Friday, April 24, 2015

Meanwhile in PEI: 2015 election projection #1

While the Alberta election campaign continues to excite politicos, there is another province in the country holding an election: Prince Edward Island. Islanders head to the polls on May 4th, the day before the Alberta election. And unlike Alberta, most believe the election in P.E.I. is a foregone conclusion. However, with just one poll released during the campaign so far, we are still in the dark as to what exactly is happening there.

Presently, the Prince Edward Island Liberal Party is enjoying a great deal of support in the province. It has been in power since 2007, winning landslide majorities in both the 2007 and 2011 elections under the leadership of Robert Ghiz. Last November, Ghiz unexpectedly announced he'd be resigning as Premier, effective in February. Despite the large lead in the polls the Liberals have enjoyed, just one candidate ran to replace Ghiz. University of Prince Edward Island president Wade MacLauchlan threw his hat in the ring, and no one, not even a sitting MLA, ended up running against him, due to his wide support from caucus and from the federal Liberals' three Members of Parliament. MacLauchlan became Premier on February 23rd, and also became the first openly gay man to become a Premier in Canada.

Following MacLauchlan's ascension in February, the Liberals immediately received a large boost in the polls. A Corporate Research Associates (CRA) poll conducted at the time indicated that the Liberals were at 58%, the highest they have been at since the 2011 election, where they won 51% of the popular vote and 22 seats. The opposition Tories were at 26% in the poll, a 14-point drop since 2011, when they won five seats. The seat-less NDP polled at 12%, an increase nine points since 2011, but a significant drop from where they were polling at in the 2012-2013 period, where they peaked at 32%. The Greens were at 4% in the poll, which is what they won in 2011 (ahead of the NDP).

The only pollreleased during the campaign so far was conducted by Abingdon Research. Released Tuesday, it showed a drop in Liberal support (43%), and an increase in NDP (18%) and Green (12%) support. The Tories were at 27% in the poll, a one-point increase since the CRA poll in February. It was this poll that formed the basis of today's projection.

There were no regional breakdowns in the poll, so I just extrapolated the poll's numbers across the whole province, based on the a proportional swing from the 2011 election. The NDP is running a full slate of 27 candidates for the first time since 2000, so for the ridings where they did not run in 2011, I projected how it would have voted based on how the NDP did in those areas in the federal election. I did the same for the Green Party, which also did not run a full slate in 2011 (and is running in all but two seats this election). Additionally, I boosted the support of the four party leaders in their ridings, as none of them led their respective parties in 2011. Additionally, I removed some support for parties in ridings where their leaders ran in 2011, based on what result I believe an average candidate would have received there.

The result of my projection is that the Liberals would gain two seats at the expense of the Tories. Despite their strong polling numbers, neither the Greens nor the NDP would win any seats, according to my model. A huge caveat to remember is that elections in PEI are very localized, due to the small size of the ridings, and the province's political traditions. A proportional swing model alone cannot reflect the local races on the ground.
While the Liberals are polling below their 2011 levels, the drop in Tory support has my model showing them gaining both Souris-Elmira and Tignish-Palmer Road. Despite the fact that the Liberals are in landslide territory (which is typical for PEI elections), they would only win a majority of votes in five ridings, including York-Oyster Bed, the riding where Wade MacLauchlan is running in.

My model shows the Tories reduced to just three seats: Georgetown-St. Peters, Stratford-Kinlock and Morell-Mermaid. All three of those seats are traditionally safe Tory seats. The Liberals have only won one of those seats (Stratford-Kinlock in 2007) since their creations in 1996. New Tory leader Rob Lantz is looking to enter the legislature by running in Charlottetown-Brighton, but my model shows him in 4th! I admit this is probably too low for the former city councillor.

For the Greens, they are concentrating all of their resources in trying to elect their leader Peter Bevan-Baker in the riding of Kellys Cross-Cumberland. This sometimes successful strategy helped get federal Green leader Elizabeth May elected in her riding, as well as get New Brunswick Green leader David Coon elected in his riding in last year's provincial election there. This may prove successful; my model has him in a close race against the Liberals.

For the NDP, they have not won a seat on the island since 1996, when then-leader Herb Dickieson won the Prince County seat of West Point-Bloomfield. Their new leader Michael Redmond chose to run in Kings County's Montague-Kilmuir riding, a district that the NDP has not run in since 2003 (where they won just 30 votes). The NDP's best shot at a seat is in the capital, where my model has them in a close race in Charlottetown-Lewis Point, behind the Liberals.

Here are the projected results for each riding. Ridings are shaded by how they voted in 2011:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Pas, Manitoba provincial by-election today

While the Alberta and PEI provincial election campaigns are well under way, voters in the Manitoba riding of The Pas are heading to the polls today in a provincial by-election. The northern Manitoba riding has been vacant for over 11 months, following the resignation of New Democrat Frank Whitehead who resigned for health reasons. Whitehead himself was first elected in a by-election in 2009.

The Pas is considered a safe riding for the NDP. Whitehead won both of his elections (2009 by-election and 2011 provincial election) with three-quarters of the vote. The seat has also been held by the NDP continuously since 1969. NDP strength in the riding is helped by its large Aboriginal population, as about two-thirds of the riding's population is First Nations. Whitehead himself was chief of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation before being elected.

The Greg Selinger-led NDP government in Manitoba has had a habit of waiting as long as possible to call provincial by-elections. The last provincial by-elections held last year saw the riding of Morris also go vacant for over 11 months. Legally, the Premier is compelled to call by-elections within 12 months of a seat becoming vacant, and Selinger waited as long as possible for both Morris and now The Pas. The fact that The Pas is considered a safe seat did nothing to speed the process. To Selinger's credit, he was involved in a challenge to his leadership race for much of the last year, which concluded with him narrowly winning a leadership election last month.


The riding of The Pas is located in Northern Manitoba and is geographically immense. It runs from the Saskatchewan border in the west, almost to the Ontario border in the east. In the south, the riding extends to the northern shores of Lake Winnipeg, and in the north it goes as far as Cross Lake. The remote Town of The Pas (pronounced “Paw”) is the largest community in the riding, located close to the Saskatchewan border. Most of the population of the riding lives in the western part of the riding, located close to The Pas. Other communities in this area include Wanless, Cormorant, Moose Lake, Carrot Valley and the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. The eastern half of the riding includes the remote Aboriginal communities of Cross Lake and Norway House. About a quarter of the population lives within the Town of The Pas itself.


