have been directed to Paul Martin and the Liberals. But that is going to change. The Conservatives are now a threat to the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois. Gilles Ducceppe has had a free ride this election, but perhaps that is about to end. And the NDP have already started their attacks because there are seats they are going to lose to the Conservatives in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. But not only that, the Conservatives are taking away enough Liberal votes in Ontario that they are surpasing the NDP in areas the NDP had hopes of winning.

Liberals are hoping this is no different than the rise of the Tories in the last election where Conservative support fell in the final two weeks. But things are different this time. Harper has not been making amateur mistakes, the Conservatives have outlined a right wing but tempered platform, the Conservative campaign has been run very well, and the Liberals have been running a terrible campaign - though that latter point was true for all but the final days of the last campaign as well. Perhaps even more important, there was not an RCMP investigation of the Liberals going on. That, with the negative advertising directed against the Liberals, along with the previously mentioned elements, is making this a very different campaign. We do not know yet what will happen on election day, but this is not the same election as last time.