Sunday, August 26, 2007

Behind the illegitimacy

Blogging Horse's story about the Cons' attempt to bestow quasi-MP status on Sharon Smith, their (however dubious) candidate in Skeena-Bulkley Valley, certainly deserves plenty more media attention than it's received. But however asinine the Cons' actions, there's at least some good news to be found if one looks at what figures to be driving Deceivin' Stephen's latest affront to democracy.

After all, it would stand to reason that the Cons' dirtiest strategies are being directed at ridings which they figure they need to win in order to eke out a majority in the next election. So what does the current standing of Skeena-Bulkley Valley tell us about the Cons' chances of actually forming a majority government?

In 2006, the Cons lost the riding by 15 percentage points despite spending more than $70,000 on their candidate's campaign. The NDP incumbent is Nathan Cullen, one of the Dippers' rising stars whose profile has grown by leaps and bounds in this session of Parliament thanks to his work on the environment. And the Cons' "star" candidate, who seems to be their great hope to knock off Cullen, has some issues which figure to irritate both the religious right and voters of all stripes who don't consider public office to be an utter joke.

Now, I can't speak to Smith's personal popularity, and maybe she has enough of an organization to overcome the obvious negatives facing both her and her party. But from this angle, it seems more likely that Cullen will boost his margin of victory by another 10 points than that the Cons will manage to take the seat. Which means that if this is the kind of riding the Cons indeed have to win in order to reach the effective absolute power that they're aiming for, then the danger of a Harper majority looks minimal at best.

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