Sunday, September 07, 2008

Election Campaign 2008 - Day One - 5 More Weeks!

Sigh... As predicted, I won't be going to the polls to vote in the Guelph by-election tomorrow. Stephen Harper has decided that it was a swell idea to waste all the efforts of the candidates in my riding for the past several weeks, only to cancel the by-election the day before we were supposed to vote.

So instead, this endless campaign will continue for yet another 5 weeks - after what has been a good 31 months of "campaigning". Sadly, I think that the best that I can hope for out of this election is that the campaigning will just continue on indefinitely into the future. I still think the Liberals haven't a hope in hell of a majority, and that their hopes for a minority are pretty darned slim. The best I'm hoping for is that it is just a Conservative minority which emerges from the campaign, rather than a full-blown majority.

My early prediction - which I reserve the right to revise at will - is that there will be another Conservative minority, but only barely short of a majority government. I figure that the Conservatives will pick up at least another 10-15 seats in Ontario, Quebec and BC. Those seats will come at the expense of all three of the other parties. Expect a bit of Liberal-NDP shuffling, as local issues or strategic voting, particularly in some urban ridings, lead to seat switches between the two parties. I'm not yet ready to make a call on the chances of the Greens, although I am hoping (although not expecting) that Elizabeth May bumps off Peter McKay to make life interesting. That said, I'll expect a few strong second-place Green showings.

As for my own riding, the campaign has been dragging on interminably. I don't expect Guelph to be a bellwether this time, largely because the by-election campaign has gone on for so long, allowing local issues to get a lot of play over the past several weeks. My early guess is a Liberal win, with the Greens barely eking out second place over the other two in a very split vote. I think that the fact that we're now into a full-on election campaign will hurt the vote percentages of both the NDP and the Green here, as the two major parties duke it out.

Finally, the only pollster whose numbers I really trust is Nanos. Allan Gregg is a Conservative hack, and his Strategic Counsel is the polling firm I trust the least. The others range between those extremes.

That's all for now. I'll try to keep posting regularly, but right now I'm feeling so disenchanted with my options that I'm not looking forward to this campaign at all. If only we had some form of proportional representation, I wouldn't be feeling quite so pessimistic!

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