Monday, January 14, 2008

On openings

Based on the riding's results in 2006 when the Bloc won over 55% of the vote, the departure of Longueuil-Pierre-Boucher MP Caroline St-Hilaire wouldn't seem to present any particular opportunity for any other party. But a look at the riding's history suggests that the riding may be far more open to a wide variety of parties than most.

In the last 40 years spanning 11 federal elections, seven different federal parties have finished among the top 2 in the riding:

Liberal (10 top-2 finishes, but not in 2006)
Bloc (5)
PC (3)
NDP (2)
Conservative (1)
Social Credit (1)
Rhino (1) (!)

In addition, the placements from 2nd place to 5th in 2006 were all relatively close. The Cons beat out the Libs by just over 3,000 votes, who in turn beat out the NDP by under 2,000, with the Greens just slightly more than that behind the Dippers.

As a result, it looks like Longueuil-Pierre-Boucher may offer a unique combination of voters willing to shift their support among a wide range of options, and an already-close field of national parties. And that could make the race to replace St-Hilaire (and to emerge as the primary federalist alternative) far more interesting than one might suspect from the Bloc's recent dominance.

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