Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Election oracle, part 4

Time is ticking: election day is here!

This is my last post before election night. Here are the remaining predictions for the five "nail-biters" I identified earlier.

Fort Garry

If the NDP and PC party were tied in the polls, I would definitely call Fort Garry for the Conservatives. Even if the NDP was 2% or 3% ahead, I'd predict a Tory victory. But the NDP are a lot more ahead. Add to that the greater name recognition of Kerri Irvin-Ross on the doorstep compared to four years ago, and you have a re-elected incumbent.

Prediction: NDP win


"Big Mac" Kevin Lamoureux, or K-Lam as I've seen him called elsewhere, is a tough candidate to beat. His name is recognized through the constituency and, despite his strange behaviour, he's built a certain measure of rapport with some of the local community. For him to lose, both the Conservatives and the NDP need to drain votes from the 53% he had last time (to the NDP's 43%).

For the Conservatives, it shouldn't be hard -- they earned only 4% last time (I think a raccoon running for office could draw at least 5%), which is down from their traditional 10% to 15% level. I think they'll recover somewhat, stealing back maybe 5% of 6% of their vote that went to K-Lam last time. The NDP will gain a few points, putting them neck-and-neck with the Liberals. I have to predict this one on gut-feeling: I think K-Lam wins by a hair.

Prediction: Liberal win

Kirkfield Park

First, I should correct an error I made in my earlier post when I implied that there wasn't a heated race for the Tory nomination. Candidate Chris Kozier did actually win the nomination against two other other candidates. Nevertheless, he is a rookie candidate and I would have expected to see someone with more established levels of support run to hold the seat for them.

The Tories still might pull it off, but with their chances down and with the full weight of the NDP's organizational machine in the constituency, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict a close victory for NDP candidate Sharon Blady.

Prediction: NDP win

La Verendrye

If you read my earlier post on this constituency, you'll see my summary of the many challenges facing the NDP in this constituency. It's enough for me to think that the Tories have a slight -- very slight -- edge.

Prediction: PC win

Brandon West

Brandon West will be reasonably close, but I think Scott Smith's 2003 margin is too wide for even well-known Rick Borotsik to overcome.

Prediction: NDP win

Prediction summary

As you can see, I'm predicting an NDP win in 35 seats to 20 for the Tories and 2 for the Liberals. Though I'm predicting a loss for the NDP in La Verendrye and a gain in Kirkfield Park, the seat totals are a carbon copy of those we saw in 2003.

Winnipeg seats: 24 NDP, 5 PC, 2 Lib
Non-Winnipeg seats: 11 NDP, 15 PC, 0 Lib
Total: 35 NDP, 20 PC, 2 Lib

What if...

If I'm a little off and the NDP actually add to their 35 seats, it will be utter devastation for Hugh McFadyen and the Tories. To widen the gulf between the two parties could even be too much for the Tories to get themselves into shape as serious contenders in 2011. The knives would be sharpened in the darkness of the Tory back rooms and McFadyen would emerge facing a fight more brutal than the one he just lost. That gets me thinking - all of Hugh's talk about Doer not being likely to stick around if re-elected may just come back to haunt him.

If I was overly generous to the NDP and they lose several seats while the Tories gain, the opposition will come out with a small victory in the sense that they'll have established themselves as something of a government-in-waiting. That'll put them in a much better position to recruit decent candidates, get themselves properly organized, and stoke up a mood for change among the electorate, all things they struggled to do this time around. It will also give McFadyen some more experience, including some of those statesperson-like wrinkles and grey hairs that come all too quickly to those in political careers.

Possible election night shockers
(this content rated R for frightening scenes)

Regardless of which way Fort Garry, La Verendrye, Inkster or other highly-watched close races go, no one will really be too shocked at the outcome in those seats because they could go either way. There are several constituencies, however, in which a dark horse candidate could emerge to win, much to the shock of election night onlookers.

Radisson: I doubt that Linda West, the perennial PC candidate in this part of town, will take this one. However, maybe we'll all be shocked and she'll do better than expected, snatching the seat from Bidhu Jha.

Dauphin-Roblin: The Tory candidate here could coast to a stunning upset by defeating Conservation Minister Stan Struthers. I personally doubt it, but the numbers suggest it could be close.

Portage La Prairie: The Tories should hold this seat easily, and I'm predicting they will. However, the NDP's Kostuchuk could pull off a surprise victory.

Assiniboia: Rondeau should sail to an easy victory in Assiniboia, but the little voices in the back of my head keep saying "what if! what if!"

River Heights: Looking at the numbers and the Tory candidate running here, this should be an easy Liberal win. But Liberal support in the province is very very soft. If it collapses, we could all be shocked to see Jon Gerrard go.


The author of this post accepts no responsibility for flus, colds, cancelled dates, or other unfortunate consequences resulting from excessive nail-biting and, in fact, strongly urges blog readers to refrain from biting their nails no matter what transpires on the evening of May 22.

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