Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Three Nova Scotia provincial by-elections today

Today, there are three provincial by-elections being held in Nova Scotia following the death of one Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and the resignation of two others. These by-elections are the first electoral test of the new Liberal government in the province which was just swept to power in the 2013 provincial elections. The Liberals, under Premier Stephen McNeil, have enjoyed an elongated honeymoon since those elections, and have been polling at or above 50% ever since. However, the most recent budget in the province was seen as unpopular, which has resulted in the Liberals polling at “just” 50% in the most recent Corporate Research Associates poll released last month.

Two of the three by-elections are being held on Cape Breton Island, in the ridings of Cape Breton Centre and neighbouring Sydney-Whitney Pier. Both ridings elected New Democrats in 2013, two of just seven seats the party won in the election that saw the New Democratic Party swept from government into third place in the legislature. While this part of Cape Breton has a long history of sending New Democrats to the legislature, the party was likely buoyed the popularity of the two incumbents in those ridings; Frank Corbett in Cape Breton Centre and Gordie Gosse in Sydney-Whitney Pier. Both men were narrowly re-elected in the 2013 election after winning in landslide elections in the previous election in 2009. The third by-election is being held in Dartmouth South, and was triggered by the death of its MLA, Allan Rowe who was just elected for the first time in 2013.

Cape Breton Centre


Cape Breton Centre is named for its central location within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM), formerly Cape Breton County. It sits between the two main hubs of the CBRM: Sydney on the southwest and Glace Bay on the east. The riding is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by Sydney Harbour. The southern boundary follows an irregular line south of the communities along Highway 4. About two-fifths of the riding lives in the largest community in the riding, New Waterford, which is situated on the Atlantic Coast. New Waterford was formerly an incorporated town before the amalgamation of Cape Breton County into the CBRM in 1995. The riding is home to one more formerly incorporated town, Dominion, which is located on the eastern border of the riding on Indian Bay.


Cape Breton Centre is a riding that has been in a steady economic decline since the 1960s. The riding is marked by its coal mining history, which can be recalled by some of the community names in the riding like “Reserve Mines”, “Gardiner Mines” and “Victoria Mines”. However, the last mine closed in the riding about 15 years ago. Much of the younger people in the riding have left for better economic prospects, leaving behind an older population (the median age of New Waterford is 48).

Owing to the coal mining industry in this riding, the NDP, and its predecessor the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), has a long history of winning here. It was occasionally the only riding in the entire province to vote NDP. It first voted CCF in 1939, and was represented by them and the NDP until 1963. The riding again voted NDP for a time in the 1970s and has been represented by Frank Corbett's since 1998. The Tories last held the riding in the 1980s, while the Liberals last held the riding from 1988 to 1998. Since 1990, most of the races in this district were between the Liberals and the NDP, except for when the Tories placed second in 2006, thanks to their leader at the time being from Cape Breton. When the NDP formed government in 2009, Corbett won the seat in a landslide, winning 80% of the vote. The NDP government proved to be very unpopular in the province, which nearly forced Corbett from office. However, he managed to retain the seat in 2013, defeating his Liberal opponent by just 138 votes.

MLAs (since 1925):

G.S. Harrington & Jos. MacDonald, Lib.-Cons. (1925-1933) [dual member district]
M. Dwyer, Liberal (1933-1939)
D. MacDonald, CCF (1939-1945)
M.J. MacDonald, CCF/NDP (1945-1963)
M.A. Laffin, Prog. Cons. (1963-1974)
J. MacEachern, NDP (1974-1981)
M.A. Lafflin, Prog. Cons. (1981-1988) 2nd time
J.W. Connors, Liberal (1988-1989)
R.F. MacNeil, Liberal (1989-1998)
F. Corbett, NDP (1998-2015)

Political geography

The 2013 election saw a close race between the Liberals and NDP. In most communities, neither party won a majority of the vote. Only in Grand Lake Road, in the far south of the riding did either of the parties do so, with the Liberals winning 52.5% of the vote there. The NDP's best community was South Bar, on the west coast of the riding, where they won 49.5% of the vote. The riding's largest community, New Waterford was near evenly split, with its west side backing the Liberal candidate, and the east side backing the NDP. In 2013, the Liberals tended to do better in the south of the riding, which had been redistributed into the riding prior to the election from Cape Breton Nova. People there may have been less familiar with the NDP incumbent, and were therefore may have been more likely to back the Liberals. However, South Bar was also redistributed into the riding, and was the NDP's best community in the riding. In 2009, the NDP swept every single poll in the riding, including the polls that were in Cape Breton Nova at the time.

2013 election results by community

Federally, Cape Breton Centre is split between the ridings of Sydney—Victoria (New Waterford area) and Cape Breton—Canso (Dominion area). While both ridings have been held by the Liberals since 2000, the NDP has enjoyed some success in the Cape Breton Centre area. The New Democrats routinely win a number of polls in New Waterford, and sometimes win outside the community as well. However, the Liberals usually win most of the polls in the region. In 2011, the Conservatives were competitive in Sydney—Victoria, and for the first time since their merger, won a handful of polls in Cape Breton Centre, specifically in the New Waterford area.


The NDP has been without an official leader since former Premier Darrell Dexter resigned following the 2013 election loss. Since then, the party has been led Maureen MacDonald. The currently leaderless NDP is polling at about the same percentage as what they won in 2013, while the Liberals are polling slightly higher, but are trending downwards since the unpopular budget came out. Federally, the Liberals are polling quite well in Nova Scotia, but are now trending downward, while the NDP is trending up. Polling alone paints a close race in this seat, which means it will come down to who the candidates are. While Corbett was able to get re-elected in 2013 thanks to his personal popularity, the NDP does have historical strength in this seat, which may give them somewhat of an advantage.

