The Liberals will win another majority government!!!!
Okay, well, it isn't that bold and is pretty much what everyone else is saying or will say on election night. If you caught the debate last night, nothing in it really laid out massive changes in momentum for any of the party leaders, so I don't suspect the race will be much different from the puttering along it did before.
In fact, if anything, the credibility of all four leaders in this debate was reinforced rather than hampered, leading to stalled momentum for everybody.
PC Leader Rob Lantz came off a little amateurish at points, maybe a little too eager as well, but he did well. Lantz reminds me a lot of John Tory, however - a man in a business suit, not too much personality so you could really write whatever you wanted on him. Is that a good thing or bad thing, I don't know, but he certainly has the credibility to be a leader - maybe give him some time in the legislature and he'll come off a bit more three-dimensional.
Liberal Leader Wade MacLauchlan was kind of monotoneish, but nowhere near as bad as Brian Jean or David Swann in Alberta's debate - I think part of the problem is his voice, as he has a very low, kind of scratchy voice, the kind a university professor droning on about Plato's republic or whatever would have, which makes given that he was a professor. MacLauchlan was probably the most quick-witted last night as well, scoring some comeback digs whenever he was criticized, one against Bevan-Baker in particular involving Anne of Green Gables' hair colour that got a good chuckle out of everyone. Overall, a good night for him.
NDP Leader Mike Redmond did alright as well, I suppose. I don't think he came off as well as Lantz or MacLauchlan, as his rhetoric seemed very flat (imagine someone saying "eduction, education, education!" and it being the most boring statement ever) and I kind of dozed off whenever he came on, maybe I just expected more following his political cousin's performance in Alberta, I don't know. No major flubs though, kept up with the others and represented his party well enough.
Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker was probably the most interesting and engaging person of the night, though that is a common thing with Green candidates - they're very friendly. Another common thing with Green candidates is that they are also unprepared half the time, exemplified by the fact that Bevan-Baker had to pull out his platform at one point so he could read what his party was saying on education. Maybe the attitude is different in PEI, but that right there would raise some eyebrows for me. The guy easily kept my attention when he spoke though, so that is the important thing.
One thing I disliked heavily about these debates was the audience. I suppose I'm spoiled because I'm used to silent audiences in other leaders debates, but they allowed audience members - full of partisans - to cheer, laugh, and groan at the various leaders as they answered, it was horrendous. Again, I know its PEI and things are hyper-local and different there, but I don't remember allowing audience members to cajole or cheer in any municipal debates here, which are on a similar scale.
Anyway, since I don't think any other polls are going to be released for the election, I'll just give my generalized projection now. This is based on the two polls that were released (Abingdon and CRA, you can see both here at 308) and my general feelings about where things are going:
Liberal Party: 45% - 13 to 22 seats
PC Party: 40% - 5 to 14 seats
New Democratic: 9% - 0 to 1 seat
Green Party: 6% - 0 to 1 seat
I think the PCs have enough momentum and returned credibility with Lantz as leader to keep at where they were roughly were in 2011, about 40% of the vote. I feel any losses to the NDP or Greens from the PCs will be offset by people upset with or looking for a slight change from the Liberals. I think Lantz has a very good chance of winning his own seat in Charlottetown-Brighton (Ghiz's old seat) as well, so I gave it to him. There is an outside chance Lantz could pull off a majority, but it is very outside, like down at the next block.
That means most of the drop in vote will be from the Liberals, which should be expected - they are the incumbent, saddled with baggage and questions about their record, and while MacLauchlan is a new leader with good support behind him, it is hard to see some people staying with the party, especially since Lantz is hardly a scary guy. That, plus the arrival of two credible third parties that are attempting to appeal directly to ideologues that would probably vote Liberal - such as those concerned about abortion access on the Island - means a good portion of their vote could drift off.
That all being said, I suspect the vast majority of previous Liberal voters will stick with the party, and they have the leading edge in terms of support, so I expect them to retain their majority. There will be some ridings lost however, I don't think there is any getting around that.
While the Greens and NDP will do well their leaders, I only gave them the possibilities of winning their own seats. It is hard to see them winning anywhere else, with the exception of a couple of Charlottetown seats which are still stretches to the imagination. I think Bevan-Baker has a greater chance of winning his seat than Redmond does as well.
I'll cover what happens on May 4th, we'll see how well my political instincts fair.