Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Other provinces have elections too: Newfoundland Edition

Over on the Rock, the Tory dynasty is strong - so strong, in fact, that even the loss of its personable leader, replaced with a monotonous cabinet minister who probably orchestrated the entire thing, can still get their party over 50% of the vote.

Kathy Dunderdale, who become Newfoundland and Labrador's premier just a few short months ago in an uncontested race to replace Danny Williams, is heading to the polls against Opposition leaders who one could call less-than-impressive, and is widely expected to win the race with relative ease. In fact, 308.com's projections have Dunderdale's PCs leading by roughly 25% over the New Democrats lead by Lorraine Michaels of St. John's, while the Liberals lead by Kevin Aylward are behind with just 18% - and that's just the most recent poll. That's good for a 40-4-4 result, in terms of seats.

That might seem impressive, except in 2007, the PCs won 44 seats with just under 70% of the vote. That's impressive, and probably had Williams stayed on, we might've seen a bigger win. But, alas, no Danny.

But, there's more to the Rock than just a PC sweep. The battle for second place will be interesting to see, since the NDP have never even come close before, at least not provincially; federally, they've been the second most popular party, behind the Liberals, since the 2008 election.

But now, Lorraine Michael's seems to be leading a party with just enough momentum to propel them past the struggling Liberals, lead by the aforementioned Kevin Aylward, who became leader a month before the election call, when former leader Yvonne Jones stepped down due to her fight with breast cancer.

Michaels is the heir of Jack Harris, the immensely popular federal MP for St. John's East, and leader of the provincial Dippers from the mid-1990's to the mid-2000's. And one has to assume that thanks to the boost in popular that the federal NDP have received in the province in the last two federal elections is finally coming home to roost for the provincial party, and Michaels, not impressive as a leader in the least (from what I've seen, anyways), is just along for the ride.

But, for what I know of Kevin Aylward, she's probably the next Obama. While he means well and will probably give it his best shot, Aylward is yet another former cabinet minister with what seems to be little inflection in his voice. Maybe I haven't heard enough - the debates are tonight, as I'm told - but I don't see his path going well. They're not getting nearly as much media attention as the Official Opposition should, and they have little momentum. Third-party status could be in the books for the Liberals, who survive federally because of popular incumbents; problem for the provincial Liberals is they barely have incumbents. They have four seats - they may just hold on to all four of them, but if they gain more, I'd be surprised.

(Incidentally, Canadian Election Atlas has them winning eight, thanks to various vote splits and drops.)

1 comment:

  1. According to my numbers, the NDP will win 5:
    Signal Hill (solid)
    St. John's Centre
    St. John's East
    Burin-Placentia (solid)
    Labrador West (solid)

    and the Liberals, 4:
    Cartwright (solid)
    Burgeo (solid)
    The Isles of Notre Dame (solid)
    Port de Grave (solid)

    The NDP is an additional threat in 4:
    Conception Bay
    St. John's North
    St. John's South
    and Virginia Waters, the Premier's own riding

    The Liberals are an additional threat in 4:
    Bellevue
    Bay Islands
    Humber Valley
    Torngat Mountains

    The Liberals, however, are a "closer threat" than the NDP in these ridings, and the NDP may not be able to win all the ones I've outlined if they are not as strong as some polls suggest they are.

    PC 31-39-41
    NDP 3-5-9
    Lib 4-4-8

    Worst-Projected-Best

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