Running for the NDP is administrative support employee Tammy Martin, while the Liberals are running businessman David Wilton who ran against Corbett in 2013. The Tory sacrificial lamb is Edna Lee, who also ran in 2013, winning just 11% of the vote. While the NDP may still win the seat due to their history in the area, the Liberals probably have the edge in the district, as the government still remains somewhat popular, while the NDP is still rebuilding from their 2013 defeat. Wilton only needs a 1.05% two-party swing to gain this seat for the Liberals.

Dartmouth South


This riding contains the southern end of Dartmouth, located across Halifax Harbour from the provincial capital of Halifax. The riding contains Dartmouth's downtown in the north of the riding and extends north to Lake Banook, and is bounded on the northeast and south by the Circumferential Highway and on the west by Halifax Harbour. The riding extends beyond the Circumferential Highway to Morris Lake in the east to, adding in the neighbourhoods around Russell Lake. Not only does the riding contain Dartmouth's downtown, but it includes Dartmouth's southern suburbs like Southdale and Grahams Corner. Like most of Dartmouth, the riding is home to a number of lakes. In addition to the aforementioned lakes, it also includes Penhorn Lake, Oat Hill Lake and Maynard Lake. The entirety of the riding is located in the former city of Dartmouth, which amalgamated with the rest of Halifax County to form the Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996.


Dartmouth South has been won by all three parties in recent elections. The Liberals won it back for the first time in 19 years in 1993, but they lost the seat in the 1998 election to the NDP, when the NDP tied the Liberals in the province-wide seat count. However, the NDP only held it for a year, when the Tories picked it up in the 1999 provincial election. The Tories only held it for one term until the New Democrats took it back in 2003 (under the new riding name of “Dartmouth South-Portland Valley”), and held it until the Liberals swept back to power in 2013. The Tories have not been competitive here since they lost the seat in 2006. In 2009, the NDP's Marilyn More won the seat easily over her Liberal opponent. She did not run again in 2013, and the Liberals' Allan Rowe defeated the NDP candidate by 1100 votes. This may not have been a horrible showing for the NDP in a riding with no incumbent in an election where they were decimated.

The riding was known as Dartmouth South-Portland Valley for the 2003, 2006 and 2009 elections. Owing to population growth in the riding thanks to new condo developments, the riding shrunk prior to the 2013 election (losing the Portland Hills area), and was re-named Dartmouth South.

MLAs (since 1933)

Halifax East
G.W. Stevens, Liberal (1933-1956)

Halifax County Dartmouth
G.W. Stevens, Liberal (1956-1960) continued
G.L.S. Hart, Liberal (1960-1963)
I.W. Akerley, Prog. Cons. (1963-1967)

Dartmouth South
I.W. Akerley, Prog. Cons. (1967-1970) continued
D.S. MacNutt, Liberal (1970-1974)
R.J. Thornhill, Prog. Cons. (1974-1993)
J.P. Savage, Liberal (1993-1998)
D. Chard, NDP (1998-1999)
T.A. Olive, Prog. Cons. (1999-2003)

Dartmouth South-Portland Valley
Ms. Marilyn More, NDP (2003-2013)

Dartmouth South
A. Rowe, Liberal (2013-2015)

Political geography

In the 2013 election, the Liberals won most of the riding, except for parts of Dartmouth's Downtown. However, they were only able to win a majority of the vote in one neighbourhood, the upper middle class area of Manor Park, which is the residential area between Penhorn Lake and Oat Hill Lake. The NDP only won one neighbourhood in the riding, that of Austenville, an area adjacent to the Downtown. There, they also won over 50% of the vote. The Tories did not win any polls, but they did finish ahead of the NDP in two neighbourhoods: Portland Estates and Russell Lake West. These two neighbourhoods surround Russell Lake, in the eastern part of the district. In 2009, the NDP swept all but two of the Dartmouth South polls, with the Liberals winning the two polls in Manor Park.

2013 election results by neighbourhood

Federally, Dartmouth South is located in the riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, which was won by the NDP's Robert Chisholm for the first time in 2011. Chisholm won most of the polls in Dartmouth South, but the Liberals did win in Grahams Corner, Manor Park and the area around Russell Lake. The Conservatives also won a poll near Russell Lake. Before Chisholm was elected, the Liberals held Dartmouth—Cole Harbour from 2004 to 2011. During this period they would typically win the neighbourhoods of Grahams Corner, Manor Park and the Russell Park area, while the NDP would win Southdale, Woodside North and parts of the Downtown.


Running for the Liberals in Dartmouth South is Tim Rissesco, the executive director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission. The NDP is running Marian Mancini, a retired legal aid lawyer and wife of former Sydney—Victoria MP Peter Mancini. The Tories are running their 2013 candidate again, businessman Gord Gamble. There is also an independent running, Charlene Gagnon an operations director.

With their 13-point win in 2013, the Liberals have to have the edge in winning the by-election in Dartmouth South. The NDP may put up a fight here, as it is a seat they have won before, but will need a strong ground game to make it close. Additionally, a collapsed PC vote will likely act to benefit the Liberals as the Tories did manage to win 18% of the vote here in 2013, and are unlikely to replicate that number. The NDP would need about a 7% two-party swing from the Liberals to take this seat, which is probably out of range given current polling numbers.

Sydney-Whitney Pier


Back on Cape Breton Island is the riding of Sidney-Whitney Pier, located adjacent to Cape Breton Centre. Sydney-Whitney Pier covers most of the community of Sydney, the largest population centre in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Sydney was an incorporated city until Cape Breton's amalgamation in 1995. Sydney-Whitney Pier also includes the small Membertou Mi'kmaq First Nation in the southeast corner of the riding. The riding name includes the community of Whitney Pier, which is still technically part of Sydney, but is separated from the rest of the community by Muggah Creek, a former site of a steel mill and the former site of Sydney's infamous Tar Ponds. In addition to Whitney Pier, the riding also includes the Sydney neighbourhoods of Ashby, Hardwood Hill, and the city's downtown.


