By Colby Cosh - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 0 Comments
The aftereffects in Alberta of the Nov. 26 Calgary-Centre federal byelection, carried off by Conservative Joan Crockatt with just 37 per cent of the vote, have officially become super hilarious. The reader will recall that the two main challengers for a Conservative seat in a relatively liberal-friendly part of Calgary were the capital-L Liberal Harvey Locke, who has spent decades as a top wilderness preservation advocate and all-around Nature Boy, and the Green Party’s Chris Turner, an urbanist author and magazine writer who uses the word “sustainable” with a frequency best characterized as “intolerable”. In short, the two parties both nominated professional environmentalists, neither of whom have done a whole lot else with their lives. We could all probably have anticipated a problem here.
How does a Green candidate run against a Harvey Locke? Turner was shrewd and cynical enough to find an answer: berate the older guy as an out-of-touch Seventies green who, as Locke had admitted in an interview, didn’t even move to Calgary from Banff until it looked like there might be a Commons seat available amid Cowtown’s dark Sanatic mills. (Asked by your correspondent if she approved of this campaigning style, Elizabeth May observed that the GPC is not one of those old-fashioned “top-down parties” in which the leader orders candidates about.) Locke, for his part, spluttered that his young rival was a “twerp”. Continue…
By Colby Cosh - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 9:20 AM - 0 Comments
Last night’s Calgary Centre by-election, won by media personality and former newspaper editor Joan Crockatt, was held in the most pro-Naheed Nenshi part of what is now a very pro-Nenshi city. Like Crockatt last night, Nenshi exploited a split opposition to win the Calgary mayoralty in 2010. But Calgary’s civic Ward 8, which makes up about two-thirds of the Calgary Centre riding, is a place where the mayor dominated all other contestants combined, taking 58% of the vote. The Green Party’s Chris Turner has close ties to Nenshi (though the mayor didn’t endorse anybody), and Turner was clearly hoping to capitalize on that success, employing Nenshi campaign staffers and Nenshian social-media tactics.
It earned him 26% of the vote. That’s still an amazing figure for a Green Party-labelled candidate in Calgary—especially an unknown one with essentially no pre-existing local political apparatus to exploit. From a standing start, Turner earned 20 votes for every three cast for the NDP’s Dan Meades.
The more meaningful pre-election data, however, may have come not from 2010 but from this year’s provincial election, in which Calgary Centre covers about the same area as three downtown constituencies: Calgary-Elbow, home base of both Ralph Klein and Alison Redford; Calgary-Buffalo, the city’s Liberal stronghold; and Calgary-Currie. The right-wing Wildrose Party got 12,694 votes there in April, and one would have to think that many of them were among the 10,201 who made it out to vote for Conservative Crockatt last night. (Her campaign was as Wildrose-heavy as Turner’s was Nenshi-heavy.) The Liberals had 8,449 provincial votes in the zone, and federal Liberal Harvey Locke got 9,034 last night.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 26, 2012 at 9:18 PM - 0 Comments
Welcome to live coverage of tonight’s by-elections in Victoria, Calgary Centre and Durham. Results should start coming in after 10pm when polls close in Victoria. We’ll be here all night (or at least as long as it takes to exhaust whatever drama can be found).
Some numbers by which to measure the night. First, the vote percentages from the 2011 election in each riding.
If you combine the 2011 results for those three ridings, the cumulative total divides like so.
9:45pm. Beyond the obvious (who wins?), some questions for tonight. How low does the Conservative vote go in Calgary Centre? How well does the NDP vote from 2011 hold up? Can the Liberals show improvement? Can the Greens make significant gains? Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 23, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
A new poll, this time from Return on Insight, gives the Conservatives a five-point lead over the Liberals in Calgary Centre.
Here are the top numbers in the four public polls over the last month.
November 20-21. Return on Insight. Sample: 293.
Conservatives 37%, Liberals 32%, Greens 17%, NDP 12%
November 17. Forum. Sample: 374.
Conservatives 35%, Liberals 30%, Greens 25%. NDP 8%
November 12. Forum. Sample: 354.
Conservatives 32%, Liberals 30%, Green 23%, NDP 12%
October 26. Forum. Sample: 343.
Conservatives 48%, Liberals 28%, Green 11%, NDP 8%
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 12:03 PM - 0 Comments
Williams told me an Ontario MP’s far-away musings typically wouldn’t make much difference—except that this is a hard-fought three-way race, in which even a marginal shift in voter preferences might matter.
“The Conservatives are going to try to milk it for all it’s worth,” she said. “If this does cost the Liberals votes, would those votes by more likely to go to Joan Crockatt or Chris Turner? I’d have to say Chris Turner.” Her reasoning: “Turner has a lot in common with Locke. They’re both strong environmentalists.” As well, Williams doubts centrist voters—some of whom have swung from Conservative voting in the past to leaning Liberal this time—won’t see going Green as all that jarring a transition. “The Green party isn’t particularly left, it’s more centre.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 19, 2012 at 11:08 AM - 0 Comments
A poll released Sunday by Forum Research in Calgary Centre found 35 per cent in the riding plan to vote for Ms. Crockatt, while Liberal Harvey Locke had 30-per-cent support, the Green Party’s Chris Turner, 25 per cent, and the NDP’s Dan Meades, 8 per cent. Those numbers have not changed, given the margin of error of five percentage points, since a similar poll for a week ago. But it’s a 13-point drop for Ms. Crockatt, who stood at 48-per-cent support in a similar poll conducted a few weeks earlier.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 11:21 AM - 0 Comments
It’s just one poll and the sample is small and the margin of error is high and the riding has never been anything other than Conservative… but for the sake of finding some excitement in this fall’s by-elections, you could imagine that Calgary Centre might be a race.
As reported by the Globe & Mail, the November survey of 376 randomly selected residents in Calgary-Centre showed Ms. Crockatt with 32% to 30% for Mr. Locke and 23% for Mr. Turner. New Democrat Dan Meades was in fourth place with 12%. The survey is considered to be accurate by plus or minus five percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
If this new survey is to be believed, then the November 26 vote could be much more exciting than most political watchers, including myself, had previously predicted. A similar survey conducted by Forum Research in October found Ms. Crockatt with 48% to 28% for Mr. Locke, 11% for Mr. Turner, and 8% for Mr. Meades. Another survey from Forum Research conducted in August found the Conservatives with 44% to 21% for the Liberals, 14% for the NDP, and 12% for the Greens. It appears that within a matter of months, the 40% margin of victory earned by former Conservative MP Lee Richardson in the 2011 federal election and 23% margin for the Conservatives found in the September survey may have completely evaporated.