Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Elections Predictions - Western Canada and the North

Now that I given the predictions in the East where over half of the population lives, below is my predictions for Western Canada and the three Northern ridings.


Manitoba can be divided into two groups, Rural Manitoba which is staunchly conservative in the South where most people live, while more leftist in the North which is fairly sparsely populated.  Winnipeg is more of a mixed bag with the NDP strongest on the North side which is largely working class and has a long tradition of socialism (This is where the Winnipeg General strike started) while the Liberals on the south side and the Tories along the periphery.  For the Tories the further one gets from downtown the better they do.  In a bad election, it isn't until you reach the Perimeter highway the Tories start winning while in a normal or good election, it is closer to the centre although still well outside the downtown.

The Conservatives should win the five rural ridings they have by a landslide (Dauphin Swan River-Marquette, Selkirk-Interlake, Brandon-Souris, Portage-Lisgar, and Provencher).   I also expect them to hold Charleswood-St. James-Assinboia and Kildonan-St. Paul without too much problem.

Winnipeg South - Strongly favours the Tories but is more a fiscally conservative but socially centrist riding thus if the Tories make a major plunder or the Liberals do well, it could go Liberal.

Saint Boniface - Traditionally favoured the Liberals, but with the Liberals strongest in the heavily Francophone Saint Boniface district while the Tories stronger in the rapidly growing suburbs on the south end of the riding, I would give the edge to the Tories but far from certain.

The NDP should easily take Winnipeg Centre while barring a strong Liberal showing amongst Aboriginal voters in the North, they should also hold Churchill.  Unlike the other rural ridings, the Tories will probably come in a distant third here.

Winnipeg North - Traditionally an NDP stronghold, but Kevin Lemoroux of the Liberals won in an upset during the recent by-election.  The NDP will by fighting hard to regain this and the Liberals to hold his.

Elmwood-Transcona - Was an easy NDP hold when Bill Blaikie was MP due to his personal popularity, but with him gone, it now has a more a urban-suburban split with the NDP strong in the Elmwood portion which is closest to the city centre while the Tories are strongest in Transcona which is more suburban.  With only a 5 point spread, this may lean NDP, but I would not be the least bit surprised if the Tories won here.

For the Liberals they won only one seat last time around and there is a risk that they could get shut out of Manitoba which up until the 90s was the most Liberal friendly Western province and still the most Liberal friendly Prairie province.  Still, I think the Liberals have a 70% chance of at least winning one seat in Manitoba. 

Winnipeg South Centre - A traditional Liberal stronghold and was one of two Western ridings to go Liberal in 1980, however Tory gains in the Western parts as well as amongst the Jewish community (It is the most heavily Jewish riding in Western Canada) due to their pro-Israel stances, this is definitely a riding the Tories will heavily target.  The Liberals may have a very slight edge, but definitely too close to call.  The main thing is how well the NDP does as they have in the past gotten up to 20% thus the better they do, the better the Tories' chances are.


In recent elections, Saskatchewan has taken a strong turn to the right abandoning its NDP roots and electing the Conservative federally while the Saskatchewan Party provincially.  In fact Brad Wall has the highest approval rating of any Canadian premier which will likely help the Conservatives.  Part of the advantage for the Conservatives also goes to the fact the four Saskatoon and Regina ridings are 50/50 urban/rural ridings rather than entirely within the city limits thus the Conservatives' massive margins in the rural areas gives them at minimum the advantage in these ridings.  There are six Rural Saskatchewan ridings of which five (Battlefords-Lloydminster, Cypress Hills-Grasslands, Souris-Moose Mountain, Prince Albert, and Yorkton-Melville) should go solidly Conservative.  There are four Regina and four Saskatoon ridings.  While the NDP is strong in the urban core, the Tories dominate the rural portions of the riding.  Since Regina has a large civil service is somewhat more left leaning than Saskatoon.

In addition to the five ridings mentioned above, the Conservatives should easily hold Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre, Regina-Qu'appelle, Saskatoon-Humboldt, Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, and Blackstrap.

Palliser includes Moose Jaw which is somewhat more competitive so although I suspect the Tories will win this, this is one of two ridings the NDP has a shot at winning. 

Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River, is 60% aboriginal, but this group typically has a very low turnout and could go either NDP or Liberal.  A strong turnout by the aboriginal community and if they vote solidly either NDP as they did in 1997 or Liberal as in 2000 or 2006 could cause this riding to flip, otherwise it should stay Conservative.

Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar - In the past four elections, this has been quite close despite the slight edge for the Tories (and Alliance in 2000) thus it wouldn't take much to flip this to the NDP.  However, the Tories now hold the incumbent advantage which they didn't last time around thus if I had to make a prediction, I would give the Tories a 60% chance and the NDP a 40% chance of picking this up.  Nonetheless, in his three attempts, Jack Layton has been shut out of Saskatchewan and if he wishes to breakthrough, this seems like his best hope.

Wascana - Unlike other ridings, this is 90% urban and only 10% rural thus the strong Tory margins in the rural portions don't have quite the same impact as the other ridings in Saskatchewan.  Ralph Goodale has enough personal popularity that barring a meltdown he should hold this although his margins have narrowed, so I give the Tories a 10% of pulling this off.  I would likewise give the Tories a 5% chance of sweeping Saskatchewan which would be the first time since 1979 they have swept a province of other than Alberta (they swept PEI in 1979). 


Alberta has long been described as the most Conservative province in Canada.  Provincially, it has elected centre-right parties in every election since 1935 and most elections it is question whether it will be a Tory sweep or just Tory dominance but not a complete sweep.  Rural Alberta is the most Conservative area in Canada and the Tories routinely get over 70% and sometimes 80% meaning they should win all these in a landslide (Fort McMurray-Athabasca, Peace River, Westlock-St. Paul, Yellowhead, Vegreville-Wainwright, Wetaskiwin, Red Deer, Wild Rose, Crowfoot, Wild Rose, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, and Macleod).  Calgary may be one of the larger cities, but unlike other large cities, it goes solidly Conservative.  Expect the Conservatives to easily hold all eight ridings here (Calgary Southwest, Calgary West, Calgary-Nose Hill, Calgary Northeast, Calgary East, Calgary Southeast, Calgary Centre, and Calgary Centre-North).  Edmonton is the most left leaning part of Alberta and was even once nick named Redmonton.  Despite that it is still fairly conservative especially when one considers five of the eight ridings extend into the countryside.  Nonetheless it is the one part of Alberta that the NDP and Liberals at least have a fighting chance at winning a seat or two. 

In Edmonton, the Tories should easily hold Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beamont, Edmonton-Leduc, Edmonton-Spruce Grove, and Edmonton-St. Albert.

Edmonton-Sherwood Park will elect a small "c" conservative candidate the question is whether it is Tory candidate Tim Uppal or independent Conservative candidate James Ford who almost won in 2008.  Unlike other ridings where it is a battle between left and right wing parties, this will be a battle between two right wing candidates.

Edmonton East - This maybe one of the least Conservative ridings in the province, but the party has still averaged close to 50% each election.  The NDP is running former provincial NDP leader Ray Martin so an NDP upset is possible, but highly unlikely, thus I suspect the Tories will probably hold this.

Edmonton Centre - Not too long ago was a Liberal riding, although Anne McLellan's wins were never by very much and considering her personal popularity I cannot see this swinging back to the Liberals and the NDP is too weak to realistically win here, thus probably a Tory win, although likely with only a plurality unlike almost all other Alberta ridings where they will likely get over 50%.

Edmonton-Strathcona - This will without question be the most closely watched riding in Alberta.  The NDP won this in 2008 preventing the Tories from making a complete sweep of Alberta.  However, considering much of their support came from the Western parts where the university is and also a large number of young single/common law renters live, they could face a tough fight as the demographic that put the NDP over the top is the least likely to vote.  At this point, this is too close to call.

British Columbia

Of the Western provinces, this is probably the biggest battleground.  The Tories hold 22 seats out of 36, but it is not as solidly Conservative as the Prairie provinces are while the NDP has long been competitive in BC and even won three times provincially.  The Liberals only got 5 seats and will likely remain in third place, but they still have pockets of support, mainly in the Greater Victoria area and Vancouver and the neighbouring suburbs.  The BC Interior is generally a Conservative stronghold, particularly in the Okanagan Valley and Peace River District.  As it is a very mountainous area, the geography changes with every mountain range crossed and so do the politics, meaning the NDP has a few pockets of support, primarily the West Kootenays and North Coast.  Vancouver Island due to its strong union presence has traditionally been a bastion for NDP support, but with the rapid growth of older upper middle class voters in the Northern suburbs of Victoria as well as retirees along the East Coast from Departure Bay in Nanaimo to Comox, the Tories are equally competitive and strongest in the fastest growing sections, while the Liberals have some support in the Greater Victoria area but it is quite soft.  In the Lower Mainland, the Fraser Valley is the most Conservative region of BC and one the most conservative in the country outside Alberta while the suburbs lean to the right but the Liberals and NDP are competitive in some, especially the inner suburbs in the case of the Liberals and the suburbs along the Sky Train route for the NDP although the Tories hold most ridings and are competitive in the few they didn't win.  The City of Vancouver proper tilts more to the left and thus the Tories haven't won a seat in the city proper since 1988, but after a near win in Vancouver South last time around, they are hoping to end their drought in the city proper and also win seats in addition to the NDP and Liberals who already hold seats here. 