Sydney has historically been divided between the ridings of Cape Breton Nova and Cape Breton South. The 2012 redistribution saw the redrawing of Cape Breton's ridings, and the doing away (except for Cape Breton Centre) with the vaguely named directionally named ridings in the region. Before the creation of Sydney-Whitney Pier, Sydney's downtown, south end and Hardwood Hill neighbourhood was in the riding of Cape Breton South, while Ashby and Whitney Pier were in oddly-named Cape Breton Nova riding. With the redistribution, a majority of both ridings would come to form the new Sydney-Whitney Pier riding, though more of Cape Breton Nova became Sydney-Whitney Pier.

From 1970 to 2003, Cape Breton Nova was the personal fiefdom of Paul MacEwan. He was first elected as a New Democrat in 1970 before forming the Cape Breton Labour Party and then eventually becoming a Liberal. In between parties, he served and was elected as an independent. No matter what his banner was, he continued to get re-elected in each election he ran in. He finally retired in 2003 when Gordie Gosse was first elected for the NDP, defeating the second place Liberal candidate by just 74 votes. Gosse was re-elected easily in 2006 and 2009. In 2013, he ran in Sydney-Whitney Pier in a close-ish race in which he defeated the Liberal candidate by over 500 votes. Meanwhile, Cape Breton South has been a reliable Liberal riding. The grits held the seat continuously between 1974 and 2013. Its last MLA, Manning MacDonald chose not to run in 2013. If he had, he could have made a race against Gosse much closer in the new riding.

Today, Sydney is trying to rebound from its industrial past, when it was a major steel and coal mining centre. The city has seen a population decline since the 1960s, and is suffering from the closing of its last steel mills and coal mines over a decade ago. Today, with the tar sands cleared up, the city is focusing more on tourism. Most people in the community work in the service and trade sectors.

MLAs (since 1933)

Cape Breton South
Prior to 1956, Cape Breton South covered all of Sydney. Cape Breton Nova would be created out of it in 1956.

G.S. Harrington, Cons. (1933-1937)
G.M. Morrison, Liberal (1937-1941)
D. MacDonald, CCF (1941-1945)
J.S. MacIvor, Liberal (1945-1956)
D.C. MacNeil, Prog. Cons. (1956-1970)
J.F. Burke, Prog. Cons. (1970-1974)
V.J. MacLean, Liberal (1974-1993)
Manning MacDonald, Liberal (1993-2013)

Cape Breton Nova
Percy Gaum, Prog. Cons. (1956-1970)
Paul MacEwan, NDP (1970-1980); Ind. (1980-1982); C.B. Labour (1982-1984); Ind. (1984-1990); Liberal (1990-2003)
G.L. Gosse, Jr., NDP (2003-2013)

Sydney-Whitney Pier
G.L. Gosse, Jr., NDP (2013-2015) continued

Political geography

Just from looking at the 2013 polling division map, you can tell where the former riding boundary between Cape Breton South and Cape Breton Nova was. The NDP's Gordie Gosse raked in large margins in the northern half of the riding, which was in his former district of Cape Breton Nova. He did especially well in his home community of Whitney Pier, where the won 75% of the vote, the strongest vote share for the NDP in any community. Meanwhile, the Liberals won the southern part of the riding which was in the Liberal-held riding of Cape Breton South. The strongest community for the Liberals was the Membertou First Nation, where they won 71% of the vote. In 2009, all of the Cape Breton Nova polls went NDP, while the Cape Breton South polls were more split between the Liberals and NDP. The NDP candidate actually won the Membertou First Nation and a cluster of polls in central Sydney, while the Liberals won much of the rest of the city.

2013 election results by neighbourhood

Federally, Sydney-Whitney Pier is in the riding of Sydney—Victoria, which has been has been held by Liberal MP Mark Eyking since 2000. The north-south divide is not just evident in provincial politics, and not just because of the former riding boundaries; it exists federally as well. Whitney Pier routinely backs NDP candidates, while the rest of Sydney usually backs Eyking. In 2011, the Conservatives won their first polls in Sydney, winning two in the south end, thanks to the strong candidacy of former MLA Cecil Clarke.


Gosse's popularity is quite evident if you look at the relatively low swing against him in 2013. The two-party swing between the 2009 transposed results and the 2013 election was just 7% to the Liberals, while province wide it was more than double this (18%). Without Gosse on the ballot, it will be much harder for the NDP to retain this seat.

The NDP candidate in Sydney-Whitney Pier is Madonna Doucette, the LGBT resource co-ordinator for the AIDS Coalition of Cape Breton. Former regional councillor Derek Mombourquette is once again the Liberal candidate, having previously run in 2013. Cape Breton Business College owner Brian MacArthur is the Tory candidate.

Mombourquette will only need a three point two-party swing from the NDP to win this district, which will not be insurmountable given recent polling, and without Gosse on the ballot. He has already run in this district, and already has experience as a politician. He may be helped by the fact that the NDP is running an activist in a riding that has more blue collar-roots. Based on math alone though, this seat is the most likely to be retained by the NDP, given the 5 point margin that Gosse won by in 2013.

For the NDP, it will be a big blow to lose any of their two Cape Breton seats. It will mean an even more decimated caucus, as they would be down to just five seats from the seven they won in 2013. Given the lower expectations, just holding both of them would be a win for the Dippers. For the Liberals, a win would be picking up either Cape Breton seat. In contrast, if they were to somehow lose Dartmouth South, it would be devastating for the Grits. And for the Tories, they really should have low expectations tonight. Their vote shares will likely go down in all three seats, so a win might be increasing their vote share in any seat.

As by-elections go, tonight should be an exciting night, with potentially three close races to watch. It will certainly be interesting to see what the pulse of Nova Scotia is at right now, so close to a federal election where there may be many Liberal vs. NDP races in the province. Also, turnout will be interesting to see, given how we are essentially in the middle of the summer. We'll see how it all shakes out when polls close at 8pm Atlantic (7pm Eastern).

