Monday, December 20, 2010

On Target

Via Jane Taber, comes a look at the Tory battle plan:

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have identified at least 190 ridings across the country – with roughly half of them in Ontario – in which they believe they will be “players” in an upcoming election.

Nearly 45 of those ridings are not currently held by the Conservatives. With 143 seats in the existing House of Commons, Mr. Harper would have a firm majority were he to secure his entire wish list when Canadians next go to the polls.


Taber goes on to list some of the ridings, but we're left to guess the complete list. So what ridings might be on it?

Well, I'm sure the Tories spent hundreds of hours pouring over polling data, local demographics and voter ID lists, and studying which candidates are and aren't running for each party. Me - I still have Christmas shopping to do, so I'm not going to spend more than 5 or 10 minutes on this, especially since I think Harper has a better shot at a record deal than a 190 seat majority.

So I took my last round of seat projections, and grabbed the top 45 ridings not currently held by the Tories - the model pegs the Tories with at least a 7% chance in each riding, so it's not unreasonable to target any of them. It probably doesn't match their list down to a T, but it should give a good sense of where team Tory is looking.

So what ridings might be on this top secret list?

Well, as Taber's article suggests, the bulk are in Ontario:

Atlantic Canada 8
Quebec 0
Ontario 20
Prairies 3
Alberta 1
BC 12
Territories 1

Among those Ontario seats, 8 can be found in the GTA: Mississauga South, Ajax-Pickering, Brampton-Springdale, Brampton West, Mississauga-Streetsville, Mississauga East-Cooksville, Bramalea-Gore-Malton, and Eglinton-Lawrence.

The most interesting split, however, comes when you look at who currently holds those 45 target seats:

Liberals 23
NDP 22

Yes, to reach that elusive majority, there are as many seats to be taken from the NDP, as from the Liberals. Which makes some sense, with the Dippers down from their 2008 election numbers everywhere in Canada except Quebec.

Which makes for an interesting dilemma. Traditionally, it's been in the Conservatives' best interest to have a strong NDP, since that drains the Liberal vote. But if there are Dipper seats to be won, the Tories may have to take a swing or two at Layton next election.

9 Comments:

  • So is the suggestion that NDP voters are going to pick Harper's Conservatives a s a second choice? Because I don't buy that.

    By Blogger Martin, at 12:01 AM  

  • Slightly off topic, but does Taber ever write any of her won stuff? It seems that all she ever does is regurgitate the talking points of whichever party's TPM she fancies that morning. Maybe someone could give Jane Taber the ability to write her own critical analysis for Christmas.

    As for on topic, rest assured that if Harper says he does not want an election, he really does. Not that I believe the posturing regarding their majority. It might induce some people to donate though...

    By Blogger Gayle, at 1:06 AM  

  • Martin,

    there are very many CPC/NDP ridings in the West in which the LPC is not at all competitive.

    And yes, many voters flip NDP/CPC. The rise of Reform in 1993 took a great many ridings away from the NDP. It's all about fighting for the little man against those people in far-away Ottawa.

    This one, for example.

    I'm sorry if that violates your quaint poli-sci 101 view of how politics works, but out in the real world that's how it looks.

    By Anonymous VanCentre, at 2:52 AM  

  • Martin - it's not even always a case of CPC and NDP voters fliping back and forth (though some do that)...it's just that there are a lot of ridings that are close CPC/NDP races.

    I remember I did a rough analysis back in 2004 or 2006 about Martin's plea to encourage NDP voters to vote Liberal to stop Harper and the net result was that if votes changed uniformly across the country, a move like that didn't really hurt Harper. He lost a few more seats to the Liberals but gained some back in those NDP-CPC races out west.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:46 AM  

  • I see your points. Makes sense now.

    By Blogger Martin, at 9:48 AM  

  • If gaining 45 seats requires attacking two parties, and gaining 10 seats is all you need for a majority, and only requires attacking one party, I think it's a safe bet the Conservatives will opt for the latter.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:24 AM  

  • The West gave PET-Liberals in 1968 one shot. They blew it.
    Since than it has been a wasteland.

    The Conscription Crisis did the same thing to the Conservatives in Quebec with Laurier Liberals.

    Stuff happens.

    Ontario-QC gave Liberals last majority with a split demoralized right parties. The PC's got wiped out for pandering to QC too much.

    It is not inconceivable for rest of Canada to add another 10-15 seats to the CPC?

    (It is for those dependent at the tax payers trough)

    Pundits are pointing to ridings with a 5% margin? Nothing new.

    The facts are plain. Liberals are down in fundraising from 9 to under six million. Momentum of Ignatieff led Liberals is 14% or 1/7 December 2008-2009.
    Name calling, chasing fake issues and citing end of Canada won't change the facts on the ground.

    Senior Liberals are not helping Ignatieff? Provincial Liberal Premiers are toxic.

    Raising taxes for more collectivist ideology has lost in Europe and the United States.

    Regular people are turning away from those politicians who cite "social justice", lift all boats gospel.

    Personal responsibility and liberty is pushing back. The redistribution of wealth polemics are losing influence in the public domain.

    This is bigger than the CPC or our PM or Canada.

    The world is shifting to the right. The Liberals are repeating the 1990's campaign strategy by stealing NDP policy.

    You tube and radio media buys won't cut it.
    Rising costs of living, taxes, jobs are the issues.

    Expanding government welfare policies is out of tune. We are not buying the "free lunch" from the taxing the rich argument.

    You can thank the Liberal Premiers in power for the last several years in BC, Ontario, QC and NB.

    By Blogger CanadianSense, at 11:44 AM  

  • Anon - you're probably right...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:02 PM  

  • Anon 11:24 - Path of least resistance. And also, I think Harper prefers a viable NDP to a viable LPC.

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 12:40 PM  

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