Solid Conservative: Prince George-Peace River, Cariboo-Prince George, Okanagan-Shuswap, Kootenay-Columbia, Okanagan-Coquihalla, Kelowna-Lake Country, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam, Delta-Richmond East, South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon.

Likely or lean Conservative

Kamloops-Thomspon-Cariboo - The City of Kamloops is split between the more affluent areas south of the Thompson river that favour the Tories and the more working class area north of the river that favour the NDP.  But with the rural areas being generally Conservative, the Conservatives have an edge although their margins have generally been less than other Interior ridings and a strong NDP showing in BC could put this in jeopardy.

Nanaimo-Alberni - Once an NDP stronghold but with the population decline in resource towns such as Port Alberni and growth of retirees stretching from the northern end of Nanaimo to Qualicum Beach, this now favours the Tories and would only go NDP in the event of a major Tory decline in BC. 

Saanich-Gulf Islands - With Elizabeth May running here, the Green Party may have a shot at their first seat in parliament ever.  The problem is more people live in the Northern suburbs on the island than the Gulf Islands and the Northern suburbs are fairly centre-right unlike the Gulf Islands thus advantage Tories. 

North Vancouver - A very tight race in the past three elections but much of that had to do with Don Bell's personal popularity.  With him not running again, I think the advantage is heavily tilted in favour of the Tories.  Only if the Liberals make strong gains in BC will they have a shot at this.

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission - In 2004 and 2006, the Tories beat out the NDP by a relatively small margin but won by a large margin in 2008.  Over 90% chance of staying Tory, but considering the unpredictability of BC, an NDP upset is possible but unlikely.

Richmond - Went Liberal in 1993, 1997, 2004, and 2006 but thanks to the strong Tory inroads amongst the Chinese community they easily won it in 2008.  Unless the Liberals can somehow re-connect with the Chinese community who are generally centre-right considering Richmond includes three of the safest BC Liberal ridings (The BC Liberals are more of a conservative than Liberal party although include members from both) this should stay Tory.

Fleetwood-Port Kells - The Tory support is not particularly strong here, but rather neither the NDP or the Liberals are strong enough to knock them off on their own.  Each have their areas of support but unless the centre-left vote heavily unites behind one of the two parties the Tories should hold this.  Besides this area leans towards the centre-right BC Liberals provincially meaning some Liberals probably have the Tories rather than NDP as their second choice.

Toss-ups or too close to call Tory held ridings.

Vancouver Island North - A tight NDP-Tory race in the past two elections and should be again.  The Tories are strong in the retirement communities in the southern parts of the ridings while the NDP more in the resource ones to the North.  Who can do a better job of getting their voters out will win.

Surrey North - This is normally a solid NDP riding as they got over 70% in the last provincial election in this area and Penny Priddy won by 18% in the 2006 federal election but Donna Cadman won for the Tories largely based on the popularity of her late husband Chuck Cadman.  Considering the closeness last time around and Cadman's low key profile should be a close race and if the Tories lose any Lower Mainland ridings, it would probably be here.

NDP ridings.

They will definitely win Vancouver East and unless something totally unpredictable happens I suspect they will aslo win Nanaimo-Cowichan, Victoria, and Burnaby-New Westminster.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley and British Columbia Southern Interior will probably stay NDP considering they won by over 10% last time around, but the Tories do have their strengths, especially in the interior parts of SBV and the western parts of BCSI so a weak turnout by the NDP voters and strong one by the Tories could flip this, but otherwise should stay NDP. 

Vancouver-Kingsway - Went Liberal in the past, but after David Emerson's defection to the Tories this left a sour taste in many's mouths.  The NDP vote has consistently been around 35% give or take a few percentage points, the main difference in 2008 is the Tories made strong gains largely at the expense of the Liberals.  This riding has a large Chinese and Filipino population who the Tories have aggressively targeted.  The Tories have no chance at winning this, but if the Liberals wish to win this they need to convince traditional Liberal voters who switched from the Liberals to the Tories to come back to the Liberals which won't be easy. 

