Monday, October 13, 2008

Election Oracle 2008: Atlantic Canada

In Atlantic Canada, the Tories were set for larger gains, but have slid in the last half of the campaign. While they are weak in Nova Scotia and face Danny Williams’s ABC campaign in Newfoundland and Labrador, they are likely to win additional seats in New Brunswick. The NDP is also very strong in the region, but may have difficulty translating the increased support into additional seats.

Newfoundland and Labrador

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Premier Danny Williams has led the ABC ("Anyone but Conservative") campaign against the federal Tories. Given Williams’s popularity, two of the three Conservative MPs for the province have opted not to run again. That leaves only the riding of Avalon, where I predict Conservative MP Fabian Manning will squeak through, despite the ABC campaign. In St. John’s, the NDP is running a strong campaign and will prevail in St. John’s East with former provincial leader Jack Harris as candidate. Though it's a close race, I predict the Liberals will take the city’s other riding, St. John’s West. The Liberals will clean up in the province’s remaining ridings.

2006 result: Con 3, Lib 4, NDP 0
2008 prediction: Con 1, Lib 5, NDP 1

Prince Edward Island

In PEI, the Liberals are likely to sail to victory in three ridings, but face a tough challenge in Egmont, the province’s fourth riding. There, former PEI Transportation Minister Gail Shea is attempting to win for the Conservatives and is ahead by several points, according to at least one riding poll. Nevertheless, I think the Liberals will hold this riding for yet another sweep of the province.

2006 result: Lib 4
2008 prediction: Lib 4

Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, the Conservatives are down several points, and up against Green leader Elizabeth May in Central Nova, former Conservative MP Bill Casey, who is running as an independent in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, and a number of strong NDP and Liberal candidates.

I predict a relatively easy hold for McKay in Central Nova and a tighter win for Gerald Keddy in South Shore-St. Margaret's against former NDP MP Gordon Earle. They Tories are likely to lose in close races against Bill Casey in the seat they formerly held and against Robert Thibault, the Liberal MP in West Nova who manages to offend someone every time he speaks.

The NDP are very strong and will easily retain their two seats. While they are putting on very impressive campaigns in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, Central Nova, and South Shore-St. Margaret's, I predict no additional seats. With their strength in areas such as Cape Breton, the Liberals will likely easily hold their remaining seats.

2006 result: Con 3, Lib 6, NDP 2, Ind 0
2008 prediction: Con 2, Lib 6, NDP 2, Ind 1

New Brunswick

New Brunswick is the Atlantic province where the Conservatives stand the greatest chance of gaining seats. They will likely win in Fredericton, where the Liberal incumbent is not running again, and the three-way race of Madawaska—Restigouche, where former NB cabinet minister Jean-Pierre Ouellet is running. Saint John, where incumbent Liberal Paul Zed is facing former Tory MLA Rodney Weston, is the hardest race to predict, but I’m going to call it for the Conservatives given the very narrow Liberal win in 2006 and the Tory history of the riding (remember Elsie Wayne?).

2006 result: Con 3, Lib 6, NDP 1
2008 prediction: Con 6, Lib 3, NDP 1

Atlantic Canada total

2006 result: Con 9, Lib 20, NDP 3, Ind 0
2008 prediction: Con 9, Lib 18, NDP 4, Ind 1

No comments: