Sunday, October 12, 2008

Election Oracle 2008

Prairie Topiary's Election Oracle is back!

I'll post detailed province-by-province predictions here on Monday afternoon after I take a glance at the last of Nanos's daily tracking polls.

This weekend's polls show the Conservatives recovering some of the points they lost to the Liberals in the past week. The Conservatives are still down significantly in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, while the NDP looks to be down a few points in BC. Nanos shows the NDP's numbers holding strong at 22% nationally, which is probably the highest they've been all campaign. I suspect that the NDP pretty much neutralized any strategic voting lure of the Liberals, though a decline in their numbers tomorrow might suggest otherwise.

Of course, accurate predictions require something more than just poll numbers. They have to include consideration of regional swings, the influence of "star" personalities and the added recognition factor that comes from being an incumbent, as well as the role of strong local organization and "top of mind" brand status (e.g., Greens are less "top of mind" and tend to worse than the polls suggest on election day, while the opposite is often the case for the Liberals). Anticipating last minute shifts in support can also be key.

I may yet change these numbers, but right now I'm predicting the following:

Conservative minority (141 seats)

Liberal Official Opposition (76 seats)

Bloc (49 seats)

NDP (40 seats)

Independent 2

Green 0

That's a notable increase in seats for the Conservatives and NDP at the expense of the Liberals. It's not inconceivable that the NDP could surpass its highest ever popular vote (20.4% in 1988) and seat count (it held 44 seats following a win in a 1989 byelection). Passing the Bloc to become the third largest party in the House might also be possible, but passing the Liberals is unlikely, as that could only come through a Liberal meltdown in Toronto and Atlantic Canada, two areas where Liberal numbers appear to have been strengthening in the last week.

Stay tuned for more details tomorrow.

Photo: A female bowl bearer or mboko from the Luba culture in the Congo. Traditionally, bowl bearers are used by royal diviners to predict the future.


Stimpson said...

Advance poll numbers indicate a low voter turnout. Back when I was involved in politics, low turnouts were good for the NDP (in Western Canada, at least) because of its ability to pull the vote on E-Day. I wonder if that's still true today.

Prairie Topiary said...

Interesting, but it makes sense. I wonder if that would be true in other parts of the country where the NDP has traditionally been weaker.

Media reports often describe higher voter turnout as helping the NDP, since those less likely to vote (e.g., students, low income voters) will often lean NDP. Maybe they have it wrong.