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January 13, 2006
Conservatives Headed For Majority

Canadians appear poised to upend all expectations of the electorate, which just weeks ago appeared to suffer from ennui and a sense of the inexorable nature of Liberal government. Instead, the Tories have pushed the election to the brink of a Parliamentary majority and the Liberals might have trouble qualifying as the Opposition, according to projections from the Globe & Mail:

The Conservative Party will come within a few seats of winning a majority government, if current levels of voter support hold up, according to projections by the Strategic Counsel. ...

The projections, which are calculated by running this week's Strategic Counsel poll of more than 3,500 Canadians through a mathematical formula, are that the Tories will win 152 seats on Jan. 23, followed by 74 for the Liberals, 60 for the Bloc and 21 for the NDP. There are 308 seats in the House, so a party needs 155 to form a majority. ...

The latest poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday indicates the Conservatives have the support of 39 per cent of the electorate, compared with 27 per cent for the Liberals, 16 per cent for the NDP and 12 per cent for the Bloc. Conservative support in Quebec appears to have stabilized in recent days at 23 per cent, compared with 48 per cent for the Bloc Québécois, 18 for the Liberals and 8 for the NDP.

The twelve-point gap appears to have solidified in most polling now, showing that Canadians may have firmed up their electoral choices with less than ten days to go before the elections. The last Ipsos poll showed the same gap, and also showed the Tories moving ahead of the Grits in their power base of Ontario, a body blow to the hopes of Paul Martin to retain any notion of holding power. SES Research has the gap at around nine or ten points consistently, and an eight-point gap favoring the Tories in Ontario.

With a majority so tantalizingly close, expect a little pullback of the vote between now and January 23rd. Some Canadians may not want to see anyone in the majority, preferring a negotiated minority government that still puts Stephen Harper in charge, but answerable to Gilles Duceppe or Jack Layton. One presumes that this collapse will spell the end of Paul Martin's political career, and so possibly a purged Liberal Party might wind up joining the Conservatives to form a national-unity government -- but that would likely infuriate the BQ and exacerbate separatist sentiment.

Without a doubt, however, Canadians have awoken from their supposed scandal fatigue to deliver a message to would-be leaders of their government. If they cannot hold themselves accountable for their governance, the voters intend on doing so themselves.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 13, 2006 5:46 AM

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