Monday, 28 March 2011

Ontario Predictions

In the last election, the Tories won 51 seats, Liberals 38 seats, NDP 17 seats.  Since then the Tories picked up on in a close by-election from the Liberals.  Ontario can be split in six regions by area codes.  The 416 was is mostly Liberal with a few NDP ridings near the waterfront and a few suburban ones the Tories might have a shot at if they win a majority, but I wouldn't surprised if they get shut out again.  The 905 belt is the big battleground with the Tories generally being more solid the further one gets from the city while the ridings closer to the city are the ones the Tories need to win if they want to get a majority while the outerlying suburbs are the ones the Liberals need to win if they wish to return to office.  The 705 area code is Central Ontario which is all Conservative and will probably stay that way.  The 519 is Southwestern Ontario is mostly Conservative but with a rural/urban split and places such as Kitchener, London, Guelph, and Brantford being your battlegrounds.  Windsor is solidly NDP and those are the two 519 ridings the Tories have no chance at winning.  Northern Ontario is an NDP-Liberal battlegound with the Liberals fighting to regain the ridings they lost due to opposition to the carbon tax last time around, while the Tories are hoping to improve on their two seats they already hold due to their opposition to the gun registry which is quite unpopular in Northern Ontario, nevertheless in all but one, they have a rather steep hill to climb.  The 613 is Eastern Ontario and this has been the base of where the Tories have expanded their support in Ontario.  In 2000, the Canadian Alliance won 2 seats in Ontario, both in this region; in 2004 the Tories got above 50% in three ridings in Ontario, also all in this region, while 6 of the 7 ridings where the Tories got over 50% in 2006 where here and 7 of 10 ridings they got above 55% were here.  Otherwise most of these are staunchly Tory, nonetheless, urban Ottawa and Kingston tilt more the left where the Liberals and NDP have won some seats.


Solid Conservative: Durham, Whitby-Oshawa, York-Simcoe, Burlington, Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, Niagara West-Glanbrook, St. Catherines, Niagara Falls, Simcoe North, Barrie, Dufferin-Caledon, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, Wellington-Halton Hills, Kitchener-Conestoga, Cambridge, Perth-Wellington, Oxford, Huron-Burce, Elgin-Middlesex-London, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, Chatham-Kent-Essex, Sarnia-Lambton, Parry Sound-Muskoka, Renfrew-Nippissing-Pembroke, Carleton-Mississippi Mills, Nepean-Carleton, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, Leeds-Grenville, Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, Prince Edward-Hastings, Northumberland-Quinte West (32 seats)

Likely Conservative:

In the 905 belt, barring a major blunder the Tories should hold both Newmarket-Aurora and Halton.

Simcoe-Grey could be an interesting depending on the Guergis effect but I doubt she will split the vote enough for the Liberals to win or win it herself, but rather the Tories will win it with a much smaller percentage of the vote.

Haldimand-Norfolk - a very long shot, but considering it is held by the Tories provincially and was won in 2004, I think a Liberal win is quite unlikely.

Essex - Although its close proximity to Windsor does somewhat weaken Tory support as well as the Liberals + NDP would easily surpass them assuming every voter who voted for one would favour the other, still barring some major change in the polls it should stay Tory.

Ottawa West-Nepean - Although Baird only won by nine points, in 2004 the Tories came up only two points short suggesting they have a floor of 38-40% while a ceiling of 50% thus they will probably win, but not by massive margins.

Glengarry-Prescott-Russell - Due its Francophone majority, it is one of the few rural ridings the Liberals have an outside chance of winning, but the trend has been heavily in the Conservatives favour despite the fact this was once one of the safest Liberal ridings in the country.  The Tories run even amongst Francophones and their massive margins amongst the Anglophones make it difficult for the Liberals.

Peterborough - Generally a bellwether riding, but with a 16 margin to overcome, the university being out of session, this is a long shot.  In fact a Liberal national win is probably more likely than this going Liberal and the last time it elected an opposition member was 1980 and this was a Conservative.

Lean Conservative

In the 905 belt, Oakville and Thornhill favour the Tories but if the Liberals get some strong momentum an upset is possible.

