It is a little mind boggling to a lot of folks that despite all that has happened so far in the 2015 federal election, Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada continue to stay up in the polls.
The latest polls in aggregate have the Conservatives slightly ahead at 32%, with the Liberal in second at 30% and the NDP at 27%. Really when it comes to margins of error it is a dead heat, or at the least for the Liberals and the Conservatives.
Now putting aside the fact that I actually put almost no faith in modern polling techniques, I am still a little baffled that the Conservative Party of Canada is still polling so prominently. Any one of an economic recession, corruption charges or a refugee crisis should spell disaster for any party, in any election, in almost any democratic country.
But the Conservatives are holding despite experiencing all three of these death knells.
So what is going on? How is the Conservative Party of Canada holding on? I have two insights (please take them for what they are worth).
As an avid politico, I am starting to look at what ridings are shaping up to be interesting (at least to me) in this federal election. I mainly base my choice on the traditional, tried and true notion of "swing" ridings, where candidates have won in the past by a narrow margin against their opponents.
So here are three battleground ridings I am watching right now and I will add more in other posts over the coming weeks. Would be great to hear what other ridings you political junkies out there are keeping and eye on.
1. Scarborough Centre
This riding is currently held by Conservative MP Roxanne James who is known as a bit of a right-wing firebrand. James only beat the Liberal candidate by just over 1,000 votes in 2011, making this a tight race to watch this time around. Roxanne James is up against Liberal Salma Zahid, New Democrat Alex Wilson and Green candidate Lindsay Thompson.
This riding in the east end of Ottawa is currently held by Conservative MP Royal Galipeau, but in the 2011 election the Liberals lost this riding by less than 5,000 votes. Not as tight as James's margin, but enough to make it a swing that could go back to the Liberals in this election (the NDP were a very far third, but you never know!). Royal Galipeau has held this riding through three elections, but with change in the air this Fall who knows what might happen here. Galipeau is running against Liberal candidate Andrew Leslie and NDP candidate Nancy Tremblay Winfield.
3. Port Moody-Coquitlam
This is a new (-ish) riding in BC created under the most recent redistribution and it is going to be a good one to watch, as local Conservative stalwart MP James Moore sits adjacent to this one. The Conservatives have put in place a "star candidate" here by the name of Tim Laidler. Redistributed results in 2011 saw the Conservatives squeak by in this riding with only 4,623 votes between them and the NDP. Running in this riding we have sitting MP Fin Donnelly for the NDP, Laidler for the Conservatives and Marcus Madsen for the Green Party.
We have had some people asking us about strategic voting in their ridings. While we have in the past offered advice about strategic voting, we will not be doing so for the 2015 election. If you are interested in strategic voting we suggest you check out Vote Together.
We've had a great response to our request for donations to build our Vote Buddy / Votons! application. Thank you to everyone who donated. We've also had a lot of requests for more information about it. So here goes.
In the last two elections we were very active in the strategic voting arena. There are several other groups doing that this cycle, including LeadNow, so we want to do something different. We want to turn out more young voters than ever before. Here's how:
La version française suit.
Voter turnout is a growing problem in Canada. Yet, many experts including Canada's Chief Electoral Officer say our new election laws make it even harder to vote.
With the election campaign now underway, Project Democracy is sponsoring a new nonpartisan campaign to counter that. We're launching a tool that will help people help their friends get out to vote.
It's called Vote Buddy and we want to use it to get more young people out to vote. But we need to raise $40,000 right away to build the tools and staff the project through election day.
Will you kick in what you can to help us reach our goal?
By focussing on social and mobile tools, Vote Buddy will support the lowest turnout age group, 18-34.
We're building a two-part campaign:
1) a tool help people help their friends vote and support Vote Buddy.
2) a tool to inform and support voters directly.
We will launch this tool in early September and build momentum right up to the actual voting period.
We need your help to do this. It will cost $40,000 to build and staff this campaign through voting day. Any extra funds we raise will be used to advertise the campaign.
The last election was determined by just 6,201 votes across 14 ridings. Voting matters.
Please chip in right away and help us get to our goal of raising $40,000 to get Vote Buddy off the ground and young people to the polls this election.
Le taux de votation est un problème de plus en plus criant au Canada. Plusieurs experts, dont le directeur général des élections du Canada, disent que nos lois électorales compliquent la tâche des électeurs.
Avec le déclenchement des élections, Projet Démocratie commandite une campagne non partisane destinée à renverser cette situation. Nous lançons un outil qui aidera les gens à faire voter leurs amis et connaissances.
Cet outil s’appelle Votons! et nous souhaitons nous en servir pour faire en sorte que davantage de jeunes aient voter. Par contre, nous devons amasser 40 000 $ dès maintenant afin de développer la technologie.
Pouvons-nous compter sur votre aide afin d’atteindre notre objectif?
En ciblant les outils sociaux et mobiles, Votons! vise le groupe qui vote le moins, soit les 18 à 34 ans.
Notre campagne aura deux volets :
1) un outil destiné à encourager vos amis à voter et à soutenir Votons!
2) un outil destiné à informer et à soutenir directement les électeurs.
Nous ferons le lancement de cet outil dès le début septembre et nous le ferons connaître jusqu’au moment du scrutin. Mais nous avons besoin de votre aide. Il en coûte 40 000 $ pour le développer et pour payer notre campagne jusqu’au bout. Toute somme supplémentaire que nous amasserons servira à annoncer la campagne.
La dernière élection s’est décidée par à peine 6 201 voix réparties dans 14 circonscriptions. Chaque vote compte.
Faites un don
Contribuez dès maintenant afin de nous aider à atteindre notre objectif de 40 000 $ qui permettra de lancer Votons! et de faire voter les jeunes.
Given that we could be going into a federal election here in Canada as early as this weekend (sigh) and I have a lot of folks asking me about the rules and regulations around election advertising by third parties, I thought I would share the most important points for those interested in knowing more about the regulations.
To be clear, I am not a lawyer, just a guy who can't help but stick his nose in elections. I actually hope this summary sparks a few more people to get involved as third parties in this election.
A new poll out today conducted by Abacus Data has the Harper Conservatives way out in front of the other parties with an 8-point advantage.
Given all the trouble with polls over the last few years, who knows what to make of it.
Interesting to see if other polls in the near future replicate these findings -- then that would spell trouble for Mulcair, Trudeau and May, at least in the short term.
At the least it should be a bit of wake up call for anyone thinking Harper is sure to get the boot in this Fall's election.