25 May 2005

Libs take Lab

Undoubtedly, there'll be a lot of Wednesday morning quarterbacking and punditry but, I'll just leave it to the vote count.

Todd Russell of the Liberals took 51.5% of the vote with 83/85 reporting at around 2334 hrs Newfoundland Daylight Time.

Graham Letto of the Conservatives had about 32% with the remainder being spread across the three other candidates.

Turnout was up from the last election in 2004.

Count on the Connies to be playing up the fact they doubled their percentage of the vote. Fair enough, cause it is true. The growth in vote is all Connie. Basically the Liberal is virtually intact.

But don't stretch that too far. The Connies would have to count on pulling another couple of thousand people to the polls next time in order to barely squeak by in the seat. Given Labrador's historic turn-out this would be very hard to do. Look at it: everyone who voted Liberal last time turned out to vote Liberal again, with the exception of a mere 120 people.

The only way the Connies could win is to wipe out all the other parties, significantly collapse the Liberal vote or do some combination on the two.

That's a tall order for a seat that is basically Liberal and where voters don't change allegiance very much.

Now if you look to the northeast Avalon peninsula, you'll see a much bigger Connie problem.

They only won those supposedly safe seats by a handful of votes (relatively speaking) the last time out.

Voters on the northeast Avalon include a larger number of swingers - it would only have taken about 751 switched voters in St. John's South-Mount Pearl to have caused Loyola Hearn to head to the unemployment line last year instead of booking a return flight to Ottawa.

There's something to keep a Connie strategists in the province awake at night.