Oshawa - A Consevative-NDP battle but with most of the growth on the Eastern and Northern sections which are mostly upper middle class suburban families as opposed to the inner core which is more your blue collar union workers, the trend is generally in favour of the Conservatives.  And they usually get around 2-3% above the Ontario average so if the Tories are polling in the low 40s in Ontario pretty tough to beat them regardless of how well the NDP does.

Brant - After favouring centre-left parties for over 50 years it turned to the right in 2008, but when one considers the Tories almost won this in 2004 and 2006, hardly a Liberal stronghold it once was.  Brantford is pretty evenly split, while the 25% who live in the rural sections will likely go strongly Tory, so lean Tory, but a Liberal win under the right conditions is possible.

Kenora - Long an NDP-Liberal battleground, the Tories pulled off a first win in over 75 years in 2008.  It could go either NDP or Liberal if there is a strong turnout amongst aboriginal voters who make up 1/3 of the riding, but with many of the reserves only accesible by air, turnout is often quite low and the Tories are stongest in the southern parts.  Also the unpopularity of the gun registry maybe the Tories best weapon to keep this riding which is deeply unpopular here. 

Ottawa-Orleans - In the past three elections, this has been surprisingly close and has not shown the big swings other ridings have.  Due to its large Francophone minority it use to be staunchly Liberal but now leans Tory but if the Liberals do make any gains in the 613 area code, this would be their best hope.

The Battleground Tory held ridings

Both Oak Ridges-Markham and Mississauga-Erindale were narrowly won by the Tories last time around.  If they hope to get a majority they need to expand and pick up other close ones while if the Liberals even want to weaken the Tory minority let alone win, these are must wins.  Favours the Tories based on the current polls, but this could easily change in their Liberals favour so too close to call. 

Kitchener Centre and Kitchener-Waterloo were big time upsets against two long-time Liberal incumbents.  If the Liberals make any gains in Ontario, it would be these two.  Likewise with the Tories only getting 36%, a weakening of the NDP and Green vote could cost them the riding even if their share of the popular vote remains the same or increases slightly.  They really need to crack the 40% mark if they wish to ensure this stays with them.

London West - Also another close battle in the urban 519 but a bit more favourable for the Tories than the two Kitchener ridings, but still a close race.


Safe Liberal ridings: Davenport, Toronto Centre, Don Valley East, Willowdale, St. Paul's, York South-Weston, York West, Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Ignatieff's riding), Etobicoke Centre, Etobicoke North, Scarborough Southwest, Scarborough Centre, Scarborough-Guildwood, Scarborough-Agincourt, Scarborough-Rouge River, Pickering-Scarborough East, Markham-Unionville, Mississauga-Brampton South, Mississauga East-Cooksville, Ottawa-Vanier (20 seats)

Likely Liberal:

Beaches-East York has been a riding that the NDP has normally been quite competitive in, but thanks to Maria Minna's popularity and left leaning views, this has stayed Liberal, but with their strength here a strong surge for the NDP and strong decline for the Liberals could flip this to the NDP although in terms of likelihood of going NDP, it would put this as the fourth most likely in Toronto.

Richmond Hill and Mississauga-Streetsville will probably stay Liberal unless the Tories make bigger than expected gains amongst ethnic voters which based on the results in 2008 cannot be ruled out.

Nippissing-Timiskaming has bucked the trend as the Liberals have increased their vote since 2004 and the Tories have declined, however the unpopularity of the gun registry could reverse this although probably not enough to hand it to the Tories.

Ottawa South - Despite its competiveness in 2004 and 2006, David McGuinty seems to have a high enough profile that barring a major meltdown he should keep it in the Liberal fold.  After Ottawa-Vanier, it is the safest Liberal seat outside the GTA in Ontario. 

Lean Liberal:

Bramelea-Gore-Malton is probably the least vulnerable of the three Brampton ridings but if the Tories can make strong inroads amongst South Asian voters, they could pull off a win here.

Guelph - With the university a fairly centre-left riding, however if the Tories can increase their vote to 33% and there is a strong split on the centre-left with the Greens and NDP, this could go Tory.

London North Centre - Unlike the other two ridings which tend to favour certain demographics and lean in one direction, this is a mix of everything thus why the Liberals do well, but when one considers they only won by 6% last time around and the Tories strong poll numbers now in Ontario, this could be vulnerable. 