Monday, June 8, 2015

Quebec by-elections today

Provincial by-elections will be held in two Quebec electoral districts today to replace two Quebec City-area Members of the National Assembly (MNA). The ridings being vacated are Chauveau, north of Quebec City and Jean-Talon, located in the city's west end. Chauveau was vacated in April when its MNA, Gerard Deltell of the centre-right Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) announced he would be running for the federal Conservatives in this fall's federal election. Jean-Talon was vacated when its MNA, Liberal Yves Bolduc resigned in February following controversy when he, in his capacity as the province's education minister defended a policy which allowed a school administrator in the city to strip search a 15 year old student.

While neither riding is held by the sovereigntist Parti Quebecois (PQ), it will be the first test for that party since its election of media mogul Pierre-Karl Peladeau as leader in May. Despite some considering his candidacy and media presence in the last provincial election as having cost the party the election, the PQ has seen a boost in the polls since Peladeau's election as leader. The PQ is now up eight or nine points since last year's general election, while the Liberals are down about 10 points, and the CAQ is down about three points. Both Chauveau and Jean-Talon are safe ridings for their respective parties, but a two-party Liberal to PQ swing of 10 points in Jean-Talon might put that riding into play.



Like many provincial ridings in Quebec, Chauveau is not named for its geography, rather it is named for a person, Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau, the first Premier of Quebec who also represented the region during his time in office. Applying a single geographic name to this riding would be challenging, as it covers a number of different communities north of Quebec City.

Most of the population of the riding lives in a number of suburban communities within the city limits of Quebec City. It contains most of the borough of La Haute-Saint-Charles (including the neighbourhoods of Loretteville, Saint-Emile and Lac-Saint-Charles) as well as the neighbourhood of Note-Dame-des-Laurentides in the borough of Charlesbourg. The riding also contains the Wendake Indian Reserve, which is completely surrounded by La Haute-Saint-Charles borough. From the Quebec City suburbs in the south, the riding runs northwest into the Quebec hinterland, containing the municipalities of Lac-Beauport, Lac-Delage, Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury and the uninhabited Lac-Croche unorganized area, which makes up the northern two-thirds of the riding's geographic territory.


Chauveau is overwhelmingly Francophone, with 98.2% of its inhabitants having French as their mother tongue. Just 1.5% of the riding is Anglophone. The riding is also overwhelmingly White, with 97% of the riding having no visible minority nor are Aboriginal. 1.5% of the riding is Aboriginal, the second largest racial group in the riding. Ethnically, most of the riding is of French Canadian stock, while there are a handful of people of Irish descent. 87% of the riding is Catholic, while most of the rest of the population (10%) has no religion. The riding is more wealthy than the provincial average; the median income is $35,000 (opposed to the provincial median of $28,000) while the average income is $39,000 (compared to the provincial average of $36,000).


Being located in suburban Quebec City, Chauveau is much more conservative leaning than the rest of the province. Right of centre parties have held the riding continuously since 2007. While the riding supported the Yes side in the 1995 referendum by nine points, the riding's conservative leanings have allowed the Liberals to win here before the emergence of more right leaning parties in the last decade. Since 2007 though, it has been a safe ADQ/CAQ seat. The riding was one of only seven to vote for the ADQ in the 2008 provincial election.


Quebec-Comte (1867-1966)
1) P.-J.-O. Chauveau, Cons. (1867-1873)
2) Pierre Garneau, Cons. (1873-1878)
3) D.A. Ross, Liberal (1878-1881)
*) Pierre Garneau, Cons. (1881-1886), 2nd time
4) T.C. Casgrain, Cons. (1886-1890)
5) Chas. Fitzpatric, Liberal (1890-1896)
6) Nemese Garneau, Liberal (1897-1901)
7) C.F. Delage, Liberal (1901-1916)
8) Aurele Leclerc, Liberal (1916-1923)
9) Ludger Bastien, Cons. (1924-1927)
10) J.-E. Bedard, Liberal (1927-1935)
11) F. Byrne, Liberal (1935-1936)
12) Adolphe Marcoux, U.N. (1936-1939)
13) F.-X. Bouchard, Liberal (1939-1944)
14) Rene Chaloult, Independent (1944-1952)
15) J.-J. Bedard, Liberal (1952-1956)
16) Emilien Rochette, U.N. (1956-1960)
*) J.-J. Bedard, Liberal (1960-1966), 2nd time

Chauveau (1966-present)
17) F.-E. Mathieu, U.N. (1966-1970)
18) Andre Harvey, Liberal (1970-1973)
19) Bernard Lachapelle, Liberal (1973-1976)
20) Louis O'Neill, P.Q. (1976-1981)
21) R. Brouillet, P.Q. (1981-1985)
22) Remy Poulin, Liberal (1985-1994)
*) R. Brouillet, P.Q. (1994-2003), 2nd time
23) Ms. Sarah Perreault, Liberal (2003-2007)
24) Gilles Taillon, A.D.Q. (2007-2008)
25) Gerard Deltell, A.D.Q./C.A.Q. (2008-2015)

Political geography

In last year's provincial election, Deltell won the seat easily, by nearly 10,000 votes, winning 52% of the vote to the Liberal's 30%. If we just look at the election day votes, Deltell won every single polling division in the riding. In fact, he won a majority of the election day votes in every neighbourhood of the riding, winning as much as 62% in Saint-Emile, while his worst community was Lac-Beauport, where he still won 53% of the vote. The advance and special votes in the riding made the total election results closer. Deltell only won 42% of those votes, to the Liberal's 39%. The strongest community for the Liberals was the Wendake Indian Reserve, where they won 35% of the vote. The strongest area for the PQ was Lac-Delage where they won 20% of the vote. Lac-Dalage was also the best community for the left wing Quebec solidaire, where they won 8%.

The CAQ won every single poll in the riding in 2012 as well, when Deltell won by an even larger margin of 12,500 votes over the Liberal candidate. In 2008, when Deltell only won by 2600 votes, the Liberals were able to win a few more polls, such as those in Wendake and in Lac-Beaport. The PQ also won a few polls.

