Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Conservatives will probably win the election

In the final days of the election there are two important but contrary dynamics at work. The first dynamic is the incumbent advantage where alot of undecided voters decide to stick with the party already in power because they are the party in power and it was expected that they would win this election at the outset. The second dynamic is the strengthening of Liberal support as many progressives decide that they are the only ones that can replace the Conservatives so they switch their vote to them.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives will probably come out on top in this situation.

There are several reasons.
  1. They are leading at the moment so they have the advantage of not having to pick-up as much additional support as the Liberals to win the election.
  2. The desire for change in this country is not that strong so alot of Canadians will not care if the Conservatives continue to be the party in power.
  3. The Liberal surge is 7-10 days too late. Their current position in the polls should have been where they were before the debates. That would have given them a chance to overtake the Conservatives with enough time for the changing media narrative to sink in with Canadians.

So the only question will be what kind of government will be see on October 15?

That depends on how the two competing dynamics play out. The nightmare scenario is the incumbent advantage causes the maximum shift of support for the Conservatives while the progressive vote completely fails to coalesce around the Liberals. In that situation a slim Conservative majority government is possible.

However, I do not believe it is plausible. Unfortunately for the Conservatives the increasing economic crisis will probably hold them back. As well, it is likely that enough of the progressive vote will swing towards the Liberals to deny the Conservatives their much sought after majority.

So, I believe we will be stuck with another Conservative government on October 15. It will probably be another minority government but there is still the possibility that it will be a slim majority government.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your comments are insightful and honest. Some other bloggers decided this morning to wallow in a victory bath for some bizarre reason.

I think it might be closer, but you are probably correct. I wish the progressive vote could coalesce more, but I fear it probably won't.

October 09, 2008 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One last thought. I'm not so sure about your thoughts on the surge of support, though. I think if the liberal numbers had surged earlier, Harper would have been a much different player in the debates. And the nature of the debates would have been different. And I'm not sure how that would have played out.

As it is, I think Dion gained stature being himself and stating his case, without a lot of other subtext at play.

But who knows how it would have really been. You may be right.

October 09, 2008 11:29 AM  
Blogger ottlib said...


I believe you are talking about Jason Cherniak's post. I do not completely agree with his assessment. If the Conservatives only win a minority Mr. Harper is going to have a much more difficult time than his first government but he will still be their for the next election. The party in power cannot replace its leader when it only has a minority government. There is too much of a risk that the government could be defeated during the chaos of the leadership selection process. So, the Conservatives are stuck with Mr. Harper.

It is true the debates would have been different if the Liberals would have been closer going into them. However, I believe we would have seen an agrier and less in control Stephen Harper in that situation. He has been downright testy in the last few days.

Stephen Harper is at his best when he has no pressure on him. However, you put even a little pressure on him and things really go off the rails. That has been demonstrated more times than I can count in the past 5 years.

That is why I have been saying the Liberals should have found a way to put pressure on him from the beginning of this campaign.

It is too bad they waited until only about 10 days were left in the campaign to do so.

October 09, 2008 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was thinking of Jason's post. I like him, but some of his posts just throw me. I just can't figure out where he's coming from sometimes.

I agree with you completely on your last point. I seem to recall us both thinking and commenting the liberals should have come out strong confronting the conservatives on the many failures of his government, and his manner of government. There would still have been plenty of time to present policy and plans and another alternative. I feel the first two weeks were lost in many ways.

By the same token, I do have to give the Liberal campaign credit for the closing. I just wish the initial part of the campaign had been much more forceful in taking the fight to Harper (so to speak).

I do hope Harper doesn't get a majority, and I still fear that a bit. I'll frankly be relieved if it's only another minority. I've said that from day one.

Have a good day.

October 09, 2008 12:20 PM  

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