For we Westerners, few things are as frustrating as awaiting the results on election night.
In years past, it’s been infuriating, watching the TV meat puppets declare a winner before polls have even closed past the Lakehead.
In 2015, unfortunately, that’s unlikely to change.
Individual polls lie, these days. But many surveys, taken over many months, give us some reliable insight into election night outcomes – region by region.
ATLANTIC: Liberal leader Justin Trudeau owns Atlantic Canada. Here, Trudeau is the man to beat, and he is going to be tough to beat. In the half-dozen polls that have been conducted in the Atlantic in recent weeks, in fact, Trudeau has registered support in excess of 50 per cent. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives can lay claim to only half that amount – while the New Democrats are favoured by about one-in-five.
This is no flash in the pan: Trudeau’s Grits have been registering big levels of support for months, and can reasonably expect to take the region in 2015. It’s worth recalling, however, that John Turner did likewise in 1988, winning far more of the Atlantic popular vote than Brian Mulroney. And Mulroney still went on to capture a huge Parliamentary majority.
QUEBEC: As always, there are two Quebecs: the one that is the Island of Montreal, and the one that isn’t. On the former, Trudeau again dominates.
The greater Montreal area is home to the majority of the province’s non-francophones, and it is here that Trudeau enjoys extraordinary levels of support. In Montreal, up to 75 per cent of the electorate have signaled their intention to vote for the youthful Liberal leader. The Liberals outpace the New Democrats two-to-one in Montreal, and enjoy a hefty three-to-one advantage over the Conservatives.
Off the island, it’s a different story. Polling firms such as CROP, Angus Reid and Leger have all lately declared the NDP more popular than the Grits among francophones, and in the rest of Quebec. Similarly, these voters see New Democrat leader Thomas Mulcair as the best choice for Prime Minister. If the NDP runs a strong campaign in Quebec, Mulcair could easily emerge with about as many seats in la belle province as Trudeau – about 35 – with Harper taking less than ten.
THE WEST: As with previous Liberal leaders, Trudeau has repeatedly signaled his desire to win many more seats in the West. As with previous Liberal leaders, however, he’s unlikely to do so.
Unlike 2011, Manitoba is now more receptive to the Liberal Party, but pollsters like Ipsos suggest that the Conservatives still maintain a double-digit lead there. Elsewhere – specifically in Alberta and Saskatchewan – a synthesis of polling results show the Conservatives with an even greater lead. Historically, Alberta and Saskatchewan have been the Tory heartland, and that’s not going to change now. Only in B.C. is an across-the-board race underway, with all three national parties in a tight three-way fight.
ONTARIO: There’s a reason why we skipped over Ontario. As in 2011, it’s where the 2015 election outcome is going to be decided.
That’s why Stephen Harper has lately been spending more time – and spending more of your money – in Ontario. It’s paying dividends, too: outside Toronto, Trudeau’s Liberals have been declining in recent weeks, and Harper’s Conservatives have been trending up. Toronto itself is indisputably Fortress Liberal – but outside Toronto, in the suburbs and beyond, Harper is favoured.
In 2011, the Harper Conservatives won their majority in Ontario, taking an astonishing 73 seats. As things stand now, they’re unlikely to repeat that feat – but seat projections taken from a massive and recent Ipsos poll, for instance, suggest Harper will still win more Ontario seats than Trudeau or Mulcair.
It could be Spring election, or a Fall election. It could be a majority or a minority government.
But one thing’s for sure:
Westerners will be frustrated by it all, yet again.