Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Seat Forecast Shows Deadheat - What Does It Mean - Part II

The Truth Hurts: Canadian Political Blog
If you have not already, click on the seat forecaster - daily in the left column and you will see that the race in terms of seats is now a deadheat (and that is updated each day). But what is happening on the ground for the Liberals? Where are they, excuse the pun, bleeding red? I will answers these questions in this article. (Part I deals with the Conservatives; Part II deals with the Liberals; Part III deals with the NDP.)

To truly answer these questions I need a poll with significant subnational breakouts so that I can run the comprehensive seat forecaster. However, I can still make some general assessments. Not suprisingly, the Liberals are down in Quebec. The good news for them is that if they are not at rock bottom they are close to it - at least in terms of seats. There is still a chance that they could lose another seat there if Bloc Quebecois support rises. Aside from that, any increase in support for the Bloc Quebecois from here on will only consolidate ridings they are already leading in, though increase support for the Conservatives could spell trouble. The real problem facing Paul Martin is that they are going to lose about twice as many seats in Ontario as compared to Quebec, and the bottom has not yet fallen out. The Liberals loses are primarily in southwestern and eastern Ontario. However, they are also set to lose nearly half their seats in Northern Ontario.

The real area for the Liberals to watch is the 905 belt. At this point the Conservatives have likely only come back in the 905 to the level they were at on election day 2004. However, they are again competitive in some Liberal ridings. Any further downward movement for the Liberals is likely going to mean the Tories are going to pick up seats in the 905 belt and it will likely be a cascading effect. Interestingly, while Toronto will remain a Liberal stronghold, based on the current numbers the NDP will be cracking that area. Even the Conservatives have an outside chance at a riding or two in Toronto - and one is not at all unreasonable.

Out west the Liberals are still looking at more seats in British Columbia. However, with negative momentum everywhere, including in B.C., that prospect may evaborate as election day approaches.

The saving grace for the Liberals is that the race has only just begun. There are two leaders' debates yet to come, most of the advertising money has been reserved for January, and the negative ads are about to come out in full force. What will the combination of these forces mean? Well, for the Liberals it means opportunity - and boy do they need that.