2014 election results in Chauveau by community

Federally, Chauveau covers parts three ridings: Louis-Saint-Laurent, Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles and Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. Due to the area being fairly homogenous, most of Chauveau votes the same way in each election. In 2011, most of the area went NDP, with a splattering of Conservative polls in suburban areas like Loretteville, which is in the more Tory-friendly riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent. In 2006 and 2008, most of the area voted Conservative, except the area in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier which backed libertarian leaning Independent Andre Arthur. In 2004, most of Chauveau backed the Bloc Quebecois.


The CAQ, Liberals and the PQ are all running journalists as their candidates. The CAQ is running Jocelyne Cazin a former television host on TVA, who has been criticized for having been parachuted in by the CAQ to run in this safe seat. The Liberal candidate, Veronyque Tremblay actually lives in the riding, and is known in the area for working at a popular local radio station. The PQ candidate is Sebastien Couture, who is the chief reporter of a monthly newspaper which serves the northern rural parts of this district. Quebec solidaire is running educator Marjolaine Bouchard. The Conservatives, Option nationale and two other minor parties are also running candidates.

Despite not living in the riding, the clear front runner has to be Jocelyne Cazin of the CAQ. It does not get much safer for the centre-right CAQ than in Chauveau. I expect them to take a hit in the polls, but should get no lower than the 43% the ADQ (the CAQ's predecessor) won here in 2008. The Liberal vote could take a hit here as well, if the province-wide polls are to be believed. The PQ will likely see a large boost, but they are only starting from the 12% they won in 2014. I expect both parties will be in the low to mid 20% range. If the PQ is lucky, they might even finish second.



Further south is the riding of Jean-Talon, named for the 17th century colonial administrator of New France. The riding, with its present boundaries is located in the west end of the city, in the Sainte-Foy—Sillery—Cap-Rouge borough. The riding contains the neighbourhoods of Cite-Universitaire (surrounding Laval University), Plateau, Saint-Louis, Sillery and part of Pointe-de-Sainte-Foy. The riding is much more urban than Chauveau, as it just covers the inner-suburbs immediately west of Quebec City's downtown.


This part of Quebec City was once the English speaking part of the city, or at least where much of the English population lived. Today it remains the most English part of the region, however only 3.1% of the population is Anglophone, while, 94.1% is Francophone. There is also a comparatively large percentage of Arabic speakers and Spanish speakers in the district. Both languages are the mother tongues of 2% of the population. 91% of the riding is White, while Blacks, Arabs and Latin Americans all account for about 2% of the population respectively. While most of the riding has French Canadian origins, there is also a significant population with Irish ancestry. Nearly three quarters (73%) of the riding is Catholic, while there is also a small Muslim population (3%). 16% of the riding is non religious. The riding is more wealthy than the province as a whole, however is has a higher income inequality. The average income is $42,000 while the median income is $30,000.


While the riding of Jean-Talon has existed since 1966, the area that Jean-Talon now covers has been historically divided between both Jean-Talon and Louis-Hebert. The 2011 redistribution brought in near-equal parts from both ridings to create Jean-Talon with its current boundaries. Historically, Jean-Talon was centred on the community of Sillery, while Louis-Hebert was centred on Sainte-Foy. Louis-Hebert still exists, but the 2011 redistribution moved the riding westward, where it now contains Quebec City's western suburbs.

Jean-Talon's political history is noted for being a Liberal bastion. Jean-Talon has never elected an MNA from any party except for the Liberals. Counting the predecessor riding of Quebec-Ouest, the riding has voted Liberal continuously since 1952. The PQ has had more success in Louis-Hebert during the time it mostly covered what is today Jean-Talon. It had PQ representation from 1976 to 1982 and from 1994 to 2002.

Despite the riding's overwhelming Liberal history, they PLQ does not win this riding by huge landslides in every election. In 2014, Bolduc won the seat comfortably with a 7700 vote margin, but did not win a majority of the vote, getting just 45%. In 2012, the race was much closer, with Bolduc winning by 3500 votes and winning just 37% of the vote. The last time the Liberals won a majority of the vote here was in a 2008 by-election, where Bolduc won 58% of the vote. The race in this district has always been between the Liberals and the PQ. Neither the ADQ nor the CAQ have been able to place second here, although they have come close to finishing second in the last two elections.


Quebec-Ouest (1867-1966)
* Jn. Hearn, Cons. (1867-1877)
* R. Alleyn, Cons. (1877-1878)
* A.H. Murphy, Liberal (1878-1881)
* Felix Carbray, Cons. (1881-1886)
* Owen Murphy, Liberal (1886-1892)
* Felix Carbray, Cons. (1892-1900) 2nd time
* J.G. Hearn, Liberal (1900-1904)
* J.C. Kaine, Liberal (1904-1916)
* M. Madden, Liberal (1916-1927)
* J.I. Power, Liberal (1927-1935)
* Chas. Delagrave, Liberal (1935-1944)
* Wilfrid Samson, Liberal (1944-1948)
* J.-A. Saucier, U.N. (1948-1952)
* Jules Savard, Liberal (1952-1956)
* J.-P. Galipeault, Liberal (1956-1960)
* Jean Lesage, Liberal (1960-1966)

Louis-Hebert (1966-2012)
* Jean Lesage, Liberal (1966-1970), continued
* Claude Castonguay, Liberal (1970-1973)
* Gaston Desjardins, Liberal (1973-1976)
* Claude Morin, P.Q. (1976-1982)
* Rejean Doyon, Liberal (1982-1994)
* Paul Begin, P.Q. (1994-2002); Independent (2002-2003)
* S. Hamad, Liberal (2003-2012)

Jean-Talon (1966-present)
* Henri Beaupre, Liberal (1966-1970)
* R. Garneau, Liberal (1970-1979)
* J.C. Rivest, Liberal (1979-1985)
* G. Remillard, Liberal (1985-1994)
* Mrs. M.F. Delisle, Liberal (1994-2007)
* P. Couillard, Liberal (2007-2008)
* Yves Bolduc, Liberal (2008-2015)

Political geography

In the 2014 election, Bolduc won nearly every poll in the riding. The PQ did win five polls (and tied another), four of which were located near the eastern border of the riding, close to the PQ-held riding of Taschereau. The CAQ won 12 polls, nine of which were located in the more suburban western part of the riding, west of Autoroute Henri-IV. The Liberals were strongest in Sillery, where they won 43% of election day votes. Their worst neighbourhood was Cite-Universitaire, where they won 38% of the votes. Interestingly, the best neighbourhood for the PQ was also Sillery (23%), while the best neighbourhood for the CAQ was the Plateau (27%). For Quebec solidaire, their best neighbourhood was Cite-Universitaire, thanks to the student population. Election day votes varied greatly from the advance and special votes, where the Liberals won a majority of the votes. In 2012, both the CAQ and PQ won many more polling divisions. While the Liberals won across the riding, the PQ saw most of its support east of Autoroute Henri-IV, while the CAQ saw most of its support west of Autoroute Henri-IV.

