Canadian Election Vote Predictor

Hill and Knowlton have set up an election predictor for the Canadian election on 23 January 2006.

[hat tip markrite]


Democrats toying with primary timetable

Democratic party activists are pushing to change the order of the US primaries (the demographics of the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary don't represent the party's base).

However, as this posting on MyDD shows, the process is not straightforward. For starters the State of New Hampshire has a law that requires it to hold the first full primary of election year.

For what it's worth, I think the parties should decide the order they want to hold their primaries. But there is a danger that the U.S. Democratic Party is "fighting the last war" - again. Howard Dean's failure in 2004 to compete in either Iowa or New Hampshire killed his chances of winning the Democratic nomination. In event, I can see no basis for the belief that he would have got more votes than Senator John Kerry did. And if anything, a Howard Dean candidacy would have guaranteed that all the Republicans who came out to back President George W. Bush's re-election, were prepared to stand in queues for hours to vote.

Egyptian elections draw to a messy close

Opposition parties in Egypt are complaining about excessive police intimidation today at polling stations, according to a Reuters report.

Another round of voting is expected next Wednesday (7 December) in those seats where no candidate has secured a majority.

Update: Report of fatal shooting here.

Canada poll suggests a tight race

(via Instapundit)

Ed Morrisey has analysis of AP-Ipsos poll which he compares to a private Robbins Research poll.

Both parties [Liberal and Conservative] get 31% of the national vote, and NDP picks up 18%. BQ gets 14%, all of it from Quebec.

However, the details have to disturb Liberals who hope to return to power in the next Commons. Their support base in Ontario appears to have seriously eroded. Earlier polls show that the Liberals once enjoyed a double-digit lead in their power base. Now that lead has collapsed into a statistical tie with the Conservatives, 37%-35%. The NDP appears to have taken advantage of Liberal slippage, moving up to 21% support in the province. The Tories now outstrip the Liberals in British Columbia, where the Liberals had made inroads in provincial voting last March; the Tories have a 34%-28% advantage on the West Coast province. Liberals only have an outright plurality in the Maritimes; they lead the Tories 24-7 in Quebec but get trounced by Conservative partner Bloc Quebecois, 58-24, showing that the Liberals can expect to lose seats in the region most touched by Adscam.

It begins to look like an interesting contest.

Chavez wins

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Most of Venezuela's main opposition parties are boycotting legislative elections on Sunday that could allow President Hugo Chavez to consolidate his self-proclaimed socialist revolution.

Read the whole story here.

Round up of Canadian election news

A slip-up by Conservative leader Stephen Harper.

Unforeseen loophole? Heh!

But it appears that the major parties (especially the Liberals, who benefit from an abundance of support from corporations and wealthy individual donors Â) stand to gain the most from the unforseen[sic] wrinkle in the elections act.
Andrew Mills, The Toronto Star

The agonies of democratic choice, by a Canadian blogger.

Finally, Mark Steyn has a competition for election watchers.

Canadian election set for January 23

Reported by Fox News:
The election will be held for all 308 seats in the lower House of Commons. The seats in the upper Senate are appointed.

On Monday, the Conservative Party teamed up with the New Democratic and Bloc Quebecois parties to bring down the government, claiming Martin's ruling Liberal Party had lost its moral authority. Recent polls have given the Liberals a slight lead over the Conservatives, with the New Democrats in third place.

The same surveys suggest the Bloc Quebecois would sweep the French-speaking province of Quebec, making a majority government unlikely no matter which party wins the most seats.

Tradesports has the Liberals firm favourites, but slipping. At the moment, details of the corruption scandal that has brought down the government are largely unreported in Canada, thanks to a gagging order issued by a judge. With seven weeks for the more lurid details to circulate the blogs and spread by word of mouth, I'd say the Liberals' strategy will backfire.


The real chance for Democrats in 2006

The RealClear Politics Blog has the lowdown on the approval ratings of U.S. Governors (SurveyUSA did the polling).

If the figures quoted don't shift much in the next few months, we could be looking at a bloodbath for the Republicans in the gubernatorial elections.

California, New York, Ohio and Texas are the biggest serious opportunities for Democrats. With the highly popular Florida Governor Jeb Bush (Republican) standing down due to term-limit constraints, the Democrats will not get a better chance to sweep the biggest states for years.

All is not gloom for the GOP. Six Democrats due for re-election as Governors next year are currently polling less than 50%. One other (in Iowa) has chosen not to seek re-election. Most are in states that were narrow contests in the 2004 presidential election.

California opportunity for Democrats

Next Tuesday (December 6th) sees the second round of a special election (by-election) in the 48th congressional district of California, following the appointment on June 2nd by President George W. Bush of Christopher Cox to the position of Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board (S.E.C.).

The Republican candidate, John Campbell seems best placed to win, as he scored 45.5% of the first round vote. An American Independent candidate came a distant second with 14.8% and the Democrat Steve Young, managed a pitiful 8.7%. A Libertarian and a Green Party candidate will complete the line-up for the run-off. Unusually for a two-round election, in California the leading candidates of all the parties in the first round go through to the second round, instead of the more commonly used method of taking the top two candidates only.

So far, so good for Republicans. The problem lies in the announcement this week that Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham has resigned his seat in Congress following his guilty plea on charges of bribery, tax evasion, mail fraud and wire fraud. He was first elected to Congress in 1990 and was serving his eighth term as a member of the House of Representatives. The Congressional seat in question is the 50th district of California, which covers the County of San Diego.

As these elections returns show from 2004, there is a sizeable Democratic vote in San Diego. If one in five Republican voters stays at home in disgust with "Duke's" ethical performance, the Democrats have a chance of picking up a seat they would otherwise not really compete for. In 2004, the presidential election would tend to have encouraged Republicans to come out and vote, whilst the comparative safety of California as a Democrat stronghold (in presidential elections at least) might have made some of their voters complacent.

Normally, I'd say that a campaign push by the Governor or even the President would be useful. However, apart from helping with fundraisers, neither Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger nor President George W. Bush would necessarily be a positive influence on this election. The recent presidential effort in Virginia for instance did raise a lot of money but failed to change the outcome. In fact, even hosting lavish fundraisers might cause a problem, given the circumstances in which this election has been provoked.

At this time, I still think it would be wildly optimistic for the Democrats to win control of either chamber in Congress. But if they keep holding their Governorships, and pick away at the Republican lead in the House of Representatives, they may hang on until 2008, when the Republicans will be defending large numbers of Senate seats, and they have as yet no clear cut presidential candidate.

[hat tip to The Green Papers]