Today, probably about 40% of the eligible voters of Toronto-Danforth will vote a new Member of Parliament into place, following the death of their old one, NDP Leader/Messiah Jack Layton.
The riding is, in all likelyhood, going to stay NDP. Below is a chart of the riding since the 1999 Ontario provincial election in the riding (remember, Ontario's provincial districts match the federal ones), and follows through every federal and provincial election since then. The circle at the end of the bars is the total vote in Ontario at the time.
Which means that any peddling of BS by the Conservatives that this is "the Liberal's riding to lose" is utterly stupid. In the 10 elections since 1999 in TorDan, only once has it been held by a Liberal, and only once did we come within 5% of winning, and only once did we come within 10% of winning. It's a Dipper riding, that's definitely a fact. The Liberals are the best opposition, since the Conservative's best was in a 1999 provincial election.
So what does that mean for our intrepid candidates in TorDan, the NDP's Craig Scott and the Liberal's Grant Gordon? It means Scott is more than likely to win, and probably by a wide margin, while Gordon will come in second. These are predictions I can stand behind.
Current polling average puts TorDan's numbers at 59% and 20%, respectively. This is in line with the last poll out specifically for the riding, though that was awhile ago. Given it's a by-election and margin of error, plus being generous to my comrades, I'd wager the NDP could be as high as 65% or as low as 50%, while the Liberals could go to 30% or as low as 15%. Either way, it's not a riding that's in play.
But it doesn't have to be just about who wins or loses, it's also about expectations. I think most people expect the NDP to lose some of their shine in the riding, maybe even return to pre-2011 levels of ~45%. However they're also pretty confident, and I'd say anything below 50% is a pretty bad sign that their gains aren't tenable. They can't blame it on the candidate either, since Scott is pretty capable. Luckily for them, I don't think that's going to happen.
For the Liberals, moving below their 2011 numbers is a bad sign right away. Third place is pretty unlikely given the Conservative non-history in the modern riding, recent scandals, and the fact that Andrew Keyes (the Con candidate) can't even be arsed to show up for debates. Then again, neither did Jack...
Small gains above the 18% they got in May would be middling at best, while gains putting them above 25% would probably signify something a little more. Matching what the provincials do in the riding (~30%) would be an excellent sign, while anything above that means the Liberals did something smart here which needs to be replicated across the country. Unfortunately for us, I don't see that in our future.
But we'll see. I'll be liveblogging tonight as the results come in, nothing compared to the triplet by-election liveblog from 2010, but I'll try to make it exciting enough. If you're in the Toronto area (as I will be), stop by and help Grant Gordon's campaign in any last minute preparations. After all, I could easily be wrong (coughWinnipegNorthcough), and Gordon could be Toronto-Danforth's next MP. Who wouldn't want to work on that miracle campaign?