2014 election results in Jean-Talon by neighbourhood

In Federal elections, Jean-Talon is located in the riding of Louis-Hebert. In 2011, the NDP swept the area, winning nearly every poll. In 2008, the Bloc won most of the riding. In 2006, when the Tories won Louis-Hebert by just 231 votes, Jean-Talon mostly supported the Bloc. In 2004, the area was divided between the Bloc and the Liberals, with the former mostly winning in the Sainte-Foy parts of the riding, and the latter winning in the Sillery part.


Considering Jean-Talon's political history, it is unlikely that the Liberals will lose this seat. However, the by-election will make for a good test to determine the popularity of Pierre-Karl Peladeau as leader of the PQ. The Liberals for their part have a strong candidate in Sebastien Proulx, the former ADQ MNA for Trois-Rivieres from 2007 to 2008. The PQ is running businessman (Vice president of De Marque Inc.) Clement Laberge against him. The CAQ candidate will be businessman Alain Fecteau (President of International Geo Alliance) while Quebec solidaire will be running businesswoman (President of Plan B Entertainment) Amelie Boisvert. The leader of Option nationale Sol Zanetti is also running, as are the Conservatives, the Greens, and three minor parties.

Polls close in both ridings at 8pm.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Final Alberta election projection: NDP majority

Well, it is election day in Alberta, and if the polls are to be believed, the NDP is set to win an historic majority government in the province. Not only would it be the first time the NDP forms government in the province, but it would be the first time that any party other than the Tories have won since they first came to power in 1971. Is Alberta an NDP province? We're about to find out.

My projection comes late in the day, because I wanted to make sure there were no sudden last minute shifts in the voting intentions of the electorate. Last election, Forum Research released polls on both the Sunday and the Monday before the election, and together, they showed an eight-point swing from the Wildrose to the PCs in just one day of polling. Fast forward to election day, and the polls swung another 12 points, propelling the Tories to a surprise victory.

Once again, Forum Research polled the electorate on the day before the election (yesterday), and this time no major shift in the electorate was detected. Yesterday's poll showed that NDP support has continued to increase, topping at 45%. Both the Tories and Wildrose have polled about even for the last little while, and so the anti-NDP vote has not been able to coalesce behind either conservative party. Forum Research did detect a small swing from Wildrose to the PCs, which I have decided to extrapolate in this final projection.

For my final projection, I used yesterday's Forum's poll, EKOS's last poll from the weekend, and Mainstreet Technologies' massive poll released Friday. All three polls showed the NDP in the 44-45% range, Wildrose between 23% and 26% and the PCs between 21% and 23%. In my projection, I have made a rather bold assumption that the Tories will see a modest last minute swing in the polls, and will get over 27% of the vote. This will mostly come from would-be Wildrose supporters, switching their votes at the last minute. The NDP however will likely not see a last minute move from their voters, so they should still get somewhere in the mid 40s.

Of course, an NDP majority is a hugely unprecedented outcome, so other than knowing that the NDP will likely nearly sweep all of the Edmonton area, it is difficult to make an assumption about what other areas the NDP will do well. All the polls now show the NDP is ahead in nearly every region of the province, but how this will translate into seats is still a guessing game.

In Calgary, the NDP has built enough of a lead that it will be able to win a lot of ridings where they have been historically very weak. A lot of three way races will see the NDP coming up the middle with a relatively low share of the vote. Any last ditch effort from the Tories to stop the NDP will come in Calgary, where PC Premier Jim Prentice is from.

In the rest of Alberta, an area not known for its progressivism, the NDP still leads. It is unlikely that many of the truly rural seats in southern and central Alberta will go NDP, but it is becoming increasingly likely that the NDP will win many of the mid-sized cities across the province. Lethbridge at this point is a given for the NDP, but they could also win Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Grande Prairie. The NDP could also win a handful of seats in Northern Alberta, which are less rural and more remote.

As always with my final projections, I made a number of tweaks so that my model is as accurate as possible. I focused mostly on Calgary, where the most close races will be. I assumed any open Tory seat was probably toast for the PCs, the same with the Liberals. I also concentrated on the Edmonton suburbs, trying to match some of the ridings with a poll published a few weeks ago by Pantheon
Research showing the results by community.

The final result of my projection is an NDP majority of 50 seats. The Wildrose Party would form the opposition with 19 seats, despite finishing behind the Tories in the popular vote. The Tories would be close behind with 17 seats, but come up short of official opposition due to an inefficient vote distribution. The Liberals would win one seat, that of their leader David Swann, in Calgary-Mountain View.

In the Calgary area, my model shows the NDP winning 14 seats, the Tories nine, the Wildrose three and the Liberals one. The NDP would win seats across the city, as their rising tide will lift NDP boats in all corners of the city. The nine seats my model shows the PCs winning are located in the suburban part of the city, perhaps the area of the city least likely to go NDP. My model shows Calgary's two exurban seats wgoing Wildrose, while also winning a suburban seat in the south end of the city. The Liberals would retain their leader's seat, while a recent drop in Alberta Party fortunes has meant that their leader, Greg Clark is unlikely to win the riding of Calgary-Elbow, where he is running.