With about two thirds of the riding being First Nations, the riding is the second most Aboriginal riding in Manitoba, and most of the Aboriginal population is Cree. While the Town of The Pas and the surrounding area (Carrot Valley, Clearwater Lake area, Wanless) is a majority White, Aboriginals still make up a sizable percentage in the region. 47% of the Town of The Pas is Aboriginal, while the surrounding Rural Municipality of Kelsey is 44% Aboriginal. This part of the riding is the only area with a significant White population. The rest of the riding is dotted with Cree-majority communities. Much of the White population in the riding is of British Isles, French and Ukrainian ancestry. Catholicism and Anglicanism are the main religions. Despite the French pronunciation of the riding's name, French is not the first language of very many people in the riding. After English, Cree is the second most widely-spoken language.


The Pas has existed as a riding since Manitoba's northern boundary was extended northward in 1912. The NDP and its predecessor the CCF has held the riding for half of its history. In 1912, a by-election was held held in the newly annexed territory with Conservative Robert Orok becoming its first MLA. He held the riding until the Liberals swept into power in 1915. In 1922, the United Farmers of Manitoba won the provincial election, and the leader-less party asked the seat-less John Bracken to lead them in the legislature. At the time, due to its remoteness, The Pas held its elections weeks after the general election. This allowed Bracken to run for a seat in the Assembly and be Premier without having had to run in the general election. When Bracken resigned to enter federal politics in 1943, the CCF won the seat in a by-election. The Liberals took back the riding when they won the 1949 election, and the Tories won it back when they won in 1958. When the NDP won their first ever election in the province in 1969, they won The Pas and have held the riding ever since. Since then, the NDP nearly lost the seat in 1990 and in 1999, but have won the seat easily the rest of the time.


1) R.D. Orok, Cons. (1912-1915)
2) E. Brown, Liberal (1915-1922)
3) Jn. Bracken, Prog./Liberal-Prog. (1922-1943)
4) B. Richards, C.C.F./Ind. C.C.F. (1943-1949)
5) F.L. Jobin, Liberal-Prog. (1949-1958)
6) J.B. Carroll, Prog. Cons. (1958-1969)
7) S.R. McBryde, N.D.P. (1969-1977)
8) H.M. Harapiak, N.D.P. (1977-1990)
9) Oscar Lathlin, N.D.P. (1990-2008)
10) F. Whitehead, N.D.P. (2009-2014)

Source: Elections Manitoba

Political geography

In both federal and provincial elections, the main political cleavage in the riding is usually between Aboriginal voters and White voters. First Nations communities almost always vote NDP on the provincial level. Federally, some Aboriginal communities occasionally back the Liberals, as was the case in 1997, 2004 and 2006. The Town of The Pas usually always backs the NDP, but some of the surrounding communities are often prone to backing the Tories. In the 2011 provincial election, the Tories won just one poll (near Clearwater Lake), while every other poll was won by the NDP. In most First Nations communities the NDP won over 90% of the vote, while they performed more poorly in Whiter communities. Even in the White majority communities, the NDP still won a majority of the vote in every community except for the Clearwater Lake area. The best community for the NDP was Cross Lake, where they won 96% of the vote. The Liberals were a non factor in 2011 across the riding, not winning more than 4% of the vote in any community.

2011 provincial election results by community


The NDP has the biggest name of the ballot of the three candidates running. They are running Amanda Lathlin, the daughter of former MLA and cabinet minister Oscar Lathlin. She defeated former The Pas mayor Al McLaughlin for the NDP nomination that was decided by a coin toss after a tie vote (the disgruntled McLaughlin is considering backing another party in the race). The Tories are running former Moose Lake band councillor and social worker Jacob Nasekapow. The Liberals, who are still in the political wilderness in Manitoba (but seeing a small resurgence) are running Inez Vystrcil-Spence, the health director for Manitoba Keewatinkowi Okimakanak. She is being criticized as she is the only candidate who does not live in the riding. All three candidates have Cree ancestry. Candidate strength will play a large factor in who wins the race, as the riding does not always follow province wide voting trends.

The recent NDP leadership race in Manitoba was hugely divisive, and may have badly hurt the reputation of the New Democrats, which was already languishing in the polls. The party had a chance at renewal, but narrowly (re)-elected Selinger when his popularity among Manitobans was at an all time low. Could this hurt the NDP in one of its safest seats? The NDP has had some close calls here in the past. While the NDP won a majority government in 1999, it almost lost this seat to the Tories. If First Nations voters don't come out to vote for the NDP, or switch to the Tories, it could mean a surprise victory for the PCs, and a huge blow for the NDP. Having said that, the safe bet is to pick the NDP to win. Owing to the highly contested nomination race, the NDP has sold a lot of memberships in the riding, and it is now the riding with the most NDP members in the entire province (it had the most delegates in the NDP leadership race). While the riding backed one of Selinger's opponents in the leadership election, it would still be a huge surprise if the Tories won it. Another factor in the riding is it had the lowest voter turnout out of any riding in 2011 (meaning a lot of voters, especially First Nations voters did note vote). Despite this, the NDP still won the seat by a large margin. They can afford the kind of depressed turnout that comes with by-elections. While I still think the NDP will win, I believe it will be much closer than the landslide that happened in the provincial election. We'll know for sure when the polls close at 8:00pm tonight (9:00pm Eastern).

Thursday, April 16, 2015

2015 Alberta election projection #1 (What's going on in Alberta?)

What's going on in Alberta? This is the question asked by anyone who is paying attention to the provincial election campaign there. After just three years since the last election, Albertans will once again be heading to the polls, this time on May 5th. And just like last election, polls are suggesting the governing Progressive Conservative Party (which has ruled the province continuously since 1971) are in trouble of losing. However, the twist this time is, the Tories are now in third place in the polls, behind the right wing Wildrose Party and the left wing New Democratic Party. Yes, you read that correctly. The PC Party is behind the NDP. In Alberta. Alberta is easily Canada's most conservative province, or at least has that reputation, so the surge of the social democratic NDP has come as quite the surprise by anyone who follows Alberta politics.


In 2012, every single opinion poll conducted during the election campaign predicted a Wildrose victory. Most polls showed the Wildrose Party with a comfortable 5-10 point lead over the Progressive Conservatives during this time. However, it was the Tories that ended up winning the election by 10 points. Many blamed the polling industry for this blunder, but there is evidence to suggest that undecideds broke almost unanimously to the Tories at the last minute to stop the Wildrose Party, who many moderate voters considered to be too extreme. The PC Party, under leader Alison Redford was a safe bet for moderates, as she was considered to be a Red Tory. In the end, the Tories won a comfortable majority, winning 61 seats in the 87 seat legislature. Wildrose formed the official opposition, winning 17 seats.

