Will the Conservatives win a majority? | DrumhellerMail
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Last updateThu, 22 Feb 2024 3pm

Will the Conservatives win a majority?

    The country is midway through the fourth federal election campaign in seven years. The debates have come and gone, and so far, the opinion polls have remained relatively stagnant.        The main question of this election campaign, with the Conservative Party hovering around the 40 per cent mark, is will Harper get a majority?
    Chris Bobra has been a regular election prognosticator in the pages of The Drumheller Mail and inSide Drumheller. His estimation so far is that the Conservatives will gain, but they won’t make it over the mark.
    In the 2008 election, the Conservatives won 143 of the 308 seats up for grabs. They were on an upswing, winning 19 more than in the previous election. Bobra estimates they will top out around 150.
    “Quebec and Ontario are the two big spots,” said Bobra. “They (the seats) are going to come at the expense of the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois.”
    It could be a dynamic election he says, as about a dozen sitting MPs have quit or retired.
    “There are going to be some changes and I think some upsets,” said.
    Despite this, he doesn’t believe the Green Party will pick up a seat.
    One thing Bobra laments is voter apathy.
    “I think we are going to set a new low in voter turnout,” he said. “I think the last election was around 58 per cent, I think it will be down around 55. It’s stupid that people don’t exercise their democratic right and get out to vote.
    He said the economy has still not recovered, and there is high unemployment among young people. Ironically, the younger generations are the hardest to get out to vote.
    Ron Leonhardt also doesn’t see much changing so far in the election campaign.
    “I don’t think they are going to make it, it’s going to be close, but I don’t think so,” said Leonhardt.
    He would not put a number on the number of seats.
    “I think they are gong to gain some in a few places, but they are going to lose some in Quebec,” he said. “I think the Bloc and the Liberals will pick up a few in Quebec.”
    Leonhardt watched the debate and thought each candidate did a good job.
    “Harper said ‘we’re doing good, let’s keep going,’ and the other guys said ‘we can do better.’”
    One seat that is secure is in the Crowfoot riding where Kevin Sorenson has been elected with at least 80 per cent of the popular vote in the last three elections. Leonhardt said it's quiet on the home front, and quiet throughout Alberta.
    “Nothing different is going to happen out here,” he said. “None of the guys are going to stop in Alberta, they all think it is a foregone conclusion.”
    Jim Ramsbottom predicts the Conservatives will hit the magic number of 155 seats and form a majority.
    “I’m really hoping so, if we are ever going to do it, it is going to be this time,” said Ramsbottom.  “I’m hoping we do well, and pick up the one seat we lost in Alberta.”
    He says there is potential for the Conservative Party to pick up seats in the Maritimes. In the last election Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams successfully launched an “anything but Conservative “ campaign.  He has since retired.
    “Now that he (Williams) is gone, and there is more work being generated through the off shore oil, I’m hoping we can pick up some of those, also in Nova Scotia and maybe PEI.”
    “I think it is going to be a majority, it is not going to be a big majority, but it will be enough to sustain us for the next four years.”

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