Monday, October 21, 2013

Liberals Lead in 3 out of 4 By-Elections: Forum Poll

As most should be aware by now, our dear Prime Minister has called four by-elections for November 25th, just over a month away. Those ridings are Bourassa, Toronto Centre, Provencher, and Brandon-Souris (the latter two which I don't have a posts up for yet), vacated by two Liberals and two Conservatives respectively.

Forum Research has conducted the first polling among respondents in these ridings, and the news is great for Liberals, bad for the Conservatives, and bone-chillingly terrible for the New Democrats.

Both of the Liberal incumbent ridings are, according to this poll, theirs to lose right now. Chrystia Freeland in Toronto Centre hits 45% support, compared to just 30% for NDP candidate Linda McQuaig. It isn't a far cry from Rae's 2011 numbers overall, but Freeland starts off with an early advantage. Emmanuel Dubourg in Bourassa has a 19-point lead over his NDP opponent, Stéphane Moraille, a former member of a band I've never heard of. While Dubourg has seen a slight jump in support over what former Mp Denis Coderre managed in 2011, Moraille's party has seen its support collapse, just barely above the Bloc. A lot of that may have to do with the presence of Georges Laraque in the poll, whose candidacy for the Greens shot them up to 12% support, way above their usual level anywhere in Québec. Laraque is, of course, no longer on the ballot, so we'll see where his support moves to in future polls.

The big news to come out of this poll is what is happening in Brandon-Souris. There was some controversy there earlier this summer over the Conservative's nomination process which got a lot of local and national play. It seems to have turned the population against the government, as Liberal candidate Rolf Dinsdale, a former member of a band I have heard of , is ahead of former PC MLA Larry Maguire, 39% to 35%. The NDP and Green candidates sit at 12% each, though I'm not as surprised by the Green vote here, as Brandon-Souris has tended to be one of the Green's better rural ridings.

While we can't really say its been the nomination troubles that caused Maguire's deficit currently, it does seem a good bet. As we saw with Joan Crockett's troubles in Calgary Centre, these muckings about that Conservatives seem to be prone to with their nomination processes can have a severe impact among the electorate, demotivating their usual supporters while inspiring the opposition's voters with that glimmer of hope that the riding is in play. With Trudeau's appeal as a candidate certainly not harming the Liberals at this point, and no major support for the NDP or Greens a la the Greens in Calgary Centre, Dinsdale seems in a good position to become the first Liberal representative for Brandon-Souris in well over a decade.

Finally, the Conservatives retained a strong lead, though diminished, in Provencher, with their candidate Ted Falk registering 56%, but that was always expected. The surprise here is the Liberal's Terry Hayward taking 29% support in the poll, with the NDP back at 9%.  That is a huge reversal of fortunes if true.

While riding polls should be taken with a grain of salt at best, the trends don't bode well for the Conservatives, and especially not the NDP. They are somewhat competitive in Toronto Centre, but they've dropped far behind in the other three ridings. Whatever they're currently doing is not grabbing the attention of voters, and if they want to have any chance of saving face they need to revamp their strategy now, before its too late.


  1. I don't think that the NDP has to win any riding during this round of by-elections. However, the party should be able to garner more support in Toronto-Centre and Bourassa. Generally, there is not as much focus on the party leaders during by-elections. The leaders matter more during general elections. I do think that Tom Mulcair will be a formidable leader during the next general election.

    While Linda McQuaig will have a lot of campaign people supporting her, it will be an uphill battle in Toronto-Centre as she will probably not gain votes from those living in the rich neighbourhood of Rosedale. Those votes will likely go to the Liberal candidate in order to stop McQuaig.

  2. These polls mean less than little, the nature of byelections being what it is. However, the low turnout gives those with strong GOV machinery a healthy edge in the final results. These polls, if they are replicated closer to election day, can be a big motivator for the former Big Red Machine, which has to be consider third in its recent successes. Mulcair can't be complacent and Harper needs to boost his base -- but for us Liberals, there should be 3 separate but similar strategies. First and foremost, the focus should be on local candidates and Justin's theme of working to help the middle class, and change. In our ridings, we need to sharpen our message about being the 'option' without dismissing our competition.
    In Manitobe, where we should play up the fact we are more than underdogs, but fiesty dogs, it would help if party members locally and from outside the riding sent letters to the local paper hammering the Cons for their treatments of veterans, its horrid work in food safety, their agricultural agenda and its terrible fiscal record.
    On another note, I can only guess the poor little tears that people like the Pundit Guide and fellow ndpers are crying at this sense of deja vu...

  3. I live in the Brandon Souris riding. If the FORUM numbers hold true it would be a wonderful miracle. Rolf Dinsdale is the son of the late, long serving PC MP for this riding. He's the wildest, most interesting candidate I've seen in a long time. The fact he could possibly win this bible belt, staunchly conservative riding is, in my mind, inconceivable. Hope it's true.

    Originally, I wasn't going to vote as it is a lost cause here, but then when Rolf won the Liberal nomination (against a former Con who was pissed off at the way Maquire won that Party's nod) I decided I'd throw my support there. Then decided I'd vote for either Liberal or NDP (who also has a great candidate) - whoever had the best chance against the Con candidate, Maguire - a old, tired current MLA who actually lost this same riding when he ran in the federal election when the right vote was split between Reform abd PC. Sweet if he were to lose again.

    If this poll is true - Rolf has my vote. I'll even venture on at the end of November on the prairies.

  4. We have included your post in our 'Around the Blog' section at

  5. Freeland just revealed what she really thinks about Justin's qualifications: