17 May 2019

The 1908 Election all over again #nlpoli

You will hear a lot of spin about Thursday’s election result.  

Doesn’t matter where it is coming from. 

 It is all spin and all spin is bullshit.

Thursday night’s election result has been coming for three years.  The polls have pointed to the public mood and their views of parties and leaders.  Only the blind ignored it.  Robocalls and dirty tricks did not produce the result.  No Blue Waves were involved.

The Forecast

On Thursday morning, SRBP posted a projection based on polling and information coming from all three parties directly and indirectly.

Here’s how it played out compared to the result at about 10:00 PM Thursday.

+/- 2
+/- 3
+/- 1
- 1

The Liberal projection was almost bang on.  The Conservatives were within the range of the projection.  The Independent forecast was bang on.  Only the NDP exceeded expectations and that was by virtue of a good candidate who succeeded, in some respects, despite the deadweight of the Dipper crowd in town.
The Polls

If you look at the party choice results of Abacus and Forum broken down by age groups you could see that the Conservatives held a lead among older voters.  The polls also showed that the Liberals were strongest in the west with the Conservatives strongest in the east.  Basically that meant both parties would rack up huge majorities without adding to their seat count, while in any close races,  the edge should go to the Conservatives.

What appears to have made a difference in some seats was a strong ground game for the Liberals in a couple of pick-ups.  Otherwise, the Liberals died all over the place and members who should have won handily struggled to keep their seats.

A Tie

Election night commentary missed the simple truth that this election is not like 1971, the last time there was a minority in Newfoundland and Labrador.

This is 1908 all over again.

That was the year of the tied election.

The first order of business was for the House to meet and elect a Speaker.  If a government member took the job,  then it would be weakened by one seat and liable to defeat on virtually everything.  By the same token if an opposition member took the seat, it would be unable to defeat the government on a confidence motion.  They teetered back and forth for weeks about it.

The same thing could develop here.

Before we get to the budget,  which is the first order of business facing the government,  the House will have to find a Speaker.

That may prove to be difficult given the way the Independents got to be Independent.  If Paul Lane goes home to his Conservative friends,  there is no chance of finding a Speaker except from the government benches.  That will force the government to deal with the opposition members on every measure.  it would make the NDP indispensable to sustaining the Liberals in power.

The Challenge

If it can find a Speaker,  the House has to deal a budget.

That could prove problematic.  The Liberal challenge will be managing both the caucus - something that may not prove easy - and a fractious House at the same time. Government backbenchers have new power they have never seen before and they, along with the opposition, can advance their own agendas by threatening defeat of the government.  This could be a big part of the long, hot summer  SRBP wrote about on Thursday.

The Big Winner

Alison Coffin took over a party that was headed to the ash-heap of history.  Together with a handful of die-hards she managed to hold on to the two seats the party had and add a third one to the mix.  The NDP now has the chance to rebuild and take the party down a new direction from the one that led it almost to the low point of 1989.  There is a core of NDP support that survived despite the best efforts of some New Democrats to kill it.