After first week of election, here are my thoughts on how each party performed. I will also briefly touch on polls and what this means.
Liberals: Its fair to say they have not had the best start. Rather than focusing on their post-pandemic plans and their record, its more been about attacking O’Toole and attacks seem poorly thought out and desperate. O’Toole is not Andrew Scheer as I will describe below so painting him as scary and too far to right can be done, but will be a lot harder than it was with Scheer. Basically it seems like Liberals are just trying to throw as much mud as possible and hope something sticks. It may work, but also usually parties tend to save attack ads until final two weeks, so this suggests to me Liberals must not like their internals. So while party had a bad first week, it is still summer and with not a lot paying attention, plenty of time to turn things around. But they will need to do better if they wish to win a majority.
Conservatives: Party has had a very strong start and I was quite impressed with platform. Didn’t agree with every part, but I feel O’Toole is moving party in the right direction, which is closer to the middle where elections are usually won and lost. He has managed to stay on message and not be thrown off by attacks. A few weeks ago, I felt Tories would struggle to hold the seats they now have; but if things continue like first week, I think they have an excellent shot at gaining seats. While a Conservative majority is probably not in the cards, a Conservative minority is a possibility although still not the most likely outcome. Either way Tories should keep on doing what they are doing. Win or lose, at least unlike 2019; they seem to be making the right moves which will serve them well long term.
NDP: Also a strong start and no doubt Singh much like Trudeau is a natural campaigner who connects well with people. Also with Liberals being great on promising a lot, but slow on delivery; I believe Singh has real potential to connect with disappointed progressives, particularly millennials. At same time, platform is so pie in the sky that it doesn’t seem like party’s goal is to win since if they were, they would have a more economically realistic platform. But still around 25% probably like their bold progressive platform and NDP through most of its history has been less about forming government and more pulling country left. It was under a Liberal minority propped up by NDP we got CPP and medicare, so no reason if another Liberal minority same cannot happen. And I believe that is the NDP’s goal.
On the polls, there is no question they are tightening and Liberals are barely ahead and maybe even tied. But its early going and a lot can change. I think unlike earlier, the most likely outcome is a Liberal minority at this point, but I still think a Liberal majority if they can have a better next four weeks is very possible. Likewise Conservatives winning plurality of seats while not most likely outcome, is possible. PPC is polling 5-6% in some polls and I suspect much of that will swing back to Tories as we get closer. Likewise vote is less inefficient than 2019 as biggest drop in Tory support has been Prairies where they can afford to lose a lot of votes without losing seats. Off course even if Tories win most seats does not mean Erin O’Toole becomes prime-minister. If Liberals + NDP + Greens over 170 seats, I expect Trudeau to remain PM, even if Tories win more seats. Likewise if CPC + BQ is over 170 seats, things could get interesting. That being said, if O’Toole wins the most seats, his leadership position is likely safe and he gets another kick at the can. A Conservative majority I don’t see as feasible since when you do a riding by riding breakdown, it would mean winning in all kinds of areas party normally isn’t competitive in. BC and Ontario have shifted enough since 2011 that doing as well as Harper did then is probably not feasible. Yes better than now for sure, but not that good. Only way Tories win a majority is if Quebec swings behind them which I don’t see happening. NDP could do quite well and yes even a win has a remote outside chance. After all, Notley in 2015 and Rae in 1990 started about same place Singh did. But for it to happen; Liberals have to fall to third and you need a surge to start sometime in September and to peak close enough to voting day that parties don’t have time to go on offense. So sure a Tory majority or NDP win are in theory possible, but odds are extremely low. Most likely outcome is Liberal minority, followed by Liberal majority and then Conservative plurality.