Redford's Premiership was marred by scandal and controversy, and she would eventually resign. She would later be replaced as leader by former MP Jim Prentice, who was also perceived as a moderate. He became Premier in September, and quickly became quite popular in the province. The Tories had been trailing the Wildrose Party badly throughout the summer of 2014, but when Prentice became Premier, the Tories once again vaulted into first place in the polls. Many within the Wildrose Party began to ponder their existence, as opposing the Tories from the right began to be thought of as an exercise in futility. On December 17th, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and eight other MLAs crossed the floor to the join with the Progressive Conservatives. The now leaderless Wildrose Party was left with a rump of just five seats.

Over winter, the Wildrose Party fell to fourth place in public opinion polls, behind the surging Tories, the Liberals and the NDP. The time seemed right for Prentice to call an election, a year ahead of schedule, with his party looking seemingly invincible. Calling an early election is not always a popular decision, in Canadian politics. The best example of voter outrage over an early election was the 1990 Ontario election, which booted out the governing Liberal government, replacing them with the NDP after an unexpected surge in support. Sound familiar? Prentice wanted to call the election to give legitimacy to his unpopular austerity budget. If he was counting on the invincibility of his party, which has now ruled the province for 44 years, he may have taken his province's voters for granted.

With the Tory vote in Alberta now crumbling, left of centre voters have gone to the NDP, while right of centre voters have gone (back?) to supporting Wildrose. The NDP elected popular MLA Rachel Notley as leader in October. Notley is the daughter of long-time provincial NDP leader Grant Notley, who was briefly leader of the opposition in Alberta in the 1980s until his untimely death in 1984. The Wildrose Party elected Brian Jean as its leader in March. Jean is a former back bench Conservative MP, who represented the Fort McMurray area from 2004 until resigning his seat in January 2014. On the same day Jean was elected as leader, former leader Danielle Smith lost her bid to win the Tory nomination in her seat, ending what may have been a very promising political career for her.


And so with the election on the horizon, it is time for my first attempt at doing a seat projection for this race. I could not believe the first few polls that came out earlier this month, showing the surging NDP. So, I have had to wait until I could convince myself they were real, which has been helped by a succession of polls confirming that the “orange wave” is indeed true. For this first projection, I used two recent polls, one published by Forum Research and one by Mainstreet Technologies. Both polls show the Wildrose Party in a statistical tie with the NDP. Forum has Wildrose at 30% with the NDP at 28%, while Mainstreet has Wildrose at 31% and the NDP at 30%. Forum has the Tories at 27% while Mainstreet has them at just 24%. The Liberals, which may not even run in half of the ridings are still holding steady at 12% and 10% respectively, about what they won last election. 


For this projection, I used the regional numbers from both polls, and inputted them into my traditional proportional swing model to see how each seat would go based on the results of the 2012 election. I also made some tweaks in ridings where certain party leaders ran in 2012 and where certain party leaders are running this time. For example, I reduced Wildrose support in the riding of Highwood, where former leader Danielle Smith ran in 2012, while I increased their support in Fort McMurray-Conklin where their current leader Brian Jean is running. I did not do this where a current party leader ran in the same riding as 2012. I plan on making further individual riding tweaks over the next few weeks, depending on what ridings the parties are targeting where they may not have done as well in 2012 (one possible example is Calgary-Fort, where the NDP is running a former city councillor).

My current projection assumes a full slate of candidates for all four major parties. However, it has become evident that the Liberals will not be running a full slate of candidates, so expect different numbers for the Liberals in my next projection. Additionally, the centrist Alberta Party will be included in my charts if they end up running in more than 50% of the ridings.


While Wildrose and the NDP are in a statistical tie, the electoral map strongly favours Wildrose. The NDP vote is heavily concentrated in urban areas, especially in inner-city Edmonton, where my model shows them winning many seats with over 70% of the vote. Meanwhile, Wildrose support is evenly spread out across rural Alberta, but winning no seats with more than 60% of the vote.

My model currently shows Wildrose winning almost every seat in rural Alberta, as well as winning most seats in Calgary, due to heavy vote splitting between the other three parties. In Edmonton however, the strength of the NDP and residual PC strength has shutout the Wildrose Party. Overall my model has Wildrose winning 43 seats, one shy of a majority. In 2012, Wildrose had difficulty breaking through into urban areas, but may have more success this time due to vote splitting, even if they win a similar share of the vote (which is where they are at now).

For the NDP, my model has that party nearly sweeping Edmonton, as well as making inroads into other urban areas across the province. This includes three seats in Calgary, both Lethbridge seats and one Red Deer seat. Additionally, my model has them winning three rural ridings. However, take this with a grain of salt, as it is going to be a very difficult task guessing where the NDP can win in rural Alberta, if at all. As we have increasingly seen in the other Western Provinces, there is a huge urban-rural divide with NDP votes. This may be true in Alberta as well. Both Calgary and Edmonton have progressive leaning mayors, so it is not as hard to see the NDP win seats in either city, but winning seats in very conservative rural Alberta probably wont happen. In total, my model shows the NDP winning 24 seats.

The Tories have to hope for another last minute surge in support if they have any chance of salvaging this election. Being in third place will make the choice for those undecided voters harder, though. It is one thing to vote for a second place party to stop the first place party, but how will these last minute undecided voters react if the Tories are in third? There are surely many moderates who will hold their noses and vote PC to stop Wildrose and NDP, but there will likely be other moderates who will vote NDP to stop Wildrose and vice versa. For the Tories, my model shows them hanging on to just 16 seats, most in suburban Edmonton, where neither the NDP nor Wildrose are popular.

For the Liberals, the rising support of the NDP, as well as not running a full slate will end up hurting the party. They may be polling at 10-12% now, but they will likely win less than 10% on election day again, the way things are going. My model shows them retaining the three seats they currently hold in Calgary, while losing both of their Edmonton seats to rising NDP. Edmonton Centre will be the wild card for the Liberals, as their candidate (MLA Laurie Blakeman) received the endorsement from the Alberta Party and the Greens. Would-be NDP voters may be attracted to her for rallying the other progressive parties behind her, and vote for her.

Presently I have “other” winning one seat. This is the riding of Calgary-Elbow, where Alberta Party leader Greg Clark is running. This seat held a by-election in October where Clark won 27% of the vote, just 800 votes behind the Tory candidate, Gordon Dicks, who won 33%. With the Tories much lower in the polls, it stands to reason that Clark could now win this seat, even if he only wins 27% again. In 2012, the Alberta Party won just 1.3% of the vote, but saw respectable results in a handful of seats. Forum has them at 2% while Mainstreet has them at 5%, so they are polling better now.

