News and nightmares from the campaign trail

Poll report: Conservatives At The Regina-Lewvan Gates

Over the past couple months I’ve looked at a lot of numbers and I’ve focused mainly on our three pals Tom, Steve and Justin. Seeing what they’re up to; using national poll trackers and seat projectors to sum up what the rest of Canada is thinking. This time I’m going to take a peek at what’s happening in our own backyard; a gander at our local political landscape.

It’s an interesting year for Saskatchewan. The geography of voting has changed as this is the first election with new political boundaries. The new ridings have morphed from hybrid rural/urban ridings, to mostly separate urban and rural areas that will better represent constituents. Many pundits said they would put a nasty dent in the Conservative monopoly we’ve witnessed over the last couple elections, but we’ll see about that in two and a half weeks. The NDP in particular have been anticipating a lot more seats (they currently have zero) — Saskatoon is trending very orange while, here at home, Regina–Lewvan (formerly Palliser) was also counted as a likely seat gain for Team Mulcair. This seems to line up with larger poll aggregates like the CBC Poll Tracker and Nanos, who show Team Orange at the top of the polls with 41.1% of the popular vote.

Great, right? Well… not exactly.

The problem here is that these are not actual polls; they are projection models that draw off data from larger national polls and the last election results. These aggregators also have a significant margin for error.. Eric Grenier, the man behind CBC’s Polltracker, figures even when everything is working, his projection is only accurate about 85.4% of the time. This leaves a lot of room for numbers to slip through the cracks, and because Lewvan is a new riding and there are no past results to draw on, it’s even harder to project outcomes.

The Merchant poll from shows a different story. Merchant has Conservative candidate Trent Fraser leading the way with 34 per cent (six points ahead of the NDP), with a staunch 80 per cent of his supporters claiming they won’t change their minds.

Lewvan was supposed to be a shoe-in for the NDP. In the 2011 election, in the old urban/rural Palliser riding, NDP candidate Noah Evanchuck came in a very close second to beloved CPC incumbent Ray Boughen. How is the party (apparently) now trailing in a more NDP-amenable riding? Is it candidate Erin Weir? Are the poll’s small sample sizes skewing the results? Or did we all underestimate the fact that it’s not just farmers voting for Harper and his minions—silly people live in cities, too?

This is definitely a riding to watch. No doubt about that. /Ashley Rankin

The French Debate: Whole Lotta Niqab

How about that French language debate? Did you see it? Who knew the fate of Canada might turn on the niqab?

The Niqab is a huge wedge issue in Quebec and while it only took up five minutes of the CBC debate, it seems to be the pivot upon which the entire election in Quebec turns.

Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe and Prime Minister Weasel-Face Harper are both adamant that government workers cannot wear the niqab. Tom Mulcair (who Duceppe accuses of having different English and French personas) jabbed the PM by accusing him of hiding behind a niqab. Harper snapped back that this was an issue of equality and women’s rights. Which is great, but deeply off-track given the PM’s record of ignoring women’s issues, such as the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women, pay equity and functional national childcare. SO MAYBE TOM HAS A POINT, STEVE-O.

Elizabeth May, the only woman on stage, tried to point out how the whole niqab debate is a mean-spirited distraction. Duceppe let her nearly finish her point before he shouted her down and all but mansplained to her about how he’s the better feminist.

You want to be in these things, Liz?

Anyway, that sure was a racist debate. /Ashley Rankin