In Edmonton, my model shows the NDP winning all but two seats, but in reality could sweep all 26 ridings. The Tories would win the remaining two seats, Edmonton-McClung and Edmonton-South West. These two seats area is the wealthy southwest corner of thecity, so on paper it makes sense that they would eschew the NDP. However, most polls shows the NDP paradoxically leading among wealthy voters, so these two seats could just as easily go NDP. Plus, a poll in neighbouring Edmonton-Whitemud showed the NDP well ahead there, so don't be surprised if they do end up sweeping the city.

In remote Northern Alberta, there will be many three-way races that could easily go for the NDP, Wildrose or PCs. My model shows the NDP winning four seats, the Wildrose six and the PCs one. Wildrose was supposed to win the region back in 2012, but ended up with just one seat. This could happen again this time, but the party is buoyed by their leader running in Fort McMurray.

In Alberta's conservative southern region, my model shows the NDP winning the three urban seats (two in Lethbridge and one in Medicine Hat). It shows Wildrose winning the rest of the region, except for Banff-Cochrane, which could end up being a three way race. My model shows the PCs ahead there, but any of the three parties could win it.

Finally, in central Alberta, my model shows the NDP winning five seats; both Red Deer ridings and three more rural ridings. My model shows Wildrose retaining four of the five ridings they won in 2012, while it shows the Tories with four seats as well.

No matter what happens, it will be an exciting election night tonight. We'll find out for sure what the results will be when the polls close at 8pm Mountain Time (10pm Eastern).

Here are the projected results for each riding. Ridings are shaded by how they voted in 2012:

Monday, May 4, 2015

Prince Edward Island election today: Final projection

Today is election day in Prince Edward Island, which means my second and final projection of the campaign. Unfortunately since my last projection, there has only been one public poll released, and it is now over one week old. The poll, conducted by Corporate Research Associates (CRA) was published on April 24. It showed the governing Liberals in the lead with 44%, nine points ahead of the opposition Progressive Conservatives who were at 35%. The poll showed a narrowing of the race from numbers published a few days earlier by Abingdon Research. The CRA poll also showed the NDP at 15% and the Greens at 6%.

The CRA poll was commissioned by Charlottetown's The Guardian newspaper, which did not publish any tables. However, the corresponding article in The Guardian mentioned that the Liberals were well out in front in Kings County (58% to 31%), the traditionally more Tory-friendly part of the province. In Queens County, which contains half of the province's population, the race was much closer. The Liberals led there 39% to 37%. Numbers from Prince County were not published, but we can extrapolate from the other two county results that the Liberals lead there 43% to 35%.

While there has been no province-wide polling conducted in the last week of the campaign, we did get to see a riding poll from Kellys Cross-Cumberland, where Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker is running. The Greens commissioned Oraclepoll Research to poll the riding, and the numbers showed that Bevan-Baker was in the lead, with 38% of the vote, to Liberal incumbent Valerie Docherty's 34%. If the Greens do with the riding, it would be only the second time in PEI history where a party other than the Liberals or Tories won a seat.

Both the CRA poll and the Oralacle Research poll in Kellys Cross-Cumberland have been used to form my final projection. But due to the lack of polling and PEI's quirky nature, I had to adjust the numbers in a few ridings, specifically three ridings that are open seats where the Tories are running strong candidates, and a fourth where a floor-crosser is running for re-election. The three open seats with strong Tory candidacies are Charlottetown-Brighton where PC leader Rob Lantz is running, Borden-Kinkora and Rustico-Emerald. In the latter two ridings, the Tory candidates also ran in the 2011 election where they increased the PC share of the vote considerably over the provincial average, despite both losing to Liberal incumbents. Now, those Liberal incumbents are not running again, meaning the PC candidates will probably get even more of a boost in the polls. I also gave a boost to Hal Perry, the Liberal incumbent in Tignish-Palmer Road. Perry was elected as a Tory in 2011, but crossed the floor to the Liberals. I assume he will retain the 6% swing he got for the Tories from his personal popularity.

There are so many different local factors that will effect the races in each of Prince Edward Island's 27 electoral districts. These factors will make any prediction or projection of today's election very difficult, if any accuracy is to be had. It is hard to speculate which ridings will swing which way; we can only make assumptions based on known candidacy strengths. Last election, some ridings swung strongly Liberal, while others strongly PC. While many of these swings can be explained in hindsight, it would have been near impossible to accurately speculate on those swings before the election. Who would have predicted the Liberals to get a 24% two-party swing in their favour in Evangeline-Miscouhe, while the Tories got a 12% swing in Stratford-Kinlock and an 11% swing in Rustico-Emerald? Overall, between 2007 and 2011 there was only an overall average swing of 0.2% across the entire province, yet the Tories gained four seats from the Liberals, and the Liberals gained one back.

The 2007 to 2011 trend map shows how local factors are a more important indicator of how a riding will vote.

If the huge Liberal numbers in Kings County turn out to be true, th
en they should be able to win the two Tory seats in the county: Souris-Elmira and Georgetown-St. Peters. The only other Liberal gain I am projecting is in the riding of Tignish-Palmer Road, where the Liberal incumbent was elected as a Tory in 2011. With the PCs doing well in Queens County, my model shows them gaining four seats there from the Liberals: Tracadie-Hillsborough Park, Charlottetown-Brighton, West Royalty-Springvale and Rustico-Emerald. Additionally, my model shows the Tories picking up Borden-Kinkora (in Prince County) from the Liberals. Finally, my model shows the Greens winning their first ever seat in Kellys Cross-Cumberland. In total, this gives the Liberals 19 seats, the Tories 7 and the Greens 1. Despite polling in third, the NDP would be shutout, although they have an outside shot at a couple of Charlottetown seats.

Here are the projected results for each riding. Ridings are shaded by how they voted in 2012:

Polls close at 7pm Atlantic Time (6pm Eastern).