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


Monday, March 9, 2015

Provincial by-election in Richelieu, Quebec today

Voters in the Quebec riding of Richelieu head to the polls today to elect a new Member of the Quebec National Assembly in a provincial by-election. The riding has been sitting vacant since September, when its MNA, Elaine Zakaib resigned to work as chief of restructuring and vice president of strategy for the struggling women's clothing chain, Jacob (which would later go bankrupt). Zakaib, a member of the Parti Quebecois was first elected in the 2012 election, and was re-elected in 2014.

Richelieu is anchored by the city of Sorel-Tracy, whose 35,000 inhabitants make up two-thirds of the riding's population. It is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, between Montreal and Trois-Rivieres. The riding contains all of the Pierre-De Saurel Regional County Municipality plus four rural municipalities in Les Maskoutains Regional County Municipality. Roughly speaking, the riding takes in the lower valleys of the Richelieu and Yamaska Rivers, and the area between them.


Richelieu's demographics is that of a typical homogeneous French Canadian riding. It has very few immigrants, and is overwhelmingly Francophone, with 98% of its inhabitants citing French as their mother tongue. The riding is 98% White, and is 91% Catholic (with 7% being irreligious). Outside of the dominant French Canadian ancestry, about 2% of the riding is of Aboriginal ancestry, and at least 3% have Irish ancestry. Manufacturing is the main industry in the riding, employing nearly 20% of the work force. The riding is slightly poorer than the provincial average. The median income is $26,000, while the provincial median is $28,000. The average income in Richelieu is $32,000, compared to $36,000 in the whole of Quebec.


Richelieu has existed as a riding since confederation, except for a brief period during World War II when it was part of Richelieu-Vercheres. The riding voted mostly Conservative in the 19th Century, but then backed the Liberals continuously until 1948. Between 1948 and the rise of the PQ in 1976, the riding flipped back and forth between the Liberals and the conservative Union Nationale party. The PQ has held the riding almost continuously since then, except for the period between 1985 and 1994 when the Liberals had last held it. Despite being a PQ stronghold, the PQ has not been able win a majority of the votes here since 1998. Since then, the anti-PQ vote has been split between the Liberals and the ADQ/CAQ. In 2007, the ADQ came within 2000 votes of winning the riding, but fell back to a distant third in 2008, when the Liberals finished second, 3000 votes behind the PQ's Sylvain Simard. Zakaib's first win in 2012 was more comfortable, as she defeated the CAQ candidate by 3,600 votes. Her win in 2014 was another 3,600 vote margin against the CAQ candidate. However, both her and the CAQ lost a significant chunk of votes to the Liberals, who finished a relatively close second place, 4000 votes behind Zakaib.


1) Jos. Beaudreau, Cons. (1867-1869)
2) Pierre Gelinas, Cons. (1969-1871)
3) J.-A. Dorion, Cons. (1871-1875)
4) Michel Mathieu, Cons. (1875-1881)
5) Leon Leduc, Cons. (1881-1886)
6) L.-P-.P. Cardin, Liberal (1886-1892)
7) Louis Lacouture, Cons. (1892-1897)
*) L.-P.-P. Cardin, Liberal (1897-1912) 2nd time
8) M.-L. Peloquin, Liberal (1912-1923)
9) J.-B. Lafreniere, Liberal (1923-1929)
10) Avilla Turoctt, Liberal (1929-1939)
11) Felix Messier, Liberal (1939-1942)
12) J.-W. Robidoux, Liberal (1942-1948)
13) Bernard Gagne, U.N. (1948-1952)
14) Gerard Cournoyer, Liberal (1952-1956)
*) Bernard Gagne, UN (1956-1960) 2nd time
*) Gerard Cournoyer, Liberal (1960-1966) 2nd time
15) Maurice Martel, U.N. (1966-1970)
16) Claude Simard, Liberal (1970-1976)
*) Maurice Martel, P.Q. (1976-1985) 2nd time
17) Albert Khelfa, Liberal (1985-1994)
18) Sylvain Simard, P.Q. (1994-2012)
19) Ms. Elaine Zakaib, P.Q. (2012-2014)

Political geography

Richelieu is located in Quebec's sovereigntist heartland, an area north of Montreal that is one of the most reliably separatist parts of the province. Despite the orange wave of the 2011 federal election, the Richelieu area was still one of the few areas in the province to back the Bloc Quebecois. Before 2011, every federal riding along the St. Lawrence between Montreal and Trois-Rivieres voted for the Bloc, going back as far as their first election in 1993. In the 1980s the area backed Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives, which had the support of Quebec nationalists. Federally, the Richelieu area has not gone Liberal since 1980.

While Richelieu is a very homogenous riding, the fact that all three of the major parties did well in the 2014 election, revealed some political cleavages in the riding. The most noticeable cleavage is the urban-rural split. The PQ did slightly better in Sorel-Tracy than in the rural parts of the riding, while the centre-right CAQ party did slightly better in rural Richelieu. The Liberal's urban and rural numbers were about even, but most of their rural support was concentrated in the municipalities of Saint-Gerard-Majella, Saint-David and Yamaska in the eastern part of the riding. Saint-Gerard-Majella was the best municipality for the Liberals, where they won 49% of the vote. The central part of the riding was the best area for the CAQ. They won over 40% of the vote in the three rural municipalities there, Saint-Robert, Saint-Aime and Saint-Marcel-de-Richelieu. The strongest area for the PQ was also in the central part of the riding. The village of Massueville gave 45% of the vote to Zakaib, despite being surrounded by the Municipality of Saint-Aime, which went CAQ.

Historically, the rural parts of the riding have been less prone to support sovereigntist parties than in the urban centre of Sorel-Tracy. In 2008, much of the rural part of the riding went to the Liberals, but a lot of this vote had shifted to the CAQ in 2012. Federally, the BQ normally sweeps almost every poll in the riding. The 2011 federal election created a weird map, where the NDP won some suburban polls in Sorel-Tracy, as well as the village of Massueville, which was the PQ's best area in the last provincial election. The NDP also won a scattering of rural polls across Richelieu, and won all the Richelieu polls in the federal riding of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot (most of Richelieu is in the federal riding of Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet--Becancour). Most of the riding still backed the Bloc, however. Also of note was the municipality of Saint-Gerard-Majella, which may be the most conservative part of the riding. Not only was it the provincial Liberal's best poll in 2014, its lone poll was the only poll in Richelieu to vote Conservative in the 2011 federal election, and it also voted Conservative in 2006.

