Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Conversion: Libs sink in BC, Dippers target QC

This is interesting -- if true, we're talking about a complete meltdown of the Liberals in BC (as in possibly zero seats). Maybe Blair Wilson is far smarter than any pundits have given him credit for thus far.

regional polls being tracked at Paulitics also confirm the NDP Quebec surge being talked about by CTV/Globe and Mail (Strategic Counsel polls of its 45 identified swing ridings). Peter Donolo of Strategic Counsel credits effective ads and newly perceived relevance following the NDP's win last year in Outremont.

The NDP publicly claims it's in the running
in six to twelve seats in Quebec, but a smaller number of wins is more realistic, even if the poll numbers continue to improve. For those wondering about the most likely seats, they're as follows:

  • Outremont, which the NDP's Thomas Mulcair picked up in last fall's byelection. In 2006, this seat had the NDP's strongest Quebec result, at 18%. Some pundits say the Liberals are a threat to take the seat back given that they've dominated it since 1935, but that's highly unlikely given the huge margin of victory in the byelection, the fact that most Mulcair votes came from the Bloc, Mulcair's high profile as an MP since then, and the fact that the Outremont Liberals have barely got their campaign off the ground (in week three!).

  • Gatineau, where last election's narrowly defeated progressive Liberal MP, Francoise Boivin, is now running for the NDP. Jack has been in the riding at least twice so far this campaign (first time with the House of Commons in the background across the Ottawa River) and he'll likely be back. Dropping Bloc numbers and rising Con numbers in the province mean this is likely to be one of the few four-way races in the country.

  • Hull-Aylmer, which neighbours Gatineau, was the NDP's third-strongest 2006 Quebec showing (15%), and features Pierre Ducasse, a former NDP leadership contender, as candidate. Ducasse, considered a strong candidate, is taking on Marcel Proulx, a Liberal who won with only 33% of the vote in 2006.

  • Westmount-Ville Marie, which was called as a byelection that was then superceded by the general election. Running against Marc Garneau for the Liberals in this longtime safe Liberal seat is Anne Lagace-Dowson, a well-known CBC personality. She is considered to be in a close race in this riding, which includes not only well-off Westmount, but also more working class regions of Montreal.

  • Jeanne-Le Ber, a Montreal riding where Quebec Green Party co-founder and high-profile environmental activist Daniel Breton is running for the NDP. While this might be a longer shot for the party, the Bloc, who currently holds the riding, has begun shifting their focus to the NDP as their primary challenger.

Those are the five most likely Quebec NDP wins, though a few other Montreal seats are also in play to some degree. I'm currently predicting wins in only Outremont and Gatineau, though that could very well change from here to the end of the campaign.

The one seat that isn't being talked about much as a potential pick-up for the NDP is one of the poorest ridings in Canada and one in which the NDP had its second-best showing of any Quebec seat in 2006: Laurier-Ste. Marie, currently held by Gilles Duceppe. If the NDP were to double its support in this seat, as polls for the Montreal area suggest is about right, it would be a hair away from winning. While I think it an unlikely win for the NDP this time, a good showing will leave it ripe for the taking once Duceppe retires as many expect him to before the subsequent election.

Sometime soon, Prairie Topiary will once again host its election oracle, featuring wondrous and amazing predictions for the coming election. Stay tuned.

Photo: The interior of the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, the city where the NDP's Quebec strength is currently concentrated.


janfromthebruce said...

Great news update on Quebec New Democrats.

Anonymous said...

NDP get 10-14% of the vote in Quebec but will come out seatless.