Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The by-election results mean a Liberal majority

At least that is my conclusion considering how hard several of the critics of the Liberals tried to take the results of Monday night and turn them into bad news for the Liberals.

Editorials in the National Post, The Globe and Mail, several other Western newspapers, Greg Weston and Chantal Hebert all used very twisted logic today to try to argue that Monday's results were just short of a disaster for the Liberals and Mr. Dion.

Of course, to those uneducated in the minute details of politics a story where the Liberals won three of four contests would seem to mean they had a good night. So critics of the Liberals have to change that perception somehow and the ones I mentioned above used some pretty interesting logic to attempt just that.

Of course they focused on the results in BC and Saskatchewan and they either did not mention the Toronto ridings or they dismissed them. Rather intellectually dishonest if you ask me. But of course they were not going for intellectual honesty they were going for spin.

So lets take a look at the results of ALL of the by-elections and analyze what they mean for the next general election.

First of all, the Liberals crushed their opponents in the Ontario by-elections. That would seem to indicate that they have gained a great deal of momentum in Ontario. In addition both the Conservatives and the NDP did very poorly, with their vote being taken by the Greens. If we extrapolate, there is a very strong possibility that the Liberals are poised to garner at least 50% of the vote in Ontario. As well, when we factor in the rise of the Greens and their hijacking of the Conservative and NDP vote that creates the perfect conditions for many favourable splits. The result is probably a minimum of 90 seats for the Liberals and possibly a sweep of Chretien proportions. (100+).

Now lets take a look at the Maritimes. The Liberal support there is at the level where they are poised to take 30 of the 32 seats. So that is an additional 30 seats.

In Quebec the Liberal support is now at the level where they will double their seat count at a minimum. However, the Conservative strategy is to go after the same voters as the Bloc (soft nationalists) so they will be beating each other over the head. There are about a dozen ridings in Quebec were the Federalist and the Nationalists are pretty evenly split. So the division of the Nationalist vote between the Conservatives and the Bloc will allow the Liberals to come up the middle in many of those ridings. As a conservative estimate the Liberals will capture 30 seats.

So conservatively that is 90+30+30=150 seats. (Possibly 160+) So getting back to the "analysis" of the folks I mentioned above the Liberals are in a little trouble in the West. No one is suggesting that they are going to be shut out but they are suggesting that they will have difficulties. Looking at the by-election results the Liberals did lose support but they managed to hang on to half of the seats contested. Again extrapolating that to the whole of the West the Liberals will be able to pick up the seven seats necessary to get their majority (probably more). And even if they do not the results from Monday night would seem to indicate a breakthrough for the Greens so they could pick up enough seats to make the Liberals and Greens a majority in Parliament. That would present the Liberals and the Greens with the chance to form a formal coalition government. Ms. May and Mr. Dion have struck an informal alliance so I do not see it as a stretch for them to formalize it. Minister of the Environment, Elizabeth May. Just the thought of that is probably enough to make Stephen Harper blow a gasket.

So there you go folks. Looking at the results of Monday night as a whole the Liberals are poised to win at least a slim majority and possibly a comfortable one.

Of course the whole analysis above is unalterated BS. It is spin.

However, the assumptions I made to come up with it are just as valid as the assumptions of the folks I mentioned at the beginning of this post. There is as much truth in my spin as theirs.

As I stated in my last post, by-elections cannot be used to predict the voting patterns of the electorate in a general election. General elections and by-elections are like apples and oranges. They do not compare. Of course that fact does not stop people from trying but that does not mean you should take any of it seriously. (Including mine)


Blogger Torontonian Tired of Mediocrity said...

The fact that you said the newspaper analysis used twisted logic then said that Toronto by-elections show evidence of blowing away the Tories in Ontario is pretty rich.

Tories knew they were going to lose and didn't get out and vote in Toronto, so Bob and Martha won by "increased margins". Outside of Toronto, however, the results were disastrous.

I saw Chantal Hebert speak on byelection night (before the results were in) and she quite correctly called the Liberal party like it is: a Toronto party with Atlantic Canada and Montreal branch plants.

If you are going to shoot for the moon with a disaster like Dion, at least be realistic and say "close majority". No seats west of Ontario are safe for the Libs anymore. Enjoy!

March 19, 2008 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, ottlib, I don't think torontonian got it. Too much brain cell activity, I guess.

Good post.

March 19, 2008 10:37 PM  
Blogger Johnathon said...


March 19, 2008 11:08 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...


I guess tongue-in-cheek is lost on some people.

However I would point out to trontonian that 5 short years ago many of these same pundits were stating that the Conservative Party lead by Stephen Harper would never secure more than a handful of seats east of the Ontario/Manitoba border.

So I would not take too much solace in what the pundits are saying or in the current political dynamic. The pundits are wrong more often than they are right and political dynamics have a tendency to change unexpectently and dramatically.

johnathon, I am glad you found my post amusing.

March 20, 2008 9:56 AM  

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