Tories are a Sham, Grits hope to Rock
8:00 pm: Eight o'clock and the polls are now clos...what's that? Apparently, there is a concern that thousands of Vancouver Quadrans will log onto the net to see if Martha did or did not win, and will alter their vote accordingly. So, we've got - staggered voting!
Which means no results until 10 eastern....grrr....
So, log back on then. For now, based on exit polls and complicated statistical demographic projections, the Calgary Grit decision desk is ready to project that Bob Rae has been elected in Toronto Centre.
10:05 pm: With 3% of the polls reporting in Toronto Centre, Rae is running away with 59%. In second place are...the Greens! I kind of saw this one coming - walking down the streets today after work, there the green supporters were out in force...you could see their colours everywhere. Martha's up comfortably in Willowdale, while the Conservatives are solidly in front in Saskatchewan.
10:22 pm: Tracking against 2006 numbers, there's been about a 7-10% shift from Liberal to Conservative vote in Saskatchewan. Rae is up 6% on Bill Graham's totals, with a huge drop in NDP vote (to the Greens?). Martha has also increased the previous Liberal total and, once again, the NDP are down.
10:30 pm: Quadra is starting to roll in. And John Turner has a vote! Woo-hoo! Also, I think it bears mentioning that the Saskatchewan riding is very big geographically and things could shift if the aboriginal polls are the late ones coming in...but you've got to figure it's a CPC pickup. Oh, and the Greens are still second in Toronto Centre.
10:34 pm: I'm watching Newsnet now. Tim Powers says Martha isn't going to reach the 55% the Liberals got there last time...well, the latest numbers have her at 59%, compared to the 52% Peterson got last time. But, most baffling is the fact that Scott Reid still gets invited out to these panel shows...I mean, seriously?
10:39 pm: John Turner is up to 3 votes now. btw, the neorhino party has a very complex, if somewhat confusing, website.
For those wondering about turn-out, it's hard to tell since the smaller polls report first. But, at first glance, the turn-out is going to be abysmally bad, which is to be expected in a byelection.
10:49 pm: Interesting races:
-Quadra is neck and neck between Liberals and Tories right now for first (Libs up by 20 votes).
-The Greens and NDP are neck and neck everywhere except Saskatchewan.
-The Rhinos are beating Hellyer's Action Party by a 3 to 1 margin (6 votes to 2) in Quadra.
-Martha and Bob are fairly close to each other right now (Martha up by 0.7%), for bragging rights.
11:34 pm: Saskatchewan is looking like a blow-out...Libs might be able to blame it on Orchard but it's still an undeniably bad result. Joyce Murray is starting to pull away in Quadra, but this one will still be a drop in support from the last election.
You hate to take messages out of byelections because they're fairly meaningless when you get down to it, but seeing the Toronto blow-outs coupled with the problems out West, it just shows why the Liberal Party needs to build itself up in Western Canada.
So all in all, assuming they hold Quadra, not a great night for the Liberals (or the NDP for that mater), but far from disastrous and certainly not as damaging as Outremont. They will get three very strong MPs into the House and the end result 3 out of 4 is what most people were predicting.
UPDATE: The Liberals take Quadra by 110 votes. Eek! This from one of the few Western ridings that they held through the 80s. Full results here.