Monday, 28 March 2011

First election predictions - Atlantic Canada

It is still early in the election and a lot can change between now and election day.  So this below looks at what seats each party has locked up and for the battlegrounds who has the edge and what are the chances.  This is meant as a starting point and each Monday I will update this based on changes that occur.  What I don't update is where no change has happened.

Newfoundland & Labrador

Last election, the Liberals won 6 seats and the NDP one seat.  Of the four seats off the Avalon peninsula (Labrador, Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte, Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor, Random-Burin-St. George's) these have long been Liberal strongholds with few exceptions and although I expect the Tories to do better than in 2008, I still expect the Liberals to easily hold these four.  In Avalon, the Liberals picked this up due to William's ABC Campaign, but with Danny Williams no longer premier and the desire to at least have one member on the side of government this is likely to a be another battleground.  At the moment, I would give the Liberals the edge, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Tories retake this.  For St. John's South-Mount Pearl, this was a traditional Tory seat, but last time around was a tight NDP-Liberal fight.  No doubt the NDP will have their eyes on this, but with the Tories set to run former provincial cabinet minister Loyola Sullivan and many ex-Tories who switched due to the ABC campaign, the Tories could also be a factor, although I still think an NDP or Liberal win far more likely, nevertheless I expect the Tories to do much better than the dismal 12% they got last time around.  In St. John's East, this may have once been a Tory stronghold, but Jack Harris has enough popularity that I expect this to stay NDP.

Nova Scotia

In the last election, the Liberals won 5 seats, Tories 3 seats, NDP 2 seats, and one Independent.  In the case of the two Cape Breton ridings (Cape Breton-Canso and Sydney-Victoria), I expect the Liberals to easily hold these two while despite the Tory strength in Mainland Rural Nova Scotia, I expect the Liberals to also hold Kings-Hants, while they should hold Halifax West too.  Dartmouth-Cole Harbour leans Liberal, but an NDP pickup is possible here however.  For the Tories, I expect they will hold Central Nova and Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, while West Nova and South Shore-St. Margaret's are likely to be tough fights with the Liberals the main opponent in West Nova and the NDP in South Shore-St. Margaret's.  I would give the Tories a slight edge in both ridings, but this could easily change.  For the NDP, they should easily hold Sackville-Eastern Shore while Halifax favours the NDP but the sagging popularity of the provincial government could make this susceptible to a Liberal pickup.

Prince Edward Island

Last election, the Liberals took 3 seats, while the Tories won their first seat in PEI in over 20 years ending the long Tory drought on the island.  Cardigan should be an easy Liberal hold since their incumbent is running for re-election and they won by large margins last time around.  Charlottetown went solidly Liberal in the past three elections, but so did Egmont in 2004 and 2006 and like Egmont last election, the incumbent is retiring.  Now considering this one is more urban and includes much of the civil service, I believe it will be tougher for the Tories to take this, still I don't think the Liberals have a lock on it.  Leans Liberal, but not locked up.  Malpeque was a close one and considering that Wayne Easter has stepped on the Tories' toes several times, you can bet they will throw whatever they can at this riding to help ensure he gets defeated.  Nonetheless with the incumbency advantage and the slight Liberal tilt of this riding, he still stands a good chance at holding it, although it certainly could go Tory.  In Egmont, the Tories won by only 55 votes thus making it look like an easy Liberal target, but with their member Gail Shea being a cabinet minister and the fact many in PEI want at least one member on the government benches, especially if the Tories win a majority, I suspect she will hold her riding as long as the Tories remain well ahead in the polls nationally.  Off course if the Liberals close the gap, then its a whole different story in which case I suspect this would return to the Liberal fold.

New Brunswick

Last election, the Tories won 6 seats, Liberals 3 seats, and NDP one seat.  The three ridings they won in the 2006 (New Brunswick Southwest, Tobique-Mactaquac, Fundy-Royal) were won by last margins last time around and are largely rural, Anglophone, and Protestant which means solidly Tory.  Of the three pickups last time around, Fredericton is probably the least vulnerable while Miramichi being somewhat more vulnerable but still likely Tory, while Saint John is likely to a close match up as in the past two elections.  For the Liberals, Beausejour should be an easy hold, while Madawaska-Restigouche is somewhat vulnerable since despite its predominately Francophone demographics as Madawaska County has often voted Tory both provincially and federally never mind the Tories recruited Bernard Valcourt.  The problem for them is this riding is it seems to move more in line with the poll numbers in Quebec rather than Atlantic Canada where the Tories aren't doing so well, mind you neither are the Liberals too so that would suggest the results would be similiar to last time around.  Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe has traditionally been a Liberal stronghold but in the past three elections the Tories have chipped away at the advantage.  The maybe didn't get Bernard Lord to run which would have made this a sure fire win for the Tories, but that doesn't mean they cannot win it, it will just be more of a battle.  Acadie-Bathurst has gone solidly NDP in the past four elections and should as long as Yvon Godin is their MP.

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