2014 election day results by municipality (or former municipality)


Running to replace Zakaib for the PQ is Sylvain Rochon, a former journalist who had also served as her adviser. Running for the CAQ is businessman Jean-Bernard Emond, the Liberals are running financial adviser Benoit Theroux and QS is running professor Marie-Eve Mathieu. The sovereigntist Option Nationale party is running their leader, Sol Zanetti, though that party has been irrelevant since the 2012 election. The Greens, Conservatives and Equipe Aotonomiste are also running candidates.

Province-wide polling in Quebec has been fairly constant since the provincial election last Spring. The Liberals are polling a little bit worse than the 42% they won in 2014 (they are now in the high 30s), while the PQ and CAQ are about even in the polls, at about the mid-20s, which is around what they won last Spring. Quebec Solidaire seems to have benefited the most from the Liberal dip in the polls, and are up into the low-teens from the 8% they won in 2014. With the little volatility in the polls, it stands to reason that the PQ's Sylvain Rochon should be able to win today's by-election. In 2014, the CAQ candidate finished 12 points behind Zakaib, and without a CAQ surge, I do not think they will be able to make up the difference. For what it's worth, SorelTracy Magazine conducted a poll last month showing Rochon with a 14 point lead over Emond (41 % to 27%). Theroux was at 20%. 

Polls close at 8pm.

Re-cap of the Manitoba NDP leadership election: An excercise in futility?

Yesterday, the governing New Democratic Party of Manitoba held a leadership convention and re-elected their leader, Premier Greg Selinger. Back in the Fall, there was a caucus revolt in the party, following two years of trailing the opposition Progressive Conservative Party in the polls, due in part to recent unpopular policies, such as raising the Provincial Sales Tax. The NDP has been in power since 1999, and Selinger has been Premier since the last leadership vote in 2009. Following the revolt, which involved the resignation of five cabinet ministers, Selinger refused to step down as Premier, and called a leadership election.

Polls in Manitoba now show the NDP trailing the Tories by at least 20 points, and are now in threat of being surpassed by the Liberals, who hold just one seat in the legislature. This was no matter for a majority delegates at the convention this weekend, as they narrowly chose to keep Selinger as Premier. 50.9% of delegates voted for Selinger on the second ballot yesterday, defeating MLA Theresa Oswald. Another MLA, Steve Ashton (father of MP Nikki Ashton) also ran for leader, but was eliminated on the first ballot, in a close three way race. After the first ballot, Selinger had the support of 36% of delegates, Oswald had 34% and Ashton had 30%. Normally when party's have their annual or biennial leadership reviews, leaders need at least 70% support to feel comfortable enough to stay on as leader. This wasn't a leadership review, but it's clear Selinger barely even has majority support in his party, which means he will be in tough to lead the party into the next election, scheduled for the Spring of 2016.

The leadership candidates

The Manitoba NDP uses a traditional delegated leadership convention, which is relatively unheard for other provincial New Democratic Parties. Delegates are selected in a number of different fashions. More than half of the delegates were chosen at delegate meetings held across the province in February. Local members of the NDP in each riding elected slates of delegates representing the candidates. Slates were elected using plurality-at-large voting, meaning that in most cases one candidate would win all or almost all of the delegates in a riding. The number of delegates a riding has was determined based on the party's membership in that riding. Of all the ridings, The Pas, in Northern Manitoba had the most delegates with 145, owing in part to an expected by-election there, which has increased party memberships. Members in The Pas, and in four other ridings in Northern Manitoba had to mail in their ballots, as delegates meetings would have been impossible to hold in such geographically large ridings. The minimum amount of delegates a riding could have was five, which 10 ridings had. All but nine of those ridings are held by the Tories.

After all the delegate meetings were held across the province, it was clear that a close three-way race was emerging. Steve Ashton won the most constituency delegates with 482. Selinger was next with 415, and Theresa Oswald was close behind with 336. Another 7 delegates were unpledged. Oswald won an additional 91 delegates from the Manitoba NDP youth, while Ashton won one. Only 77 youth delegates showed up to the actual leadership convention, however. 1,212 of the 1,240 elected constituency delegates showed up to the convention. In order to vote, delegates had to attend the convention held at the Canad Inns Polo Park in Winnipeg.

Candidate delegate geography 

Delegate winners by riding

Selinger saw his best delegate meeting results in Winnipeg's working class north end, an area that is home to the NDP's base in the province. Outside of this area, Selinger won a splattering of ridings across the province, including both Brandon seats. His big delegate-haul was The Maples, in the northwest corner of Winnipeg, where he won all 117 delegates. His next best delegate win was Point Douglas in the north end of the city, where he won 34 delegates. Ashton won the most amount of constituency delegates, thanks in part to his big win in The Pas (126 of 145 delegates), which is right next door to his home riding of Thompson. Ashton did not sweep the north however (another strong NDP region of the province), as The Pas and Thompson were the only seats he won. He won most of his seats in suburban Winnipeg, and won a few rural seats as well. Ashton's other big wins were Thompson (61 delegates), Elmwood (59 of 61), Concordia (46) and St. Norbert (44). Despite winning the least amount of constituency delegates, Oswald won the most amount of constituencies. She did this by winning ridings with fewer delegates, in areas such as the south end suburbs of Winnipeg and in rural southern Manitoba. Oswald represents Seine River in the legisulatre, a suburban riding in the south end of Winnipeg, which is an important swing area that was key for past NDP election victories. Oswald did well in these swing areas, indicating that she may have been the best candidate for the party to retain these seats. Oswald's only major delegate win came from Wolseley, a seat in central Winnipeg, where she won 45 of a possible 48 delegates. Other than Wolseley, she did not win any seats with fewer than 25 delegates.

Other delegates

Owing in part to the NDP's formation in 1961 as a merger of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and the Canadian Labour Congress, unions still have a major influence in the NDP and are often still awarded delegates in some provincial leadership races. The Manitoba NDP, which still uses an archaic delegated convention anyways, is no exception in this regard. Selinger received endorsements from the two biggest affiliated unions, CUPE and the UFCW. While not all union delegates are bound to vote for who their union endorsed, these high profile union endorsements were key for Selinger to win the nomination, and to over come his lack of constituency delegates. Unions were initially entitled 691 delegates, but were only able to fill up 296 slots at the convention. Even still, this was enough to held Selinger get elected. Despite winning the endorsement of two unions (United Fire Fighters and the United Steelworkers), it is clear from the results that Ashton did not win very many actual union delegates (no more than 12 by my estimation), despite both unions being worth a combined 86 delegates.

