Political Perspectives is produced by the students and faculty of Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication, Canada's oldest journalism school.

OCT 2009

Seat Projection: Comfortable Tory Majority

Posted by padams under All, Political Strategy

Paul Adams

There has been a dramatic shift in the Canadian political landscape in recent months. During the summer, the Liberals gradually gave up the advantage they had enjoyed over the Conservatives during most of the spring; but even as recently as the first weekly poll in September from EKOS (where I participate in the political research), the two leading parties were in an exact tie, at 32.6% each.

That seems like a long time ago. The Liberals have now dipped to historic lows two weeks in a row.

In an EKOS poll released to the CBC today, the Conservatives had 40.7% of the vote, followed by the Liberals at 25.5%, with the NDP at 14.3%, the Greens at 10.5% and the BQ at 9.1%.

Whenever you see this kind of dramatic shift, you hear pollsters talk about the leading party “approaching majority territory” or “in majority territory”. Sometimes, these are just educated guesses, but at EKOS, we have been running our numbers through a seat projection model — one that proved extremely accurate in the last election.

So here’s where we appear to be now. The Tories are now trading in comfortable majority territory. If an election were held today, and the results mirrored EKOS latest poll down to the regional level, this would be the likely result as translated into seats:

Conservatives 167

Liberals 68

BQ 50

NDP 23

Greens 0

Since a bare majority would be 155 seats, a result like this would constitute a “comfortable majority”: that is, not one that would be shaken by the odd defection or by-election reverse. There’s a good chance a parliament like this would last a full four-year term.

In terms of regional strength, the Conservatives would be able to claim that they were a national party, representing every region with a significant number of seats, including Quebec, where the EKOS projection suggests they would hold 10 seats.

The Liberals, in contrast, would hold just 10 seats west of Ontario, almost all of them in British Columbia. They would trail the Conservatives in every region in the country except Quebec, where, despite having similar popular support to the Conservatives, they would win a few more seats due to a more efficient distribution of votes. (The BQ, naturally, would be far away of the other two parties in the province.)

In Ontario – a province that the Liberals were able to sweep in the last decade, winning virtually every seat – the Conservatives would win 68 seats to the Liberals’ 28, and the NDP’s 10.

Of course, as Harold Wilson famously remarked, “a week is a long time in politics”. A lot can change between now and the election in terms of popular support and the distribution of seats.

But if the Conservatives seem to have a special spring in their step these days, while the Liberals seem to slouch a little, this is why.

— adapted from a blog posting on the www.ekospolitics.com website

Paul Adams teaches journalism at Carleton and is executive director of EKOS Research Associates

OCT 2009

Pucks and bucks

Posted by cwaddell under All, Media Commentary

Christopher Waddell

The announcement that the cbc,ca will provide sports content to the National Post while the Financial Post will provide business news content to the CBC, while making for curious bedfellows, is part of a cost-cutting trend of contracting out parts of newspaper/TV news operations to those with more expertise or specialists on staff. In theory the result is fewer reporters and voices but in reality both CBC’s business coverage and the Post’s sports section are anemic at best, so it is hard to see that the outcome will be fewer reporters covering stories. Those cuts were made a long time ago.

In some ways this arrangement is similar to the deal announced earlier this week for additional foreign correspondents and coverage between CBS News and GlobalPost, a Boston web-based international news outlet staffed larger by former foreign correspondents for U.S. news organizations who lost their jobs as their employers retrenched.

It’s a time of uncertainty in the media, so innovation and different approaches are welcome. Some will work and turn out to be great ideas while others will be disasters but that will only be determined by trying them.

The interesting question is whether the deal will moderate the Post’s frequent attacks on the CBC and/or the CBC’s status as PR machine for the National Hockey League.

Christopher Waddell is acting director of the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University. He is a former reporter, Ottawa bureau chief, national editor and associate editor of the Globe and Mail and a former CBC-TV parliamentary bureau chief and executive producer-news specials for CBC TV News.