New Westminster-Coquitlam and Burnaby-Douglas are likely to be tight NDP-Tory battles.  The Liberals have no chance at winning but they could play the spoiler role.  Both ridings have large ethnic communities who have traditionally voted Liberal but many switched to the Tories last time around.  Further Tory gains amongst ethnic voters would help them take these two ridings while the Liberals regaining some of the lost ethnic votes would make these two safer for the NDP.  At this point too close to call although New Westminster-Coquitlam has a slight NDP tilt while Burnaby-Douglas is a 50/50 chance in terms of winning. 

Liberal ridings

Vancouver Centre is probably the safest of the five Liberal ridings since although not a very strong Liberal riding, its demographics are even less favourable to other parties.  The high end condos in Yaletown and Coal Harbour aren't favourable to the NDP while the large Gay population in the West End won't help the Tories thus the Liberals may very well get under 40% but will probably still win due to the simple fact they have support in all parts of the riding and amongst all groups. 

Vancouver-Quadra - An affluent riding, but includes the left leaning Kitsilano and the university thus unless the Greens and NDP siphon off a large number of votes, it should stay Liberal.  The Tories have a ceiling under 40% thus without a strong split on the centre-left they cannot win this. 

Newton-North Delta - A three way race with the edge to the Liberals followed by the Tories and then NDP.  This riding has the largest South Asian population in Canada and although they tend to favour the Liberals, the Tories have aggressively targeted this group while the NDP provincially has done well amongst South Asians thus gains by either of these parties could increase their chance of winning this riding. 

Vancouver South - With a 22 vote gap, this will be one to watch.  70% are immigrants and visible minorities who traditionally went Liberal, but the Tories have made strong gains amongst.  The Chinese are the largest who the Tories have gained significantly amongst, but this riding also has a large East Indian population who they've made less inroads amongst and generally have a higher voter turnout.  Despite this, the Tories could still win this and lose seats nationally and likewise a Tory majority nationally does not mean a win here as BC has a long history of bucking the national trend. 

Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca - A Keith Martin riding not a Liberal one.  In fact prior to 2004, the last time they won this was in 1968 during Trudeaumania.  This should be an NDP-Tory battleground as the Tories almost won last time around, but in 2004 and 2006 the main challenge came from the NDP as well as this is a strong NDP area provincially.  It will come down to whom has the better turnout and also where do the Keith Martin personal votes migrate to.


Yukon - Likely Liberal

Party label is less of an issue than individual candidate.  Incumbents are rarely turfed thus why it stays with one party for long periods be it PC from 1957-1987, NDP from 1987-2000 and Liberals from 2000-present.  The Tories are hoping the strong opposition to the gun registry will put them over the top, but I suspect Larry Bagnell's personal popularity even if most in the riding disagree with him on this issue will allow him to hold this one.

Western Arctic - Three way race with very slight edge to the NDP

Ideology and party label are largely irrelevant in this riding, people generally vote based on who is the best candidate.  The NDP have the incumbent advantage but the Liberals have former premier Joe Handley and the Tories have former provincial cabinet minister Susan Lee.  Expect a tight race with any of the three having a decent shot at winning. 

Nunavut - Likely Conservative

It was a three way race last time around, but like other Northern ridings, people vote based on candidate, not party label or the ideology of the party.  With neither the NDP or the Liberals having a well known candidate at the moment and the fact their MP is minister of health, it should go Tory unless the Liberals and NDP can recruit some star candidate who is quite popular.  Add to the fact this riding is often ignored thus having someone on the government side is preferable for many over the opposition benches and at this point it looks highly likely that the Tories will win federally.

Anyways here is a summary of results.

Solidy Tory 92 seats, likely Tory 129 seats, win all their toss ups 161 seats, Highest possible 188 seats, so this gives an average of 145 seats meaning a solid minority but still short of a majority although a majority is more likely than losing at this point but they still could lose if they make a major blunder.

For the Liberals, solid Liberal 39 seats (ouch if your a Liberal), likely Liberal 59 seats, win all their toss up seats 89 seats and highest possible 130 seats.  So a Liberal minority is possible but they have to win all their toss ups plus some of the likely wins for other parties.

Bloc Quebecois: Solid Bloc 39 seats, likely Bloc 44 seats, win all their toss ups 55 seats, and highest possible is 62 seats thus their results are probably the most predictable of all parties, despite the volatility in Quebec.  Not likely to break their 49% they got in 1993 and 2004, but could break the 54 seats they won in both elections. 

NDP: Solid NDP 11 seats, likely NDP 23 seats, win all their toss ups 44 seats and highest possible is 58 seats.  No chance of them winning the election, but the could break Ed Broadbent's 1988 record of 43 seats and under a perfect scenario form the official opposition (although I would say there is less than a 1% chance of this happening).  The absolute worse case scenario which is highly improbable has them falling below 12 seats and losing their official party status.

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