The film Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill tells the true tale of a baseball team that rejects the typically relied upon “gut-feelings” of scouts and begins to rely on computers using advanced statistics and analytics to outrival their opponents in baseball. The team ultimately achieves extraordinarily higher results than what was expected for their organization. I believe that political campaigns and political parties are heading down a similar road, using the aforementioned tactics to increase their ability to get out their vote in the most efficient way possible. So, as I try and anticipate who will win in 2015, I have decided to embrace the spirit of Moneyball and analyze the numbers and past voting trends of federal elections as opposed to going with my gut. In doing so it is becoming abundantly clear that the Conservative Party of Canada will win another strong majority government in 2015. The following is the how and why.
There is currently a Conservative majority in the House of Commons (woot!!) with 161 seats. The official opposition “Bolsheviks” party rings in next with a meager 100 seats, followed by the “natural governing party of Canada” with a strong 34. Allegedly, some other political parties have some representatives as well. This leaves four ridings vacant, to be filled with by-elections before 2015.
The by-elections look to be largely lacklustre, and easily predicted. Let’s keep in mind that since 2006 there have been twenty federal by-elections in Canada and the Conservatives have only lost one incumbency seat in that time. That means that the Conservative record is one of pure victory.
The sole incumbency loss occurred in the typically Liberal Labrador, which means that should be considered an outlier rather than a new trend. Conservatives have done so well that, despite the one minor slip up, they had gained three seats in all of those twenty by-elections before then. The two upcoming by-elections in Manitoba should be very easily retained by the Conservatives. Toronto Centre will most likely go either Liberal or NDP and, subsequently, be broken up in two years for the riding redistribution (but more on that later). Lastly, the Quebec by-election in Bourassa is unpredictable, due to it taking place in Quebec.
This is all to say that the Conservatives should enter 2015 with around 163 seats. In that case, the Tories would only need to gain five more seats to have a subsequent majority government. How they can acquire those five seats, comes from the abovementioned riding redistribution.
Canada will be gaining thirty new federal seats in the House of Commons. British Columbia will gain six seats, Alberta/the Conservatives will be gaining six seats, Ontario will gain fifteen seats, and Quebec will gain three seats. My most timid estimates have the Conservative winning half of those. If the Conservatives can successfully maintain every seat they have secured in the past, and increase their numbers like they have done consistently and dramatically in every general election since 2004, then the Tories will be looking at a subsequent majority with 178 blue ridings.
Trying to get away from scary numbers (if I was good at math I wouldn’t be in politics) I will next discuss the second criteria used to consider how the Conservatives can actually position themselves to continue on the amazing and strong path they have embarked on. Simply presenting ridings in which opportunity is profuse is not sufficient to guarantee victory, there does need to be a solid branding effort injected into the campaign.
Prime Minister Harper and the party are currently marketing themselves as the champions of the middle class. Through policies that will directly address middle class families’ desires such as more comprehensive and less expensive cell phone plans, the termination of mandatory 3 year contracts, reigning in exorbitant roaming fees across Canada, and un-bundling cable packages, the Harper Conservatives are beginning to provide tangible, positive effects for families. These are the types of policies upon which a strong campaign can be built. And, I haven’t even mentioned the HUGE free trade deal that has been negotiated with the European Union that will monumentally benefit all consumers in Canada, particularly small and large business owners.
However, there remain two major impeding factors that the Harper government must address before victory can be assured: senate reform and the federal deficit. In the recent Speech from the Throne, these were both clearly emphasized. The deficit will be balanced by 2015, and legislation will be put forth requiring balanced deficits in normal economic times, thus assuring conservative voters that Keynesian economic practices will never get out of hand. The Senate was similarly discussed, and some sort of reform or abolishment will get under way. Senate reform has been a hallmark of the Conservative party, and everyone is aware of the failures of the Senate.
If there can be real progress made in regards to senate reform and balanced budgets, then I don’t see how the numbers could add up to anything other than a Conservative victory. The Conservatives will be able to show voters concrete results that will continue to better the lives of families across Canada while pleasing their previous base of voters. In doing so, the Conservatives will be able to attract the necessary votes they need to maintain their electoral growth while winning 2015 and cementing themselves as the new natural governing party of Canada.