Friday, September 08, 2006

Undecideds (Part II)

Here we go again...


Thinking about this riding and how close it was in 2003, I think I have to give the edge to the Conservatives. Auto insurance was a massive issue here and, though it remains something of an issue in the North, we only need to swing a handful of votes to make this a Tory pickup. Moreover, McGraw is a sure bet for cabinet if Lord wins, while Landry is a sure bet to not be in cabinet. McGraw stands to be a rising star in the PC party with potential leadership potential. I am moving this to leans PC.


In 2003, T.J. Burke won by 952 votes. When you factor in redistribution the margin slips to 632 votes. However there are less voters in the riding, so the margin by percentage slips only from 10.8% to 10.6%. Still a pretty signficant win.

The riding is historically very conservative. It was Tory from its creation in 1974 to 1987. In 1991 it returned former Tory MLA Ed Allen as a member of CoR. In 1995, the Liberal beat the combined total of CoR and PC by a significant margin. In 1999, the Liberals ran star candidate and popular Fredericton mayor (then and now) Brad Woodside but he could not stave of the Tory sweep losing 383 votes.

Mike Smith is an infinitely better candidate than Peter Forbes who held the seat for the Tories in 1999 and carried their banner unsuccessfully in 2003. But Burke was an unknown in 2003 and has been a fairly high profile opposition critic serving first in the Justice and then Energy portfolio.

I am really torn but, at the end of the day, don't see the Tories making up over 10%. When you consider the NDP vote is likely to drop considerably here then that means that the Tories have that much more ground to make up as most NDP vote will either shift Liberal or stay home.

Thus, I am moving this into the leans Liberal column.

Saint John Portland

The consensus among people I talk to and commentors is that Saint John is pretty unhappy with Bernard Lord. Trevor Holder barely won in 2003 against a political rookie and that same candidate is running again with one election under her belt. Holder also has failed to deliver any concrete results on harbour cleanup as Environment Minister. Therefore I am going to move this over to leans Liberal.

Two steps forward, one step back

Though I have been trying my best to get rid of "lean" seats and "too close" seats so I can get closer to a final projection. I feel I need to move one "safe" seat to lean and two "lean" seats to "too close". ARRRGH!

Campbellton-Restigouche Centre

I have heard over and over and over on my comments section that this seat should be in play. I heard it from a good source recently as well. So, I am moving this from "safe Liberal" to leans Liberal.

Kent South

The criticism is such that I think I may be overestimating this one and I am going to move it to too close to call.

Kings East

I am told things are not going as well for the Liberals here as I expected and as is this is historically Conservative country I will move it to too close to call as well.

Sending Out an SOS

PLEASE HELP me with Tantramar. There is no riding in the province whose history makes less sense to me and about which I have less of a feeling for the minds of the people or the happenings on the ground. Please leave me a comment or send me an email at if you have any insight here whatsoever.

AND, here's your updated map:


Matt said...

I'm a resident of Tantramar, and teach in Canadian Studies at Mount A. I've put up a few posts about the campaign on my blog about the campaign here at:

It's a tight race, to be sure, and the NDP candidate seems to be positioning himself as a possible swing vote who will vote for Tantramar's interests in a deadlocked legislature, which might just work for getting votes.

nbpolitico said...

matt - thanks, I'll give your blog a read.

Anonymous said...

For the world of me I cannot see how Bernard Lord can be trusted. Look at his bungles.

1) Orimulsion, $2.2 billion. Horrible attempts to cover up. I believe worse than Watergate.
2) Toll highway fiasco, hundreds and hundreds of millions lost.
3) Healthcare massacre

4) His endless travel for self-promotion such as to France and meeting the president of France, he was playing head of state, African counteries, U.S and many attempts dealing directly with the President of U.S. We are a federation system and only federal government looks after foriegn affairs.

List is quite long. Man is a dead loss. How can NBers not look through him after 7 years? I believe they do and he will see the results on September 18.

nbpolitico said...

I'm just positing this here for my own reference when I revisit Tantramar...

Times & Transcript | News - As published on page A9 on September 8, 2006

Race wide open in Tantramar

With no incumbent, Liberals, Tories and NDP all have high hopes

By Aloma Jardine
Times & Transcript Staff

There are some ridings in New Brunswick that are worth betting on when it comes to provincial politics.

