Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Quebec & Atlantic Canada: What Are You Going To Do?

The Truth Hurts: Canadian Political Blog
Except for the details, I think the election is over everywhere west of Quebec (I have updated the forecasters again). The only exception is the NDP, for whom even a small increase can result in a good number of seats. For the Conservatives and Liberals, however, their support seems to have settled in. Check out the Provincial forecast in the left column. I suspect on election day the results will be very similar for everything west of Quebec.

As for Quebec, I think they are probably in the same category. The Conservatives have seen their numbers jump and then hold. A sea-change does not work that way, at least the hold would not be for this long. They can still win more seats in Quebec but I think nine is probably their ceiling. I still reserve the right to change my mind on this, though, because I want to see over the next few days whether Conservative support really has held or whether it will start to grow again. As well, there is still the french language debate tonight. Harper could deliver a knockout punch but I suspect he is just hoping to cash in his winnings and hope for a bigger win next time in Quebec. In other words, he will play it safe.

Atlantic Canada is a different story. One poll concludes that the Liberals are winning, and a strong win. Another concludes the Conservatives and Liberals are tied. And yet another is somewhere inbetween, but still gives a good lead to the Liberals. As impossible as this may seem, I do not believe any of those polls are wrong. Those three firms could call the same 300 houses in Atlantic Canada on the same night and I suspect they could still get dramatically different results. I think when John Q. Public picks up the phone at 7pm he gives an honest answer. At 8pm he also gives an honest answer, but a different one. I think the dynamics in Atlantic Canada are on the cusp of change, but they have not yet decided. Quebec and Atlantic Canada are the ones with the greatest fear of Harper, so this should not be surprising. Time will tell what these two regions will do.

As a result, I am probably three days away from saying a Conservative majority or Liberal minority are unlikely. That is, it will be a Conservative minority government. Liberals should not give up hope yet, there is still a race for how well they will do in terms of seats - but I think forming government is out of the question. And Conservatives should not yet rule out the possibility of a majority; if Atlantic Canada turns their way and they reach what I expect is their ceiling in Quebec, nine seats, they can still do it. But I am very close to making a call.

What an interesting election!