In addition to the constituency, youth a union delegates, 157 ex-officio delegates (of a possible 200) attended the convention, representing the party's riding associations, plus MLAs, Members of Parliament and other officials. While a caucus revolt spurred the leadership election, Selinger still had a lot of support from caucus members. 15 of the 37 members of caucus backed Selinger, compared to eight for Oswald and seven for Ashton (the rest were neutral). Assuming Ashton won a handful of union delegates, he probably won very if ex-officios other than the support of those seven caucus members, and presumably his daughter. Oswald must have won many ex-officios, considering her weak union support.

1,742 delegates (out of a possible 2,217) attended the convention, and thus were able to vote for leader yesterday. 1,699 delegates voted on the first ballot, and just 1,490 on the second. One would think that once Ashton was eliminated after the first ballot, most of his delegates would go to Oswald, to stop Selinger. However, this did not quite happen. It looks like a plurality of his delegates did not even vote on the second ballot. Those who did were evenly split between Oswald and Selinger. Oswald gained 151 votes on the second ballot, while Selinger gained 147 (while 209 fewer delegates voted on the second ballot). All three candidates were seen as polarizing figures, with deep flaws ,preventing much cross-support. It appears there were just as many people who did not want to see Oswald or Ashton win than who did not want to see Selinger win. This polarization was another factor that helped Selinger win, as delegates of his opponents could not unite against him.


In my opinion, the Manitoba NDP's archaic delegated voting system and union delegates helped Selinger win despite his clear lack of popular support. With a more democratic one member, one vote system, Selinger would probably have lost the leadership race, allowing the Manitoba NDP a chance at renewal. While it's likely the NDP was going to lose the next election no matter who they chose as leader, choosing to keep Selinger was probably the worst thing the party could have done. They had a chance to save grace, but instead will likely face a metaphorical blood bath in the next election. And with the Liberal brand on the rise across the country, the next election could be a repeat of the 1988 election (where the Liberals formed the opposition, with the NDP in third), but with a large majority for the Tories. And for now, the Selinger has to lead a beleaguered, divided party for at most, another 13 months.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sudbury provincial by-election today

The Kathleen Wynne-led Liberal government in Ontario will see its first electoral test today, after winning a majority government last June. In that election, the Liberals won an impressive majority government, gaining a net of ten seats from the 48 that they won in 2011. Out of all seats the Liberals had held prior to the 2014 election, they lost just two, both to the NDP. One of those two seats was Sudbury, where voters are heading to the polls today in a controversial by-election.


Liberal Rick Bartolucci held Sudbury from nearly two decades before deciding to retire before the 2014 election. The 2011 election proved to be the toughest test of Bartolucci's career, as he was re-elected by a margin 500 votes over the NDP's Paul Loewenberg. Sudbury had been trending NDP for a while, ever since the federal party won a surprise election in the city in 2008. Bartolucci's departure meant that Sudbury became ripe for the NDP to pick up, despite the rising tide of the Liberal Party across the province in the 2014 election. The NDP nominated Greater Sudbury city councillor Joe Cimino as their candidate, who defeated Loewenberg for the nomination. On election day, Cimino picked up the seat with a narrow 980-vote victory, defeating the Liberal's Andrew Olivier. However, being an MPP proved too much of a challenge for Cimino, who resigned in November, after just five months at the job, citing health reasons and being apart from his family.

Cimino's early departure was a significant blow to the NDP. As we found out in a recent provincial by-election in New Brunswick, voters do not like it when politicians resign just a few months after being elected. Additionally, the Liberals have been polling well since the election, while the NDP has not. Had the Liberals played it safe, they would be looking for an easy victory today. However, the Liberals courted Sudbury's Member of Parliament, Glenn Thibeault, a New Democrat to be their candidate. This came much to the chagrin of Olivier, their past candidate, who had still had his eyes on the seat. Olivier had claimed he was offered a job or an appointment if he promised not to seek the nomination, in favour of Thibeault. This could be interpreted as bribery, and the OPP has already confiscated recorded conversations with Olivier and high profile Liberals to investigate the matter. Meanwhile, New Democrats were incensed that Thibeault would unexpectedly jump ship to the Liberals, a move that is sure to have angered some voters as well, who will have to deal with another politician leaving his seat (in this case however, there will likely be no federal by-election in Sudbury, which will leave the seat vacant until this year's federal election, scheduled for October). With Olivier deciding to run as an independent, a three-way race has emerged, and the outcome of today's by-election is less than certain.


The riding of Sudbury is located in Northern Ontario, taking in most of the former city of Sudbury, which was amalgamated with the rest of the Regional Municipality of Sudbury in 2001. While it shares the name of the federal riding of Sudbury, it has slightly different boundaries, as the provincial ridings in Northern Ontario have maintained their boundaries from 1999, while the rest of Ontario's provincial ridings have the same boundaries as the federal counterparts. This discrepancy was implemented in order to retain an extra seat in Northern Ontario, which was lost in the 2004 federal redistribution.

Sudbury's north, west and eastern borders follow the former Sudbury city limits, while the southern border follows a straight line through Kelley Lake to Long Lake Road, and then follows Highway 69 in the southeast. It contains most of the urban portions of Greater Sudbury, including Downtown Sudbury, and the city's inner-suburbs such as New Sudbury, Copper Cliff, Minnow Lake, Lo-Ellen and McFarlane Lake. For an urban riding, Sudbury has several lakes, the largest of which is Ramsey Lake in the east.


Sudbury has a fairly low immigrant population, resulting in the riding being very White (88%), although there is a decent Aboriginal population at 8%. Most residents are of British Isles or French ancestry, but there is a small Italian and German community. Two thirds (69%) of the riding are Anglophones, while almost a quarter (24%) are Francophones. Italian is the third language of the riding, with 3% being native speakers. Over three quarters (78%) of the riding are Christian, with over half (56%) being Catholic. The United Church is the largest Protestant denomination at 5%, while 21% of the riding is irreligious. While Northern Ontario has a reputation of being poor, Sudbury is not much poorer than the rest of the province. The federal riding has an average income just $2000 less than the provincial average. Retail and health care are the predominant industries in the riding.