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Alberta 2015 election projection #2

There are now only six days left until the Alberta election, and so it is time for another projection. Since my last projection, polls have continued to show the NDP and the Wildrose Party in a neck and neck race across the province, with the governing Progressive Conservatives in a not-too-distant third place. The NDP has continued to poll well, thanks to a strong debate performance by their leader, Rachel Notley and despite the typical red-baiting one normally sees when ever the NDP does well somewhere. The New Democrats have even held firm in the polls after coming out against the Keystone XL pipeline, something that is supported by a majority of Albertans. For Wildrose, despite the poor debate performance by their leader Brian Jean, they continue to benefit from the unpopularity of the governing Tories, as centre-right voters are still parking their votes with them.

For today's projection, I have used the most recent Forum and Mainstreet polls which were both released on April 23rd. The Forum Research poll showed the NDP with a large lead (38% to 25%) over the Wildrose Party, while Mainstreet showed Wildrose ahead by one point (32% to 31%). The Tories were in third place in both polls; Forum had them at 20% while Mainstreet had them at a more respectable 26%. The Liberals and Alberta Party were in single digits in both polls. I have given more weight to the Mainstreet poll, as it had a much larger sample size. I have ignored recent polls conducted by Pantheon Research and 1ABVote, due to suspect methodologies (in the case of 1ABVote) or unknown regional subsample totals (Pantheon).

Riding polls

There have been a plethora of riding polls conducted over the last two weeks, which I have added into my projection model. These riding polls paint a dim picture for the Tories, who have only led in one of these polls, Calgary-Elbow. In fact, Calgary-Elbow has been polled twice, and the Tories were only ahead in one of them.

In Calgary, polls have shown a three way race between Wildrose, the NDP and the Tories, and this shows up in the riding polls as well. The poll conducted in Calgary-Fort confirms the strong candidacy of former city councillor Joe Ceci for the NDP. Outside of that riding it is difficult to tell where exactly the NDP might win, as the riding polls are contradictory. The NDP had a good result in Calgary-Klein in 2012, but a poll there showed Wildrose ahead. Meanwhile in Calgary-Shaw, the NDP is ahead, despite the Wildrose Party winning it in 2012. This may be due to anger over the riding's incumbent, Jeff Wilson crossing the floor to the PCs. One other interesting riding that was polled is Calgary-Elbow, where the Alberta Party is running their leader, Greg Clark. Two polls conducted in that riding confirm what I expected in my projection: that Clark has a chance at winning it.

In Edmonton, riding polls have confirmed that the NDP is going to sweep nearly every seat in the city. The NDP is even leading in Edmonton-Whitemud, which was the best seat in the entire province for the PCs in 2012. However, an earlier poll conducted in Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview showed NDP incumbent Deron Bilous with only a 25-point lead in his riding, against city councillor Tony Caterina of the Progressive Conservatives. My model had been showing a larger lead for Bilous, and following me entering massive NDP leads in other ridings in the city, my model has forced this 25 point lead to narrow. I'd take that with a grain of salt at this point.

Outside the two major cities, there have been few riding polls conducted. A poll from Fort McMurray-Conklin confirmed Wildrose leader Brian Jean had the lead there, although by a much closer margin than expected. However, Fort McMurray, due to its transient population and low voter turnout is notoriously difficult to poll. A poll was also conducted in Highwood, which was the riding of former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith. Despite Smith switching to the Tories, and losing their party's nomination, voters there continue to support Wildrose. The Wildrose Party continues to lead in rural Alberta, and without more riding polls outside Edmonton and Calgary, one can only speculate which seats the Tories will hang on to or the NDP might win.

Liberals, others not running full slates

One other factor I had to consider in my projection model was that the Liberals, and the more minor parties are not running full slates. The Liberals, which ran a full slate in 2012, are only running in 56 of the 87 ridings in the province, while the Alberta Party is running 36 (down from 38 in 2012) and the Greens are running 24 (down from 25). Most of the ridings without Liberal candidates can be found in rural Alberta. Entering Liberal poll numbers into rural Alberta had condensed their vote into only the handful of seats they were running in. The result of this was that my projection showed the Liberals ahead in Red Deer-North and a close second in Lethbridge-East. Both of these outcomes are unlikely, so I reduced the Liberal numbers in rural Alberta based on their proportion of the 2012 vote that they won in the ridings they have candidates versus the ridings they do not. I did the same for “Other”, as my model was also showing inflated vote totals in some ridings.

Projection seat changes

Since my last projection, the Tories are up a net of five seats, the Wildrose Party is down four, the NDP and Liberals have no net change in seats, while the Alberta Party is down one. The Tories have made most of these gains in Calgary, at the expense of Wildrose (in Calgary-Hawkwood, Calgary-Lougheed Calgary-Northern Hills and Calgary-West). Due to a riding poll, they're now ahead in Calgary-Elbow (from the Alberta Party in last projection). My model also now shows them ahead in Edmonton-Mill Creek (from NDP). Also due to riding polls, the Tories are now behind in Edmonton-Whitemud (to NDP) and Stony Plain (to Wildrose). Riding polls were also the reason that the NDP is now up in Calgary-Fort and Calgary-Shaw (both from Wildrose) but are no longer ahead in Calgary-Klein (from Wildrose).

Despite a lead in the polls, the NDP vote distribution is heavily concentrated in Edmonton, which means they do not have a very efficient vote. 15 of the 24 ridings my model shows going NDP are in Edmonton. This is benefiting the Wildrose Party, whose lead in rural Alberta and strong support in Calgary has meant that they continue to have the advantage in the most seats. However, my numbers show that they are now five seats short of a majority.

Calgary remains the main battleground of the province. The Wildrose Party, the Tories and the NDP are in an effective three-way tie there, which means nearly every seat in the city is a toss-up that could go to any of those three parties (or the Liberals or Alberta Party in some seats). While the NDP is sweeping Edmonton and the Wildrose Party is sweeping rural Alberta, whoever can win the most seats Calgary will win the election. 

Here are the projected results for each riding. Ridings are shaded by how they voted in 2012: