Well reader, tomorrow is the day. Across the country hundreds of campaigns are scrambling to complete the last bit of work before millions of Canadians cast their ballots. If polls are to be trusted (which they should not be) the election night will be a big disappointment to my fellow New Democrats and we will likely be in a minority parliament for the next couple of years. Many websites this time around have presented models and projections for what the outcome will be for each seat. It will be interesting to see how much egg ends up on their collective faces. I will be spending election day working for my local NDP candidate after I cast my ballot. Then I will be going through my long-standing tradition of watching the results with a drink and some popcorn.
I think this election will be very tricky to predict on a seat-by-seat level. The strength of the NDP coming into the election, the resilience of the Conservatives and the growth of the Liberal and Bloc vote makes the likelihood of strange splits more likely.
My prediction is not based on sophisticated polling or modeling. It reflects a synthesis of the information I have looked at and my own gut instinct.
I think it is fair to say that the Conservatives face an uphill battle in the North. The question is whether or not the splits will be severe enough to allow their election. At this point I'd say the NDP will be returned in the Northwest Territories and the Liberals have a good shot at picking up Yukon and Nunavut. They are likely to be close though, so keep an eye on them. If the Liberals or NDP could bring down Leona Aglukkaq in Nunavut it would be a big loss for the Tories.
Ridings to Watch: Nunavut
CPC - 0
LPC - 2
NDP - 1
GPC - 0
The Conservatives seem doomed in Atlantic Canada. Their changes to Employment Insurance has disproportionately hurt this region. The opposition parties have both been buoyed as the Conservatives have slipped. The Conservatives have almost no hope to pick up new seats in Atlantic Canada, the question is how much they will lose. In Newfoundland it will be a sea of red, five of the seven seats should safely go Liberal. The NDP should be able to hold on to St. John's East, but it will be a fight between them and the Liberals to hold on to St. John's South-Mount Pearl.
The rise of the Liberals in Nova Scotia has put a number of NDP seats at risk. Popular MP Meagan Leslie could even lose her seat in Halifax, but I believe she'll hold on. The rest of the province will probably go to the Liberals.
New Brunswick is the Conservatives best hope in Atlantic Canada. They should hold on to three or four seats in that province. The NDP should continue to hold Acadie-Bathurst. More urban ridings in New Brunswick will be likely to flip to the Liberals such as Fredericton, and Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe.
PEI should return to a Liberal stronghold.
Ridings to Watch: St. John's South-Mount Pearl, Halifax, Saint John-Rothesay, Miramichi-Grand Lake.
CPC - 3
LPC - 20
NDP - 3
GPC - 0
The biggest story of the last election, the Orange Wave, is being challenged in Quebec. At the start of the campaign it looked like the NDP might expand their advantage in the province. However the race broke apart with Conservative, Liberal and Bloc support growing. This is by far the hardest prediction/projection to make. With four competitive parties it is possible to win with a very small number of votes, comparatively speaking. I suspect that the Conservatives may enjoy a significant advantage from these divides.
Ridings to Watch: Trois-Rivieres, Saint-Maurice-Champlain, Quebec City, Marc-Aurele-Fortin, Louis-Herbert, Laurentides-Labelle, Beauport-Limoilou.
CPC - 15
LPC - 24
NDP - 35
GPC - 0
BQ - 4
If any party wins a majority it will from a breakthrough in Ontario. There are three regions in particular to look at in this election: Toronto, 905, and Southwestern Ontario. Toronto should see the Conservative get rolled up by a Liberal wave. The Liberal strength has put NDP seats in jeopardy in the downtown. The Conservatives built their majority with seats in the 905. Both the Liberals and NDP are poised to make gains against the Conservatives. Halton Region, Peel Region, York Region and Durham Region are real battlegrounds. Southwestern Ontario is a different beast. The NDP have been hopeful for years that their appeal could work in Southwestern Ontario. With Conservative support slipping there are real opportunities in places like Sarnia, Brantford and Essex.
Ridings to Watch: University-Rosedale, Oshawa, Oakville, Kenora, Eglinton-Lawrence, Brantford-Brant Brampton East.
CPC - 45
LPC - 59
NDP - 17
GPC - 0
Support in the Conservative heartland is waning which gives fresh opportunities to the NDP and the Liberals. However, the deeply unpopular NDP government in Manitoba is hurting that parties' chances. Therefore we're likely to see Liberal gains in Manitoba and NDP gains in Saskatchewan. The new urban ridings in Saskatchewan offer a real opportunity to the NDP to re-establish a presence in that province.
Ridings to Watch: Saskatoon-Grasswood, Regina-Lewvan, Elmwood-Transcona, Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley, Churchill-Keewatinook Aski.
CPC - 16
LPC - 5
NDP - 6
GPC - 0
The idea of solid Conservative Alberta will likely take another beating on Monday night. With Conservative support down and a larger number of urban ridings the Liberals and NDP are ready to pick up seats in Alberta. Calgary and Edmonton are the most likely to yield results, but the NDP has been targeting Lethbridge as a potential area for pick-up.
Ridings to Watch:
Calgary Confederation, Edmonton Centre, Edmonton Griesbach, Lethbridge, St. Albert-Edmonton
CPC - 28
LPC - 4
NDP - 2
GPC - 0
This province might give the NDP the best news of the evening. BC has been more of a Conservative-NDP battleground than anywhere else. If NDP strength holds out a lot of seats could fall their way. The wildcard is Green support. The Greens early on showed a great deal of popular support on Vancouver Island, at times enough to win a second seat. The question is whether or not it will pan out.
Ridings to Watch: Burnaby North-Seymour, Fleetwood-Port Kells, Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, Surrey Centre, Victoria.
CPC - 15
LPC - 10
NDP - 16
GPC - 1
CPC - 122
LPC - 124
NDP - 80
GPC - 1
BQ - 4
My gut tells me the Conservatives will win more seats than the models currently suggest, and perhaps even the most seats after tomorrow night. The NDP will make gains in parts of the country but their weakened position in Quebec will cause them to lose ground overall in the House of Commons. This outcome is very uncertain though. It is possible that the Conservatives may win the most seats with fewer votes than the Liberals, or that the splits result in incredible surprises, much like what we saw in 2011. Or, perhaps the Liberals have enough momentum to start their own Red Wave and form a majority. We'll know the general shape of the result around midnight Tuesday. Fingers crossed for no voting problems, everyone have a good E-Day!