Sudbury has been represented at Queen's Park by its own electoral district since 1908. During this time, all three parties have held the riding, though the Tories have not won it since 1985. Since then it has gone back and forth between the Liberals and NDP, but the Tories still managed to finish second in the 1999 and 2003 elections. During this time, Rick Bartolucci won the seat for the Liberals with massive majorities, getting his best result in 2003 when he won 69% of the vote.


*F.W. Cumberland, Cons. (1867-1874)
*S.J. Dawson, Liberal (1875-1878)

*R.A. Lyon, Liberal (1878-1883)

Algoma East
*R.A. Lyon, Liberal (1883-1890) continued

*Jn. Loughrin, Liberal (1890-1902)

Nipissing West
*J. Michaud, Liberal (1902-1905)
*A.A. Aubin, Cons. (1905-1908)

*F. Cochrane, Cons. (1908-1911)
*Chas. McCrea, Cons. (1911-1934)
*E.A. Lapierre, Liberal (1934-1937)
*J.M. Cooper, Liberal (1937-1943)
*R.H. Carlin, CCF (1943-1498)
*W.S. Gemmell, Prog. Cons. (1948-1954)
*G.J. Monaghan, Prog. Cons. (1955-1959)
*E.W. Sopha, Liberal (1959-1971)
*M.C. Germa, Liberal (1971-1981)
*J.K. Gordon, Prog. Cons. (1981-1987)
*Sterling Campbell, Liberal (1987-1990)
*Ms. S.M. Murdock, NDP (1990-1995)
*R. Bartolucci, Liberal (1995-2014)
*G. Cimino, NDP (2014)

Political geography

In 2014, the NDP saw its strongest support in the west part of the city, with the neighbourhood of Cambrian Heights being their best neighbourhood, winning 62% of the vote there. Other strong neighbourhoods for the NDP were Gatchell (58%), Flour Mill (56%) and the area south of Ontario St and west of Regent St (56%), all areas in the west and northwest parts of the city. Gatchell and the area west of Regent Street were especially strong for the NDP, as those neighbourhoods are in Ward 1, which Cimino had represented on city council. For the Liberals, they failed to get a majority of the votes in any neighbourhood, but were closest in Bell Park (49.8%) and the area around Laurentian University (49.5%). Both of these areas border along Ramsey Lake. Liberal support was the strongest in areas close to lakes, as the areas along both Ramsey and Nephawin Lake were strong areas for the Liberals. The only part of the city not close to a lake where the Liberals beat the NDP was the New Sudbury subdivision in the northeast corner of the city, where the Liberals edged the NDP 43%-39%. The Tories didn't win any polls in the riding, but they saw their strongest support in the University area along the south shore of Ramsey Lake, winning 27% of the vote (ahead of the NDP). Green support was highest in Bell Park (6%).

Historically, the NDP sees its best results in the northwest of the city, in neighbourhoods like the Donovan, as well as parts of Downtown and Minnow Lake. The Liberals tend to do better in the south of the riding, along Ramsey and Nephawin Lakes, and in parts of New Sudbury. Federally in recent elections, opposition to the NDP has been split between the Liberals and Conservatives in the city, which has allowed the Tories to make inroads in these traditional Liberal areas. In the 2011 federal election, the Liberals were shutout of the city, winning zero polls.

Results of the 2014 provincial election by neighbourhood


Challenging Thibeault and Olivier is the NDP's Suzanne Shawbonquit, an Ojibwe businesswoman. Running for the Tories is Catholic School Trustee Paula Peroni and running for the Greens is Laurentian University professor David Robinson. Forum Research has released a number of polls of the riding, with the most recent one released yesterday (and conducted on Monday). It shows Shawbonquit with a narrow three-point lead over Thibeault (36%-33%), and Olivier at 14%. Trailing the three main candidates are Peroni at 11% and Robinson at 6%. Shawbonquit and Thibeault have been basically tied throughout the campaign, with Olivier's independent candidacy playing the wild card. Forum's mid-campaign poll had Olivier at 22%, but has seen his vote share drop considerably with their most recent poll. Interestingly, this drop has helped the NDP the most, with Shawbonquit up 6 points since January 21, while Thibeault hasn't budged. Local Sudbury pollster OraclePoll has also been polling the race, with their most recent poll (conducted in late January) showing Thibeault leading Shawbonquit 41%-26% (Olivier at 19%). Another pollster, MainStreet Technologies has also been polling the race, with their most recent poll (also conducted Monday) showing Thibeault ahead 32%-28% (Olivier at 14%).

It is likely that Olivier's support will erode even more, as the race has shaped into two-way battle between Thibeault and Shawbonquit. Where will his voters go? So far his erosion has benefited Shawbonquit, but much of his leftover support comes from voters who went Liberal last year. Will those voters hold their nose and vote for Thibeault, or will they hang on and stuck with Olivier? Will Tories switch to Thibeault to stop Shawbonquit, or would they be unwilling to to back a former New Democrat? Another factor I'd be concerned about is possible racism against Shawbonquit. Areas with high Aboriginal populations tend to deal with issues of racism (see Maclean's declaring Winnipeg to be Canada's most racist city), including in electoral politics. I've heard racism may have played a factor in the federal candidacy of Tania Cameron in Kenora, another Northern Ontario riding. While Shawbonquit has an accomplished back story, it might not be enough to quell any racist sentiment.

This race, with its turncoats and bribery (not to mention a politician quitting only a few months after getting elected) can make even the most optimistic citizen feel cynical about politics. And yet, there is a lot at stake for the Liberals and NDP. After the NDP's performance in the last election, many pundits were calling for Andrea Horwath's head, as they felt her party did not do as well as expected, despite the NDP seeing its best result since 1990. A loss tonight, after everything that has happened in this campaign would be a huge blow, and might be the straw to break the camel's back when it comes to Horwath's leadership. For the Liberals, it would mean picking up an important seat in Northern Ontario, which has been trending away from them in recent elections. It would also mean that even after everything that happened, it would prove that they are still very popular. Plus, governments have a reputation for losing by-elections. For Olivier, getting a good result (with Thibeault losing) would be a blow to the Liberals, and would send them a message that they did not play fair in this by-election, and would be at least a personal victory for him. Personally, I believe that Shawbonquit will squeak out a narrow victory, with a margin of anywhere from 1% to 5%. We'll see what happens when polls close at 9pm.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Provincial by-elections today in Newfoundland

In the 2011 provincial election, the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador won just six seats in the 48 member House of Assembly, and were nearly relegated to third party status, behind the NDP. They even finished in third place in the popular vote. Today, the Liberals have more than doubled their seat total, and are up to 14 seats. Tonight, they are likely to increase this to 16. Why? The rise of the Liberal brand across Atlantic Canada, coupled with the lack of popularity of both the governing Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats in the province has allowed the Liberals to win all five by-elections held in the province since 2011, and have benefited from a number of floor crossings from both the Tories and the NDP. Today, there are to more by-elections in the province, and both are currently held by the PCs. They are in Trinity-Bay de Verde on the Avalon Peninsula, and Humber East on the west coast of the province.

