Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ontario PC Vote Results

It's looking like a Hudak-Klees showdown on the third ballot, with the end result a mystery at this point. Here are the round 1 results:

Hudak 3512
Klees 3094
Elliott 2729
Hillier 1014

There is no realistic way Elliott will catch Klees (remember, this is votes, not delegates, so you won't have people switch their first preference), which means it will all come down to Hudak and Klees on the final ballot.

UPDATE: I'm out for the rest of the day, so check out Stephen Taylor for results. Assuming Hudak increases his lead on Klees (with a Hillier assist), Klees will need Elliott's second place votes to split about 60/40 in his favour to overtake Hudak on the final ballot. Not impossible by any means, so we could be in for a close finish.

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  • Will Ontario be in for a surpise..another Harris running..didn't we just get rid of him?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:13 p.m.  

  • Anon, lucky for us Tories, another Bob Rae is the Liberal incumbent.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 6:06 p.m.  

  • Congratulations Ontario Liberal Party, Hudak is the new leader of the PCs. I didn't think the PCs would do it, but you've now been virtually assured of at least one more government.

    By Anonymous The Riel One, at 6:18 p.m.  

  • Yes, the Riel One, because running a red Tory campaign worked so well for Larry Grossman, Harris mark I, Ernie Eves and John Tory.

    In post-1985 Ontario, the Tories need to polarize to win. ~45% of Ontario voted for Harris twice. A similar number voted for Harper in 2008. I don't see how Hudak is a guaranteed loser (especially given the economy).

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 7:00 a.m.  

  • The 45% that voted for Harris for the first time was not because he was polarizing but rather because he wasn't Rae or McLeod. Voters were angry at Rae in 1995, and McLeod screwed the Liberals chances by engineering a campaign strategy of flip-flopping key campaign issues (She was bad leader).

    Harris was rewarded with a second term because he earned the trust of the voters and was riding a wave good economic news, not to mention his American campaign experts.

    Harris also benefited from a Liberal government in Ottawa. Right now with Harper taking most of the hits on the economy, McGuinty has a pretty good cover and if you believe Polls is in a stronger position now than he was during the last election.

    Of course Hudak could benefit from a bad economy eventually, but he's a long way from proving to voters he's a better choice for Premier and has a strong enough bench to build a competent cabinet.

    Remember it took Mike Harris AND McGuinty one losing election before the voters trusted either with the reigns of Government.

    I'll grant you, the PCs gaining 5 points in polls to 36 - 37% could win them another 10 seats. That's still not enough to govern. 45% is reaching and no amount of chest thumping can change the fact the Mike Harris is still unpopular in voters minds. Being considered Mike Harris lite is not an asset.

    By Anonymous The Riel One, at 10:34 a.m.  

  • The fundamentals underlying 40+ years of Red Tory rule involved a particular regional configuration, and required that the NDP/CCF and Liberals split the vote. Even so it produced decreasingly big wins - often minority governments. With ten years out of power, the party also lost the credibility as a good centrist manager that had enabled people to pick them over the alternatives.

    Harris' victory was not just "weak leadership" on the part of McLeod (though she did suck). What is telling is how the composition of the Tory electorate changed, giving the party a new winning coalition, centered in the 905.

    You have to think of Ontario politics from a regional perspective. There are four regions with their own ideological slants.

    The North: socially conservative, fiscally liberal
    Urban Toronto (and Ottawa): socially and fiscally liberal
    Central/Eastern Ontario: fiscally and socially conservative
    the 905/southwest: fiscally conservative, socially liberal

    Obviously that doesn't describe every single part of the province (Hamilton, for instance). But it does display the problem with running a moderate Tory. You can win Ontario by sweeping the podunks and 905. You do it by appealing to naked suburban self-interest.

    The problem with the Bill Davis approach is that since Peterson, the Liberals have dominated the center ground. The special interest groups one would have to win over to say, win seats in Toronto, aren't just committed to whomever shares their ideology. They also have a preference for familiar faces. That is partly why the Red Tory strategy has often failed federally.

    Lets say the Ontario PC's ran with Christine Elliot. You mention that Harper is taking the brunt of blame for the bad economy. Do you think running the wife of the finance minister would change that?

    On top of that she proposed a ridiculous flat tax, has no experience, and more importantly lacks a particularly long record (while her husband is very right wing).

    Yet people seem to think Hudak stepped in a cow pie by adopting Hillier's position on human rights commissions. If you look at the mostly positive reaction to Ezra Levant's (not just from Tories) book I think there is a huge market for the position that we should have actual judges decide these things, not a kangaroo court that subsidizes plaintiffs.

    Oh and I suspect Harper will lose the next election, freeing up the talent and energy on the Ontario right to make a play at the provincial level.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 2:56 p.m.  

  • Okay. I'll bite.

    I happen to think the strongest candidate of the four running for the PCs would have been Klees. Despite CalGrit's classification of Klees as "boring," boring can sometimes win elections. I also think Klees has a compelling immigrant story that could have resonated on a populist level with some swing voters. His conservative credentials would have been enough to rally the true blue Tories and I think he would have had enough support with red Tories to hold party support together.

    I share your views of Elliot's weaknesses. She was too closely tied to her husbands fortunes.

    My questions for you based on your thorough analysis of the Ontario political regions (a well thought out analysis btw) is that I think you need to weigh the regions and I question if you have made accommodations for Ontario's rapidly changing demographics.

    For the sake of the argument, this is how I propose to weigh your 4 quadrants based on current political representation.

    A. North - Mostly Liberal and NDP - Not in play for the PCs
    11 seats
    approximately 7% of population and shrinking

    B. Urban Toronto/Ottawa - Mostly Liberal, some NDP and PC, For the most part not in play. Modest increase in PC support could help create a majority.
    30 seats
    approximately 41% of the population and growing

    C. Central/Eastern Ontario - Mostly PC. Will pad any victory.
    25 seats.
    approximately 22% of the population, holding steady to shrinking slightly

    D. The 905/Southwest - The swing area in my opinion. Where Harris built his majorities.
    29 seats
    approximately 39% of the population. The 905 growing. Southwest holding its own.

    The 905/Southwest region has the greatest seat growth potential for the PCs, however, the 905 and Southwest are different areas. I question Hudak's appeal in the modern day 905. The demographics of the 905 now don't really mirror the demographics of Harris 95 & 99 victories.

    Here's how I break down in the regions.

    Seats in play for the PCs.
    A. North 1 or 2 of 11 seats
    B. Urban Toronto/Ottawa 5 to 7 of 30 seats
    C. Central/ Eastern Ontario 20 to 24 of 29 seats
    D. The 905/Southwest 10 to 12 of of 29 seats.

    Ontario wide 36 to 45 seats in play for the PCs. Frankly I'm struggling to find where the PCs get another 9 seats to form a majority.

    From my perspective the biggest threat to the Ontario Liberals is from the left not the right. If centre-left voters become dis-interested in McGuinty/OLP and turn out in lower numbers or protest vote by supporting the NDP or Greens, I think the PCs could come to power. Lower vote totals in Urban Toronto/Ottawa could see a higher number of seats in play for the PCs in that region. And if the Green vote continues to climb in the 905 it will certainly begin to hurt the Liberals in some elections.

    In fact, I'll go so far as to suggest that any political strategy Hudak develops should also try to raise the relevancy of the Greens in an effort to hurt the NDP and Liberals in ridings where PCs are 5 - 10% from first place.

    I can't see how Hudak turns the swing areas Blue. Maybe I am vastly underestimating him.

    Frankly, I agree with you that the next federal election will see the Conservatives turned out. I suspect we could see a future PCO leader from the ranks the current CPC caucus and maybe Ontario will be tired enough of the Liberals to elect someone like Peter Braid in 2015.

    Where am I wrong in calculating a 2011 election?

    By Anonymous The Riel One, at 5:59 p.m.  

  • Sorry typo in one of the regions

    Here's how I break down in the regions.

    Seats in play for the PCs.
    A. North 1 or 2 of 11 seats
    B. Urban Toronto/Ottawa 5 to 7 of 30 seats
    C. Central/ Eastern Ontario 20 to 24 of 25 seats
    D. The 905/Southwest 10 to 12 of of 29 seats.

    Ontario wide 36 to 45 seats in play for the PCs. Frankly I'm struggling to find where the PCs get another 9 seats to form a majority.

    That's 25 not 29 seats in Central/Eastern Ontario.

    By Anonymous The Riel One, at 6:15 p.m.  

  • I actually agree that Klees could have been a strong choice. He would have his past position on two-tier healthcare against him, but that position doesn't seem to be as taboo as it once was. I am not sure his immigrant story has much in the way of legs though (and any Tory leader would likely have at their disposal the federal micro-targeting data and some benefits from Harper's new Canadian outreach).

    I think Hudak is the better choice, because he is young and has time to grow if necessary. He is likely to win a minority before a minority, if he wins at all (if you assumed a uniform swing - bad assumption, I know - the PC's would need an 8 point swing for a majority, 7 for a minority). I would argue he has the least baggage too.

    He also has room to grow in a lot of places. McGuinty won more seats in Eastern Ontario, Southwestern Ontario and the 905. I think the Southwest may be especially open since its economy is in the worst shape (it faces a structural downturn, not just a recession).

    McGuinty's numbers look good now because he has no opposition. The NDP have an inexperienced leader and few seats, while the Tories spent the last two years in a civil war.

    I think there is a fairly strong case against McGuinty:

    McGuinty flunks the "are you better off than you were X years ago..." question. Under his watch, Ontario has become a poor province, and its key industry sputters (his policy solution is unpopular too). E-health tarnishes his government's reputation on ethics (which was never stellar, with all of his broken promises). It is really unclear that he has a strategy to avert Ontario's economic decline, and he can't point to any accomplishments.

    Frankly I think a "McLiar" campaign will flop. The better angle is to attack do-nothing Dalton.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 11:57 p.m.  

  • Gosh, there is so much effective material here!

    By Anonymous, at 8:46 a.m.  

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