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.