Trinity-Bay de Verde

Trinity-Bay de Verde has sat vacant since early in September, when the province's then-Finance Charlene Johnson resigned to move to Asia, where her husband works. Johnson was the youngest woman to ever be elected as an MHA in the province, and was the first member to give birth while in office. It will be a huge shift from managing the province's finances to being a stay-at-home mother in a different country.

The riding is made up entirely of small fishing villages along the coast of the Bay de Verde peninsula, which forms the northwest wing of the larger “H” shaped Avalon Peninsula. The riding begins at the Town of Salmon Cove on Conception Bay in the southeast, and consists of the entirety of the Bay de Verde peninsula north of this point. The riding ends at the community of Hopeall in the southwest, on Trinity Bay. None of communities have more than 1000 people. The largest municipality in the riding is Heart's Delight-Islington with 704 people. Salmon Cove (691) and Old Perlican (661) are the next largest municipalities.

Trinity-Bay de Verde was formed in 1975 when the riding of Trinity South (communities on the south and east coasts of Tinity Bay) was merged the riding of Bay de Verde (communities on the west coast of Conception Bay). Since 1982, the riding has been a perfect bellwether, electing members of the governing party in the province in every election since then.


Carbonear-Bay de Verde
-H.L. Pottle, Liberal (1949-1956)
-G.W. Clarke, Liberal (1956-1971)

Bay de Verde
-W.P. Saunders, Liberal (1962-1972)
-Brendan Howard, Prog. Cons. (1972-1975)

Trinity-Bay de Verde
-F.B. Rowe, Liberal (1975-1982)
-J.G. Reid, Prog. Cons. (1982-1989)
-L.G. Snow, Liberal (1989-2003)
-Ms. Charlene Johnson, Prog. Cons. (2003-2014)

In 2011, Johnson won 62% of the vote in the riding. The Liberals finished second at 24%, and the NDP finished third with 14%. Johnson all but one poll in the riding, losing the community of New Chelsea to the NDP candidate, Sheina Lerman. The Liberals did not win any polls, despite placing second. Johnson's best area in the riding was the villages between Sprout Cove and Low Point along Conception Bay, where she won over 69% of the vote. Her weakest part of the riding was the Winterton/Turk's Cove area on Trinity Bay, where she won 49%. This was the best area for the Liberal candidate, Barry Snow, who won 32% there. Federally, the Bay de Verde peninsula is the most Liberal part of the entire Avalon Peninsula.

Trinity-Bay de Verde 2011 election results by area

Running for the Liberals is Steve Crocker, who is the assistant to Liberal leader Dwight Ball. Running for the Tories is Ronald Johnson, the father of the outgoing MHA. Running for the NDP is Tolson Rendell, who is a town councillor in Heart's Content, a small community on Trinity Bay. As the riding is a bellwether, and with the Liberals way ahead in the polls in the province, there is no doubt in my mind that the riding will be picked up by Crocker. After all, the next-door riding of Carbonear-Harbour Grace was recently won by the Liberals in a by-election, after the Tories won it by an even larger margin than Trinity-Bay de Verde in 2011.

Humber East

Tom Marhsall, Newfoundland's interim Premier before Paul Davis took over in September, not only resigned from the interim premiership, he resigned his seat as well, Humber East. This riding is located in Western Newfoundland, taking in the eastern half of the City of Corner Brook, and extending eastward to include part of the town of Pasadena. While the riding contains a handful of communities in between Corner Brook and Pasadena, the overwhelming majority of the population lives in Corner Brook. The riding is named for the Humber River, which bifurcates the riding, running from Pasadena to Corner Brook.

Humber East is historically much more conservative than Trinity-Bay de Verde. Since 1971, the Liberals have only held it for 7 years, when Bob Mercer represented the riding from 1996 to 2003. Marhsall easily won the riding in 2011 with 78% of the vote, with the Liberals in distant third at 8%. In addition to Marshall, the riding has been represented by one other premier, Clyde Wells, who held the riding from 1966 to 1971.


-C.H. Ballam, Liberal (1949-1956)

Humber East
-J.A. Forsey, Liberal (1956-1962)
-N.F. Murphy, Prog. Cons. (1962-1966)
-C.K. Wells, Liberal. (1966-1971)
-T.C. Farrell, Prog. Cons. (1971-1979)
-Ms. V.L. Verge, Prog. Cons. (1979-1996)
-R.D. Mercer, Liberal (1996-2003)
-T.W. Marshall, Prog. Cons. (2003-2014)

With Marshall winning easily in 2011, it stands as no surprise that he easily won every poll in the riding in 2011. Not only that, he won every single poll with at least 62% of the vote. Marhsall's strongest part of the riding was in the Corner Brook suburbs, winning 83% in Massey Drive and 84% in the Wheeler's Road / Elizabeth Drive area. His weakest area was the community of Humber Village, located halfway between Corner Brook and Pasadena, where he won 73% of the vote. Across the Humber River from Humber Village is the community of Little Rapids, where the NDP did the best, winning 20% of the vote. Steady Brook, a ski resort (as close as one can get to a ski resort in Newfoundland) just east of Corner Brook was the Liberals' best area, where they won 10%. Federally, this area is safe Liberal territory. The Tories have not won any polls in Humber East since 2000 (winning just 2), and have not done well in the area since 1997.

Humber East 2011 election results by area

Out of all by-elections held since 2011, Humber East is the riding that saw the best result for the Tories, and the worst result for the Liberals. The Liberals have been able to pick up four ridings from the Tories since 2011, but none have been safer for the Tories than Humber East. Having said that, other than it being a safer Tory seat than most, I don't see why the Liberals can't eke out a victory even here, as it has gone Liberal in the past, and it's very Liberal on a federal territory. Running for the Liberals is businessman Stelman Flynn, the former president of hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador. Hoping to stop the Liberal onslaught is the PC candidate, Larry Wells, who is the longtime executive assistant to Tom Marshall. The NDP is running Pasadena resident Martin Ware, a retired English professor at the Grenfell Campus (in Corner Brook) of Memorial University.

Polls close at 8pm (6:30 Eastern).