Winner: Me. They weren't dead on, but they were pretty darn close. To be honest, if the Liberals had of taken care of business in their stronghold of Ontario, I think my predictions would have been even closer. In the end, that's the difference between being the guy who gets a couple of pats on the back for his effort and being famous amongst his peers. lol
Anyway, here are the comparisons:
My national predictions (Seats, % Votes)
CPC 136 (35.7), Lib 87 (27.8), BQ 49 (10.8), NDP 34 (19.9) , Ind 2 (0.9), Grn 0 (4.8)
Actual '08 election results (Seats, % Votes)
CPC 143 (37.63), Lib 76 (26.24), BQ 50 (9.97), NDP 37 (18.20), Ind 2 (0.65) Grn 0 (6.88)
Winner: Conservative leader Stephen Harper. Over these next few weeks and months, I'm certain Harper's leadership (and coming up short on a majority) will be cannon fodder for the press. However, unlike some pundits and Ottawa experts, I see another minority as a gift from heaven for the Tory leader. Why? Well, there are several reasons. Firstly, Harper has the full backing of his own caucus and party, unlike the Liberals who will certainly be re-entering unstable times with another leadership race. If Harper is smart (which I'm pretty sure he is), he will do what most Prime Minister's do in this situation. Pull up a chair and be a spectator to what will almost certainly be internal Liberal infighting. I mean, the negative "anonymous sources" in the Globe and Mail mid-election were pretty much evidence of that. Secondly, for someone who wants to change the country to a more conservative ethos via incrementalism, he has positioned himself perfectly. If you don't think so, just look at Pierre Trudeau's journey through governing. The man changed the face of this country while both losing to a weak leader and forming a minority during unsettling times. So there is hope yet for Harper and his mission. And finally, by not forming a large majority, he avoids doing what many of his conservative predecessors did. That being, coming in quickly and abruptly on a blue wave, scaring the political establishment, and then subsequently being shown the door as a result. So yes folks, there are advantages to being in a minority government after all.
Loser: Green party leader Elizabeth May. Not only did she do herself a disservice by running in Central Nova against political heavyweight Peter MacKay, she weakened her party's vision (and other candidates chances in the election) by getting too caught up in her local battle. Plus, it didn't help when she confused her own party supporters by calling for them to throw their support behind Dion in order to stop Harper. In the end, she ended up coming across as the leader of an interest group who could care less about the party she was running under and more about settling scores. It's hard to believe she wants to come back for more punishment in Central Nova, especially when she knows the Liberals will run a candidate.
Loser: NDP leader Jack Layton. Don't get me wrong, the dipper leader is well liked and universally trusted. Unfortunately, this just won't cut it for Jacko. Why? Well, at the same time last week, Mr. Layton was convincing Canadians that he was not only ready to replace the Liberals as Official Opposition, he was ready to be Prime Minister. Now that the big gains failed to materialize, I'm sure many Canadians will question his sincerity on such things, unless you're a die hard NDP supporter who drinks the orange Koolaid and doesn't consider missing official opposition status by more seats then you won altogether a failed mission.
Anyway, if the Liberals are smart, they will take full advantage of Layton's inability to sell himself as Official Opposition leader and, in turn, reclaim some of that territory on the left.
Loser: Liberal leader Stephane Dion. What more can be said then has already been said? Honestly, for a guy who wore an albatross around his neck for 3 months by trying to sell his Green Shift plan, he didn't do all that bad. And for that, people will probably question Harper's ability to win more then his opponents obvious political shortcomings.
Anyway, if there is one thing that Dion should be commended for, it's that he ran a respectful, policy oriented campaign under tough circumstances. I'm sure the next Liberal leader will find out very quickly that it's no picnic running against the Tory machine on a good day. A leader, if history repeats itself, will likely be an anglophone from outside Quebec. Which is probably not a good thing considering they just regained a pulse in Quebec while suffering their worst electoral defeat in Ontario in quite sometime.
Oh well, back to the drawing board for the Grits I suppose.
Winners: Gilles Duceppe and Danny Williams. The two regions (other then Alberta) where the Tories seat count declined. Let's just say, Duceppe's ability to beat back the conservatives from making addtional gains on his Bloc turf was the TSN turning point of this election. Had he not, Harper would certainly be governing from a clear majority this morning.
For the record, NB turnout was above the national average of 2006 this time around. On the flip side, voter fatigue seems to be the worst in Newfoundland and Labrador. No surprise here since they had Danny-boy running around telling them who they could vote for.