Friday, January 20, 2006

Fearless Election Predictions!

In ancient China, soothsayers would heat an iron needle until it was red hot, then press the tip against the shell of a turtle (presumably, the turtle had already been removed). The pattern of cracks that radiated out from the point of contact was then interpreted by the seer to give guidance on the future.

This is obviously a crappy way to predict Canadian elections. Everyone knows the best future-readin' comes from looking at the entrails of a shepherd killed by lightning on a remote hillside! Happily, your correspondent at Little Iguanodon has an in with Zeus, and I've arranged for just such a shepherd-slaying. The results were somewhat ambiguous, but I can narrow the results of Monday's vote down to a few options.

Most Likely: Tory minority. I think it will be a bit bigger than the currrent Liberal minority, maybe as high as 140 seats. It all depends on whether they get any traction in Toronto, and so far the polls (I mean, entrails) are no help to them there. They'll scoop quite a few more seats in suburban Southern Ontario, maybe grab a few more in the Maritimes. There aren't enough western seats left for those to make a big difference.

Second Most Likely: Tory majority. A slender one, I think, of barely more than 160 seats. If he scoops up some Toronto ridings and crushes the NDP near Ottawa, in Winnipeg and in BC, it's possible. The Liberals could be reduced to vying with the Bloc over official opposition status.

Unlikely, but possible: Total Liberal collapse. The Libs could lose the way the post-Mulroney Tories were wiped out in '93. They might be reduced to a rump of seats in Toronto. If this happens it will be because many Liberal voters simply stayed home. The NDP and Bloc would do well out of such a scenario, but the Tories would have a crushing majority, maybe 200 seats.

Leats Likely: Liberal minority. If (big, big if) it happens, the entrails say it will be an even smaller one than before.

What about British Columbia? Well, the Tories have already self-destructed in one seat (Thank you, Derek Zeisman) but they're still as strong as before everywhere else. My guess is that the Liberals will be largely squeezed out, the NDP might gain one or two new seats, and the rest of the province will be Tory blue.

The Tory minority I'm predicting won't last long, probably not as long as the last Liberal government. But I have hopes that it could at least accomplish a few things. Electoral reform would be the most valuable, and one of the few ideas they share with the Bloc and NDP. Whether they'll be eager to move to an STV or mixed proportional representation system with the scent of a majority still fresh in their nostrils is debateable.

Now, let's all sit back and watch me be spectacularly wrong!

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