The Battlegrounds

The Tories have been shut out of the 416 in the last three elections, but last time around came close and should they make a breakthrough, Don Valley West, Eglinton-Lawrence, and York Centre would be the most likely to fall in their favour.  Expect them to put a lot of effort into winning these.

Closer to downtown, Parkdale-High Park will be a close fight between two high profile candidates from the NDP and Liberals with the NDP fighting to retake the riding and the Liberals trying to hang on.

In the 905 belt, the Liberals will be fighting to retake Vaughan and the Tories to hold onto it after narrowly winning in a by-election.

Brampton-Springdale and Brampton West were won by extremely narrow margins and are definitely top of the list of Tory targets in the GTA and Ontario thus which way these go will be a good sign of whether we are heading for a Tory majority or minority and likewise if they aren't even close we might be talking about a Liberal win.

Mississauga South and Ajax-Pickering may be less diverse than the other 905 ridings, but are definitely tough battlegrounds as the Tories try to push towards the city and the Liberals try to push them back out towards the countryside.

Kingston & the Islands - With long-time incumbent Peter Miliken resigning and the fact the university is not in session, the Tories will be targeting this quite heavily trying to increase their dominance in Eastern Ontario, while the Liberals will fight to keep this in their column.

NDP ridings

Solid NDP: Toronto-Danforth, Hamilton Centre, Windsor-Tecumseh, Windsor West, Timmins-James Bay (5 seats)

Likely NDP:

Hamilton East-Stoney Creek - Favours the NDP although the Liberals generally tend to do well in Stoney Creek however being suburban in nature the Tories are also competitive here but weak in the Hamilton portion making it unwinneable for the Tories so the Liberals have to appeal to the soft NDP and Tory votes if they want to win which is an uphill battle.

Hamilton Mountain:  The Liberals are running a former Ontario MPP, the question is if the gain votes, will this come at the expense of the Tories as the Tories wouldn't have to up much to get 33% and a strong split on the centre-left could allow them to slip up the middle, nonetheless the Liberals and Tories could only win under ideal conditions thus favouring the NDP

London-Fanshawe - Favours the NDP, but a strong Tory uptick could flip this in their favour but a long shot.

Thunder Bay-Rainy River and Thunder Bay-Superior North favour the NDP however there is an outside chance of a Liberal win especially if any Tory gains on the gun registry issue come at the expense of the NDP.

Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing and Nickel Belt should go NDP barring a major decline in support in Northern Ontario.  If they do lose those ridings, it will be to the Liberals, not Conservatives.

Ottawa Centre - Favours NDP, but with its centre-left tilt you have a lot of Liberal-NDP swing votes and a left wing platform by the Liberals could help them there (albeit hurt them elsewhere).

Lean NDP:

Trinity-Spadina - The growth a high end apartments along the lakeshore favours the Liberals as well as a strong turnout amongst the Italian and Chinese community and to a lesser extent Portuguese community.  Nonetheless Olivia Chow being Jack Layton's wife probably helps the NDP.  Also a relatively young population helps the NDP so youth vote turnout also could make a difference.  NDP advantage but far from certain.

The Battlegrounds

Welland - A tight three way race and could go for any of the three parties.  The NDP do well in the heavily industrial urban areas of Welland, Port Colborne, and Thorold but have limited support elsewhere while the Tories almost won last time and tend to win big on the rural sections combined with a 25-30% in the built up areas.  The Liberals have previous incumbent John Maloney thus despite being the least likely party to win this, they still could win here.

Sudbury - If the Liberals regain any of their losses in Northern Ontario, this their best hope.  The Tories have no chance at winning this but could play the spoiler role depending on whether they gain or lose votes and from who.

Sault Ste. Marie - The Tories had a strong second place showing and with the opposition to the gun registry this could put them over the top in this centre-left riding.  The Liberals did well in 2004 and 2006 thus there is an outside chance of winning, but more likely they will play kingmaker if anything.

Tomorrow I will do the West and the three Northern ridings.  Although the majority are safe Tory ridings, there still are some battlegrounds in the West and even a few ridings in Winnipeg and Vancouver where the Tories will likely come in third.

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