Tantramar is not one of them.

The riding has been held by all three parties.

In the 2003 election former Conservative MLA Peter Mesheau, who decided not to run a fourth time, received nearly twice as many votes as his closest rival, but with no incumbent this time around and three well-known, well-qualified candidates, it's anyone's game.

"The main thing here is they don't always necessarily vote for the party, they vote for the person," says Progressive Conservative candidate Mike Olscamp. "We've gone from NDP to Liberal to PC and I think in all cases the person was the factor there. Everyone knows everyone."

The NDP sees an opportunity in Tantramar. Not only is candidate Virgil Hammock very well known in the community, Tantramar is where the very first NDP MLA in the province was elected.

"We have that history here both federally and provincially of electing the NDP," Hammock says. "We've always had a strong presence here and we are running this campaign to win."

With the race over who will form the next government tight, even a single seat could mean wielding a lot of power in the legislature as evidenced over the past year, with one vote often making the difference and the loss of one MLA - Mesheau - precipitating the current election.

"I feel I could have a stronger voice as an NDP member than as a back bencher in the Liberal or Conservative (caucus)," Hammock says. "I don't sit up and vote when the whip whips me. I want to champion and vote for what's best for Tantramar."

Tantramar includes the municipalities of Sackville, Dorchester, Memramcook East, Cape Tormentine and all the communities and rural area in between. With less than 7,200 eligible voters it is one of the smaller ridings in the province in numbers, if not size.

Liberal candidate John Higham says he is likely the least known of the three candidates.

"I think the challenge for me is lack of name recognition," he says. "My campaign strategy has become raising that profile, getting the message of who I am, what I stand for, and what the party stands for (out there)."

Higham says there has to be recognition that there is a rural-urban divide in the riding, with different concerns in both.

"People outside of Sackville feel they have been ignored and that their concerns haven't been taken very seriously," he says. "There is a cost-price squeeze in farming, forestry, fisheries. These are huge issues for a lot of people outside Sackville."

Inside the town, Higham hears concerns about Sackville's aging water and sewer infrastructure and the desire to attract and build a knowledge economy.

"And a lot of people are talking about alternative energy and making this a centre for alternative energy," he says. "There is a whole industry that goes with that... and frankly it is up for grabs, so why not here?"

Olscamp says he'd also like to see wind power become an important industry in the riding.

"We are living in a place where the wind blows 365 days a year," he says. "I've always been a proponent of wind energy and I think the time has come for that."

Protecting health care services in the riding is one thing all three candidates agree on.

herringchoker said...

Interesting call on SJ Portland but I think you are overlooking an important feature of the city. Saint John remains a city of neighbourhoods, so its not safe to assume that because they vote Liberal in the South End (SJ Harbour) or Champlain Heights (SJ East), its the same across the city.

By the look of things, Trevor Holder owns the Rifle Range, which is NB's largest public housing estate. Its well known in the city that if you need social housing, Holder is the man to see. That kind of support wins him the North End so, even if the vote splits more evenly in the well-heeled parts of the riding, Holder will be returning to Fredericton. I'm not guaranteeing that, but at this point I think you should swing Portland the other way, leaning Conservative.

nbpolitico said...

herringchoker ... you are right SJ is a series of neighbourhoods but Holder won in 2003 by 169 votes. Knudson had never run before and made a number of gaffes. In 2006, she is running a much more professional campaign. Moreover, I doubt the NDP will get anyway near the 1161 votes they got in 2003 which should help the Grit.

nuna d. above said...

Come on, let go of Kings East.You can do it! It will be Conservative by hundreds of votes at least. Call it now and you'll look brilliant.

herringchoker said...

Well, the past is not always a good predictor of the future>

I'm just saying...

Anonymous said...

I thing 0Tracadie should not be considered a safe Conservative. Result of NB Liberal survey show that Tracadie is not as PC as you thing.

Anonymous said...

the survey in tracadie gives a two to one results favoring the grits IIt is to be noted though that the employees doing the work were identifying themself from the liberal party THus not a full fledge scientific survey.

Anonymous said...

the survey in tracadie gives a two to one results favoring the grits IIt is to be noted though that the employees doing the work were identifying themself from the liberal party THus not a full fledge scientific survey.